Steven Feurer and I met at a medium-sized software company. He was CTO at the time, and I was Head of Global Sales. These are not necessarily the two management positions that work together closely on a daily basis. But Steven always had a good understanding of the market and the customers, just as for me as a graduated computer scientist the world of software development was not foreign to me. As a result, we managed to bring our teams much closer together during that time and, as a result, launched a new product together. After we both left the company with a slight time lag, we still kept in touch sporadically. Then one day this contact was intensified considerably. Sporadic conversations turned into regular meetings focused on a business idea that Steven told me about for the first time in the summer of 2022.
From Steven’s idea pyraCode is born
Steven had another passion besides IT: Egyptology. He had been actively involved in the South Asasif Conservation Project in Egypt for a number of years. Steven’s colleagues over there published a moving obituary after his death, which can be found including a video right here. Steven’s passion for IT and technology was the foundation of his professional career, while Egyptology and his affection for the land and people of Egypt were his private passions. He had even started working on his PhD in Egyptology at Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich in early 2023. So in the summer of 2022, Steven asked me if I would be interested in co-founding a company with him to turn his vision into reality: building software development teams for IT companies while supporting and promoting IT talent in Egypt. I didn’t think twice about it. Not only because I would be able to offer software development as an additional service to my clients, but also because I knew we would work well together and complement each other perfectly. Just as we did a few years earlier in the company where we had met.
The road to foundation was bumpy at first
The time leading up to the founding of the company and also the founding process itself was a journey with some ups and downs. When founding a company in two very different countries, one or the other bureaucratic hurdle can get in the way. We sacrificed several evenings and weekends for planning and preparation, as we were both already quite busy with other jobs during the week. It was clear to us from the beginning that we would also have to get Egyptians on board in order to make this business model really successful. Here also, not everything went smoothly right away, to say the least. The personal disappointment regarding a potential candidate was so deep, especially for Steven, that the whole project was even on the brink of collapse at one point. But finally with Mahmoud from Cairo we found the right partner and completed our founders team. That was the final go-ahead for pyraCode. On February 20th, 2023, we founded pyraCode GmbH in Munich as a first step and took this souvenir selfie afterwards.
The foundation in Egypt
On May 1, 2023, Steven and I flew to Cairo to lay the foundation for the establishment of our Egyptian subsidiary pyraCode Services Egypt LLC. It has been very intense, but also exciting and above all successful days over there. Apart from the evening odyssey through Cairo to our hotel, because the driver absolutely did not accept the advise from us and Google Maps that he was going in the wrong direction, everything went smoothly. Even one of the official appointments, where we were told to allow at least two to three hours, was done in less than ten minutes. Sometimes you just need a bit of luck. That’s why we had all the time for a coffee break afterwards and another photo shot.
We also then had to wait a bit for the notary, because we had of course planned enough time between the appointments. But there was a lot to discuss and we were able to make good use of this time for intensive talks, especially with Mahmoud, whom we usually only met online.
And after we got all the appointments done, there was a good reason to celebrate reaching another important milestone with a drink (or two).
Steven had been more involved in management in recent years and had not worked as a software developer himself for a long time. It was therefore even more impressive to experience him in the interviews with the developers we had invited to Cairo. In addition to his sensitivity to the Egyptian mentality, Steven’s technical expertise enabled him to connect very quickly with the candidates and to assess relatively quickly how good their knowledge really was in certain areas.
During those days in Cairo, we didn’t really have time for a private tourist program, since the appointments were pretty tightly scheduled. But we just consoled ourselves with the fact that we will anyway make some more trips to Egypt together in the future. And then, of course, we will take our time so that Steven can show me more of the rich culture of his “second home country”. Unfortunately, we won’t be able to do this anymore.
The abrupt end of a joint journey
After the foundation of the two companies, we already had concrete discussions with customers and continuously built a database of talented software developers who already covered a wide range of technologies. However, on July 4, 2023, our joint journey was brutally and completely unexpectedly interrupted. Even at this moment, as I write these lines, it still feels surreal that Steven is no longer with us. Of course, the personal loss is the most severe. But pyraCode was Steven’s vision. pyraCode was Steven’s “baby.” Should we even continue without him? But the answer to that question was found very quickly: of course we continue – for Steven! We will do our best to turn his vision into reality.
Steven Feurer as a person
Steven was a person you absolutely had to get to know outside of business and work to really know him. Those who were fortunate enough to do so will remember him as a very sensitive and humorous person who also impressed with his incredible knowledge and wide general education. There was actually no topic that you could not talk about and discuss intensively with Steven. If I said before that Steven had two passions, IT and Egyptology, that was actually wrong. Because he had a passion for everything that interested him. Culture, history, literature, politics and much more. And above all music – especially rock and heavy metal. Steven himself had played in a band in the past and he was the walking rock encyclopedia. I was able to somewhat keep up with him on that subject and hence we always had a lot of topics for long conversations beyond business and pyraCode. I will also miss that very much. In the days after Steven’s death when we were thinking about if and how we should continue, I often thought about what he would say to us. Most probably he would have put on his typical smile and said: “AC/DC was also about to break up when their lead singer died in 1980. But after that they were more successful than ever in the following 40 years.” With that in mind:
🤘 Keep rocking, Steven, wherever you are now 🤘