Riku while solving a really challenging problem

The Founding Story of Rare

"Is there anybody who can code?" Not every company starts its existence from this question, but Rare's story resembles something from a classical anecdote. So, there we go.
Oct 25 / 3 min read
3 software developers walked into a bar. The first, Riku Rouvila, got his first commercial gig at mere 17 years of age after building small games and websites for fun. The second, Janne Kallunki, beat Riku by a few years and successfully tripled Lapland cottage sales through digital channels when he was 12. The third, Cihan Bebek, didn't even write his first piece of code until starting his university studies but was a keen follower of technology and its full potential. Being in the right place at the right time defined their fate. Except that the bar wasn't a bar at all. It was Leonidas, a software development agency based in Tampere, where Cihan, Riku, and Janne crossed paths one day. That's where the founding story of Rare really began.
However, their paths split when Riku and Cihan began practicing software consultancy elsewhere with the likes of Futurice, one of the leading software agencies in Finland. Finally, in 2019, Rare gets founded as a challenge to the industry - developing excellent software, the new way. The Rare way.
Some of us had to go through the path of seeing how software companies can be operated first before it was realistic to do it by ourselvesRiku
Janne feeling fabulous on a Friday night
If you can think it, you can do it
Over the past decades, the digitalisation really took off. For the founders of Rare, the development and possibilities of the digital services and tools seemed countless. It gave way to experiments that later led to the honed craft and skill set that defines a modern developer today.
However, not every developer is capable of keeping a sharp eye on the code. It's common for developers to get productive from day one while generally keeping code wasteful & unoptimised. The modern challenge is about going deeper into the code and think how to make work more efficient while keeping software healthy and lean.
I have a huge respect for developers that can run a rocket ship there and backJanne
Rare's approach is simple: we've got to give back what we do best to kickstart the cycle of impact. That's why Cihan and Riku started Koodiklinikka, the biggest Slack community in Finland currently worth 4,000 users that provides developers with code reviews and pro tips. Not only do they help thousands to write efficient code, but many clients and sources of revenue find their way to Rare through Koodiklinikka.
Cihan replying to Koodiklinikka peeps
It's always that I see a problem and want to fix a problem of my own and then decide to do it. But it's about freedom - if you want to do the same, come and do it with meRiku
The company that accepts everyone
There's a bigger idea to Rare, as it wants to get the best possible software team. Rare is responsible for providing worthwhile projects, feedback, and learning to everyone who hops on their boat. If colleagues challenge one another, they inspire constant development. Giving full autonomy to everyone helps Rare stay operational and happy, regardless of how small - it's much more challenging to force 200+ people to acknowledge & support each other.
While growing the company might not be the top priority, growing Rare talent certainly is. All three Rare founders see the personal & professional growth support and showing the ropes of the industry as their primary responsibility in the company. They do it well with years of combined experience in coaching, podcasting, entrepreneurship, and consultancy.
We have a lot of junior devs working with us, and time spent together is time well spent. I see the current junior developers working as senior developers & coaching others back - this is the cycle of learningJanne
Riku after solving a really challenging problem
If there were a secret sauce to Rare, it would be the levels of mutual admiration between the founders. There's something unique in seeing people you respect to find their way, follow their ambition, challenge the norm, and do the right thing.
In October 2021, Rare opened the doors to the new office in central Tampere. Soon after, Rare launched its new website to show its fresh face and welcome the Finnish and international companies and individuals to a conversation.