Acellere’s Vishal Rai Looks Towards the Future
In 2011, American entrepreneur, investor, and software engineer Marc Andreessen famously wrote: “Software is eating the world.” But today, according to Vishal Rai, the founder and CEO of Acellere, “Software has already eaten the world. Now bugs are eating software, and we’ve got to do something about it.”
Rai worked in the telecom and software industry for 14 years before founding Acellere, a technology company based in Frankfurt, Germany, in 2009. He is an alumnus of Singularity University, in California. As computer science students, he and his classmates were taught that “bad design leads to bugs,” but finding these bad structural designs in code turned out to be time-consuming, and a challenge. Rai soon realized that there was no existing tool that could help him do this.
That’s where Acellere’s new software analytics platform, called Gamma, comes in. Using static code analysis (an analysis of computer software that is performed on the source code, without actually executing programs), Gamma’s algorithms efficiently detect structural design issues (known as anti-patterns) in code while the software is still in its development stage before it moves on to production. This effectively reduces the number of programming errors, or bugs, that come up later, during testing or execution.
As Rai sees it, today’s software development cycle can be broken down into three simple steps, or “layers”: the what, the where, and the how. The what layer is the first step: specifying what you want to write and record. Existing software development tools like Atlassian Jira do that really well, he says. The where layer—where you store what you write (for example, GitHub)—is actually the third step. The how layer is the second step, in between the what and the where. “That’s the space we play in [with Gamma],” explains Rai.
Thanks to Gamma, software developers are relieved of the tedious maintenance tasks that would otherwise take up the bulk of their time. This frees them up to think more creatively, and “to use their creativity to solve the larger problems,” Rai says.
And in today’s world, as software becomes more and more ubiquitous, it’s more important than ever for the brainpower of software developers to be fully utilized. As Rai puts it: “I think software is going to be in our bodies in five years, and you do not want to crash as often as your phone does.”