Codex aims to enable engineers to collaborate within an IDE

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Codex, a company that provides a developer tool designed to let engineers communicate directly within an integrated development environment (IDE), today announced that it has secured $4.4 million in funding and is now in private beta. The seed round will help the company grow its team and onboard even more beta users from its waitlist of more than 200 companies. Codex was a member of the Y-Combinator Summer 2021 startup funding cycle.

A month after receiving its Y Combinator funding, Codex began a private beta with 25 companies. Today, Codex’s Beta release is a VsCode extension that enables context-sharing and collaboration as a local-first solution.

Codex makes programming multiplayer

Generally, when a team member has a question about a code block they would have to find that user in Slack, or with a Pull Request. With Codex, users highlight a code block in their IDE and request context by asking a question. Codex performs the Git function “git blame” and then automatically prompts — via a notification in Codex — the members of the team who worked on the specific lines of code that you’re asking a question about. Codex then holds that context in the correct location of the codebase. Codex is also designed to allow engineers to introduce context by annotating areas of a codebase.

“We’re out to save engineers time and headaches by automatically storing and sharing institutional knowledge,” cofounder and CEO Brandon Waselnuk said. “I’ve heard horror stories from so many engineers about answering the same question over and over again in Slack DMs, or multiple pair programming sessions for the same topic filling their calendars.”

“Many companies have senior staff leaving with all this critical context that’s never been written down or shared. This leads to teams having to, in the worst case, reverse engineer functionality to grok how it works. It’s crazy how much time is spent on this work today,” Waselnuk said,

Staff retention is an issue affecting many industries, increasingly in tech. As seen in the recently released Work Trend Index survey from Edelman Data x Intelligence, nearly 41% of people are considering leaving their current employer this year, and there’s a 4.5% increase in tech resignations.

A quest for context

Codex founders, Waselnuk along with Karl Clement, COO, and Saumil Patel, chief technology officer, say they started the company as a side project in their quest to add a context layer on top of a Git repo to help onboard new engineers into a codebase. They wanted to provide engineers with a tool that could essentially answer why the developer architected software in a certain way, such as what decisions were made to use certain design patterns, or why they chose to use a for loop instead of a dictionary.

Codex plans to offer integrations to other modern IDEs, allowing everyone at a company to share context, as well as a desktop application that will let engineers author and share onboarding paths through the codebase. Codex never stores source code and all processing happens locally on the user’s machine, the company claims.

The funding round is led by NFX, backed by Y Combinator, and joined by Ludlow Ventures, Emergence Capital, and operator angels.

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