Dickey’s Startup Company Supports Undergraduate Scholarships

9/12/2016 Michelle Wellens, CS @ ILLINOIS

A prolific software designer and entrepreneur, Roger Dickey (BS CS ’05) is supporting CS undergraduate scholarships because "the world needs more great engineers."

Written by Michelle Wellens, CS @ ILLINOIS

Roger Dickey (BS CS ’05)
Roger Dickey (BS CS ’05)

A prolific software designer and entrepreneur, Roger Dickey (BS CS ’05) has maintained a strong relationship with CS @ ILLINOIS and the campus community. During several campus visits he has shared his time, expertise, and career advice with students through alumni panel discussions, job fairs, as a CS Engineer in Residence, and as a panelist in the tech component of the Champaign-Urbana-area Pygmalion Festival. He has hosted and judged pitch competitions, and actively recruits engineers across several fields including machine learning, programming languages, and general computer science or computer engineering.

Recently, Dickey decided to give back in another way—he made a leadership gift through his company, Gigster, to support CS undergraduate scholarships as part of the College of Engineering’s Visionary Scholarship (EVS) initiative. “I had a great experience as a student at Illinois and want to support current and prospective students as much as possible,” Dickey said. “The world needs more great engineers, and the EVS initiative supports that mission.”

Dickey is the co-founder and CEO of Gigster, a hot new startup that pairs companies who have special software projects with Silicon Valley-based product managers and top-notch developers who can complete those projects. To date, Gigster has raised more than $12.5 million in venture-backed funding, is actively hiring, and is well on its way to pursing the vision to become the world’s engineering department.

Earlier in his career, Dickey launched a social gaming startup of Facebook applications and games, including the widely popular Dope Wars. After his company was purchased by Zynga, Dickey developed Ma aWars (100 million users), FishVille (35 million users), and ve other titles. In addition, he served as an international product team advisor for Zynga, helping the company grow its markets in Asia.

A 2012 recipient of the CS @ ILLINOIS Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award, Dickey is an investor with the storied Y Combinator, a seed fund that provides funding, advice, and connections for startup companies, including successful firms such as Dropbox, Airbnb, and Reddit.

Note: originally published in Click! Magazine, 2016, volume I.

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This story was published September 12, 2016.