On Freund was one of the minds behind the scenes of the now-iconic WeWork startup story. He held three roles at the company: VP of Engineering, VP of Product, and Global Head of Markets at WeWork Labs. The software his team built demonstrated rigor, engineering grit, and strong logic. It’s the reason why WeWork is, at its core, a tech company.
Now, Freund has entered into a new season of his career as co-founder and CEO of Wilco, which is a platform for developers of every skill level to advance in their talents and career journeys. Like a flight simulator, it offers challenges that are meant to prepare developers for the realities of what they will face on the job, moving beyond what they might learn in a classroom or boot camp to scenarios taken from real workplace experiences.
Episode notes: Freund reflects on his early days at Applied Materials, where he worked on a machine that inspected silicon wafers.
It was in this early role that Freund gained an appreciation for rigorous software testing protocols in the manufacturing process.
At WeWork, Freund was fascinated by the idea of a full stack business, which is a business building itself.
While Freund officially launched Wilco in 2021, the origin story for the company dates back to 2013 when he was hiring and managing a team of engineers—he saw a need in the market to help developers build critical skills to problems-solve in real-time.
You can think of Wilco as the equivalent of a flight simulator for engineers.