Clever today said it has hired Ben Adida, previously a director of engineering at Square, to be the company’s VP of engineering.
The company, which creates a third-party development platform that centers around applications for teachers and students, has around 50 employees, but plans to expand to 150 in the coming year. More than half of that will be engineering, which is why Adida was brought on board, Clever CEO Tyler Bosmeny said.
“When we look at the demand for Clever, we’ve got one fourth of the schools in America actively using [it],” he said. “We have hundreds of [developers] building apps on the Clever platform. One of the most important things is to make sure we scale gracefully and meet the demand and make sure we’re providing an excellent experience for schools like we were able to when small. We have a ton of technical challenges and growing the team is just one of them.”
At Square, Adida was director of engineering for its seller products, which included Register. Prior to that, he worked at Mozilla — also as a director of engineering — on projects that centered around identity and privacy.
As the team grows, Adida said he wants to ensure that not only does the team bring on strong product-focused engineers, but also remains diverse. “That means women, minorities… I care about that because I think diverse teams build better products,” he said. “Multiple points of view give you better products.”
In August 2012, Clever had only been deployed in 1,000 schools, but today it’s in 35,000, Bosmeny said. The company raised $30 million in December last year, where at the time the service was deployed in 30,000 schools. Clever has raised $44.3 million in total.
Adida said he was also attracted to the mission in particular because he has children — one of which is about to enter kindergarten. That, combined with the strong mission — another thing that brought him to Square initially — and the existing team is what drew him to Clever.
“I’m a strong optimist when it comes to technology having a positive impact, and my sense is that Clever is doing it really well,” Adida said. “It helps kids and gives teachers time to do more in the classroom. It’s a huge topic right now in all schools. Every school I talked to when I was looking, [they were trying to figure out], how do you integrate tech, how do you make sure it’s an accelerator and not a distraction.”