Two MIT Grads Founded A Startup That Almost Exclusively Employs People On The Autism Spectrum

<b class="credit">LinkedIn, Rajesh Anandan</b>ULTRA Testing cofounder Rajesh Anandan.
LinkedIn, Rajesh AnandanULTRA Testing cofounder Rajesh Anandan.

By Aaron Taube

Mark Leslie is a capable computer programmer who speaks four languages, but until recently the latest entry on his résumé was a retail job he held for six years at a Barnes & Noble in New York City.

Like many of the estimated 1.5 million Americans on the autism spectrum, Leslie, who has Asperger's syndrome, is at a disadvantage in traditional office environments. There, he could run into unplanned social interactions that can cause anxiety or risk reporting to a boss ill-equipped to communicate with someone on the spectrum.

But a year and a half ago, Leslie found a better work situation at a software-testing firm, ULTRA Testing, a company that not only accommodates his condition but was created with the specific intention of hiring people on the autism spectrum.