Senior Software Engineer (Backend & Data Infrastructure) - Founding Team

koodos labs

koodos labs

Software Engineering, Other Engineering
Posted on Friday, July 21, 2023

Senior Software Engineer (Backend & Data Infrastructure) - Founding Team

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Why join koodos labs?

You should join koodos labs for the people and our mission.
We aspire to build the best team of the 2020s. Just like PayPal in the 90s, Google in the 00s, and Stripe in the 10s, we want to be known as "a place where it's good to be from." If you join us, we promise to be the best place to grow your career — with the best people you've ever worked with. We’re also working on a very bold mission.
We care deeply about helping people connect more deeply with themselves and others. And in the spirit of personal empowerment, we aim to invert the internet's data model over time and put individuals in control of their digital identities.

Read more about working at koodos labs here.

What we’re building

We’re building Shelf. It's a digital shelf that updates as you consume content online. You can control what shows up on your shelf, and see when people you know are watching, reading or listening to the same thing.
We believe that the way consumers and businesses interact with their data will drastically improve in the next few years. So we’ve built our apps on top of infrastructure that allows you to reclaim control over your consumption and interest data, and provision third-party access to it to personalize experiences without compromising your privacy.

The Opportunity

We believe that the way consumers and businesses interact with their data will drastically improve in the next few years. Koodos Labs is building the products and infrastructure that’ll usher this shift and you'll be essential in achieving this vision.
Similar to Plaid, we’ve architected around decoupled services. You could be working on our internal distributed systems framework that holds them all together, building ML system solutions (training, inference and feature infra) that directly power features in Shelf, or building out the newest version of our API.
We’re looking for an experienced, thoughtful senior software engineer (leaning backend with expertise around data infrastructure).
In this role you will:
Work directly with our CTO (ex-founder & led product & engineering teams at Improbable)
Make key technical decisions across the stack
Collaborate on figuring out the best API and backend system designs to scalably meet needs
Ensure code and product quality
Implement engineering best practices across development and deployment
Guide/mentor other engineers (note: this is an IC role; if you're looking for a pure Engineering Manager role, this isn't the best fit)
We’re early stage, so you'll have an outsized equity stake and an unparalleled opportunity to shape the product direction. Engineers at koodos labs decide what gets built and why, in addition to figuring out how. 
We're NY-based (we have our own office in West Soho), with a strong in-person component, but also the flexibility of WFH days.

Our Team

We’re a small, but mighty team with backgrounds at YouTube, Coinbase, Harvard, and Cambridge, as startup founders and as early members at companies like Improbable and Lyft. We’ve come together around a shared vision and are dedicated to creating important and positive experiences for cyberspace.
We're well resourced (unannounced rounds) & backed by top-tier investors, including the backers of companies like Airbnb, Pinterest, Snap, and Twitter, as well as the founders of companies like Zynga, VSCO, and Scale and the people behind artists like Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber, Lorde, Logic, and Panic! At The Disco, and many others. Our team is advised by the founders of Pinterest, Dubsmash (now Reddit), as well as pioneers of digital marketing and market design from Harvard.
We care about building a genuinely diverse team. We are a majority-first gen immigrant team and sponsor visas — we think that’s important as we build towards enabling easier digital migration. We share the same values of individuality, empathy, reliability, kindness and humility. One big overlap among our life experiences is contrasts: contrasts between our own upbringing and the world around us, contrasts between what was expected of us and what we ended up pursuing and our bringing together of contrasting, interdisciplinary worlds.
More about us here.

Ideal Candidate

We recognize that the confidence gap and imposter syndrome might discourage amazing candidates from applying. Every job description is a wish list, so please reach out if this role really excites you.
You’re likely a good fit if you:
Data nerd: You care about the future of open data infrastructure, have an interest in big data processing technologies and experience developing cutting-edge solutions that combine ontological graph representations of data (and metadata) with AI and machine learning techniques. We’ll want to learn from your experiences, so you should have a perspective on what makes APIs and backend code reliable and maintainable.
Deep interest in AI: You will be leveraging LLMs as tools to build transformative user experiences. You are excited to apply the latest breakthroughs in open-source work and academia to shipping products. You can explain the pros and cons of using pgvector over a specific vector DB, and have strong opinions about the best ways to implement retrieval for LLM-based applications. You are conversant with fine-tuning and RLHF for foundation models, from data curation to implementation. Bonus points if you have experience working with classical ML systems, ideally in a startup environment.
Five+ years experience: As a small startup, we’re prioritizing candidates with 5+ years in software engineering. You have a bunch of experience writing distributed, high-volume services and know how to deploy and keep them running in production, as well as building and maintaining batch and real-time data pipelines with data processing frameworks.
Team: You are an engineer who wants to ship code and contribute to a great engineering team. At koodos labs, we know that early teammates set the culture years into the future. You should be committed to the startup journey, have a perspective on what makes great code and what makes a great team — and you should care deeply about holding both code and teams to a high standard. We are an in-person team in New York and believe that being together IRL is an important part of setting the right pace, level of collaboration and culture early on.
Ownership: You have shipped software for at least five years, and you’re ready to take end-to-end responsibility for a codebase. You know what makes a frictionless user experience, and you’re excited to ship code to production.
Learning: You are comfortable building early-stage products and taking action with imperfect information. The market is changing rapidly, and we need to respond to change without running in circles. You should be comfortable adapting rapidly while remaining focused on a goal.
Individuality: You bring a unique perspective to the team. We want anyone in the world to be able to use our products, so we approach diversity and inclusion seriously and thoughtfully. We recognize that bringing together different perspectives and backgrounds helps build stronger teams and products.
Startup Experience: You know that building great companies takes a lot of work. Seed-stage companies can offer some of the most challenging, invigorating, and rewarding experiences in tech — quite simply, koodos labs is different from Big Tech. It helps if you’ve experienced the ups and downs of startup life before, but so long as you’re excited for an adventure, we’re excited to have you join.
Here are some quotes from team members around what they want to see:
“Are deeply committed to high-quality, sustainable, and scalable engineering”
“Can elegantly structure and decomp complex features”
“Have strong product chops pls”
“Are comfortable with ambiguity”
“Generate quick yet thoughtful solutions when faced with constraints”
“Put ego aside when making decisions”
“Practice leading without authority”

What you'll do

Day 1: You’ll merge your first PR. We want our developer experience to be as smooth as possible, so this first day is a good test of how we’re doing on dev ops. The code changes will be very minor — just adding your name to a file and merging it to the main branch.
Day 7: You’ll ship your first feature to production. We believe in learning-by-doing, so we’ll assign you a small feature that lets you run through our full feature planning and development pipeline. We’ll make sure you have support at every step along the way.
Day 50: You’ll help ship code across the backend, from services to CI/CD. As an early-stage startup, we have high-impact features all across our codebase, and you’ll be able to build solutions wherever the need arises.
In the Future: You’ll become a senior leader at koodos labs, either as a people manager or an individual contributor. We expect the early team to grow into high-impact roles as the company scales.

How we interview

We lean heavily on prior experience, demonstrated ability, and references. We don’t want to have brilliant people inverting binary trees or solving riddles.
Interviews: We start the interview process with a discussion hear more about your prior experience and goals, and to tell you more about koodos labs. If we both think there’s a potential fit, we’ll have a second interview with a deep-dive on your prior experiences.
At this point, we might ask a few follow-up questions over email, for example we might ask for you to share a project + repo that you've worked on that you're particularly proud of, and a short video taking us through it -- 15-20 minutes should be enough.
Onsite: We’ll invite you to meet the team! It’ll be a series of discussions with team members and an opportunity to grab lunch with us 🙂
References: After the interview stage, we ask for three references who would be willing to discuss their experiences working with you. We’ll make sure to be respectful of their time; most calls take about 15 minutes.
Decision: This part’s on us, and we promise to move fast.

How to apply

If interested, please drop us a line on with your resume.


Where will I work?
What tech stack do you currently use?
Are you hiring interns?
Are you open to part-time?
Where can I find more info?
Do you sponsor visas?