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Construction workers swap pen and paper for digital app

Roger Showley, The San Diego Union-Tribune on

Published in Home and Consumer News

"It's catching small problems before they become really big, big problems," Slager said.

The name is taken from "rakentaa," Finnish for "to build," and reflects Slager's admiration for Finnish design.

From an initial staff of four, Raken has grown to more than 40 employees and that is expected to double in the next year.

They are housed at the Make project, the former floral mart outside San Diego.

Its onsite amenities, like a gym, surfboard racks, food service, and the mix of tech-savvy companies like GoPro also suit the millennial-oriented Raken staff makeup.

It also suited the commuting needs for Raken's chief product and technology officer, Sergey Sundukovskiy, 41.

His backstory is as interesting as Slager's.

He was born in Ukraine, moved to San Diego to attend UC San Diego in 1994 for a B.A. in computer science. Subsequently, he earned a master's degree in computer science at the University of Liverpool, a Ph.D. in business at online Capella University and another master's in science and big data at Harvard.

He developed point-of-sale software for checkout registers and sold it to Capital One in 2014. Now living in southern Orange County, he was introduced to Slager by a mutual friend as someone who could help propel Raken's growth.

"When I looked at Raken, the company immediately drew my attention," he said. "I started advising Kyle and working together and decided to join as a late-stage cofounder."

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