The Download: Cara Borenstein, CEO & Co-Founder, Bytebase

Cara Borenstein is co-founder and CEO at – the engineer’s notepad. Before Bytebase, she was an engineer at Twilio. [Editor’s Note: GrepBeat first profiled Cara and Bytebase in February, 2021.]

  1. What is in your pockets?

The only thing in my pocket right now is actually my car key, which has my fob to get into the American Underground, which is a startup workspace in Durham that our office is in. You need the fob to get into the rooms, and switching floors, so I always have that on me.

  1. What exciting thing has happened recently for you or your organization?

I’m the CEO and Co-Founder of Bytebase and my Co-Founder and CTO is also my husband. His name is Theo Marin, and we are building a scratch pad for software engineers. The backstory is we were both working as software engineers, and noticed that there were some issues around knowledge-sharing at work. And, classic—two engineers try to start a business together. We went out and started building some knowledge-sharing-improving tools, and we quickly realized that we hadn’t done enough research into what people actually wanted, and we were building the wrong thing.

That was a humbling experience. If people aren’t using these traditional knowledge sharing solutions like a Wiki, what is it that they’re actually doing to power their day-to-day, and to collaborate with each other? What we found was that engineers actually rely super heavily on the basic scratch pad; like sticky notes, untitled text files, that stuff. We’re building a replacement for that that’s a lot better.

This spring, we grew from three to seven people. We raised a pre-seed round to go out and build the best scratch pad for engineers. We were able to grow the team and get our office space here at the AU. One thing that’s been really cool about the team, is that we’re all engineers, and we’re building for engineers. It’s really exciting how everyone on the team can contribute ideas to making the product better. One recent example was one of our engineers noticed something that they loved in their IDE, which is your integrated development environment for writing code. We decided to take that feature and put it into our notes app for engineers.

  1. What is your favorite coffee spot?

My favorite is Bean Traders Coffee, in South Durham.  It’s pretty close to where I live and I love their coffee, and their scones especially. The best thing is, any time you go in there, even super-early in the morning, the folks working there are always really friendly and warm, and just from a little bit of conversation, you can be pretty sure to walk out there happier. I definitely recommend them.

  1. What keeps you up at night?

The main thing with respect to our business is that we have limited resources, and we’re always thinking about how can we narrow our scope and make sure we’re really rigorous about what we choose to work on and what we are putting off for a while. One thing we always think about is, what’s the one thing that we can totally win at, with our basic scratch pad, before we move on to anything else? And if we’re considering working on something that doesn’t tie to winning at one narrow thing, then let’s try to put it aside.

  1. What is your favorite restaurant or happy hour?

Theo and I are big foodies. We’ve been having a lot of fun exploring the area. I have to say that my favorite is Di Fara Pizza in Cary. I’m originally from New York and had moved out to San Francisco for a couple of years before going to the Triangle. I loved it out there, but they did not have a good bagel or a good New York pizza. Now we’re here, and there’s awesome pizza, and awesome bagels.

A fun fact about our relationship with Di Fara is the original location is really deep in Brooklyn, New York. Theo and I had gone to college at Columbia, which is uptown (in Manhattan). Taking the train to get there takes an hour and a half. We actually went with this college roommate and trekked an hour and a half, waited in line to get the original one. It was amazing. Now, we can just drive 15 minutes, and go get the pizza right away in Cary. We definitely frequent that spot.

  1. What is next for you or your organization?

We’re in full sprint mode towards our end-of-summer launch. We’ve been building new features, and testing new features before we build them, onboarding new developers, to Bytebase every week. If any of the readers want access, they can request through our site, and we’re onboarding people pretty rapidly. So, I’ll let you in soon.

About Brooks Malone 105 Articles
Brooks Malone is a NC CPA and Partner with Hughes Pittman & Gupton, LLP, and leads the Technology practice group. Brooks is also listed contributor to the National Fast Trac Tech Curriculum that was funded by the Kauffman Foundation. Brooks was named one of the 40 Under 40 in May 2005 by the TBJ, received the Outstanding service to Entrepreneurs Award in 2008 by CED, and named to the Leadership Raleigh Hall of Fame in October 2011. Brooks is a graduate of North Carolina State University and is active at American Underground and Raleigh Founded.