Scaling the Silicon Slopes
PROVO, Utah – Mar 09, 2020 – Tyler Richards, a 2013 BYU Marriott entrepreneurship graduate, has gone from learning software development on the basement floor of the Harold B. Lee Library to founding DevMountain, a coding boot camp that teaches those same skills to hundreds of hopeful technology professionals.
Even though Richards did not necessarily envision himself starting a coding boot camp, he always knew that he wanted to be an entrepreneur. As a young teenager, he designed T-shirts and sold them to friends. Once he got to BYU, he took advantage of opportunities to learn both academic knowledge and business skills from mentors in the entrepreneurship program.
“I feel like my entrepreneurial flower blossomed at BYU Marriott through the activities and the opportunities I was given,” says Richards. “Some of those opportunities came specifically through interacting with other colleagues, team members, students, and teachers.”
In addition to learning business skills from mentors at BYU Marriott, Richards also learned software development from a friend and mentor. While serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Richards met a missionary companion named Brendon Beebe who noticed his talent for graphic design. Beebe suggested that Richards might enjoy front-end design or coding.
Besides encouraging Richards to learn more about coding, Beebe also became his personal tutor as they studied in the library and practiced on their computers. “I would watch him code between class periods,” recalls Richards. “We’d go to the basement floor of the library, and he would find an open room and desk, and I watched him do what he was doing.”
With Beebe’s help and instruction, Richards began taking on his own projects. “Eventually I got good enough over a couple semesters of time with him teaching me on that one on one basis,” says Richards. “I did contracted development work on the side to put myself through college.” Before graduation, Richards combined his tech skills with his entrepreneurial goals to develop a dating app called MatchMate.
After Richards sold MatchMate to a competitor, he continued developing a number of projects, eventually founding DevMountain in order to offer the tech skills that he’d learned to more people. “DevMountain is a coding boot camp. It’s a software engineering school where we teach those skills to everybody who wants to come to the school” says Richards. Currently, there are DevMountain campuses in Dallas, Phoenix, and Lehi, Utah. After working at DevMountain for over six years, Richards sold it to a larger education company.
When Richards sold DevMountain, he felt that he had reached the entrepreneurial dream of financial freedom. He had left the "startup grind” behind and could finally see the fruits of his efforts. "When DevMountain was acquired by a larger education company, it was life-changing for me,” says Richards. “I felt victorious in that moment.”
Richards has continued to be involved in the tech startup world. He currently lives in Vineyard, Utah, and is developing Troopt, a team-management and communication tool. He has also become a mentor and an angel investor to the entrepreneurial community in Utah. He and his father, former BYU Marriott professor John Richards, have started a thirteen-week entrepreneurship class to teach lean startup principles to the next generation of company founders. Richards hopes to continue to help new startups. “I love being involved in the entrepreneurial ecosystem,” says Richards. “I like mentoring and helping the next generation of entrepreneurs, especially here in Utah.”
Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Kenna Pierce