VP of Engineering

Ava (Aka Transcense Labs)

San Francisco, CA, US
  • Job Type: Full-Time
  • Function: Engineering Software
  • Post Date: 01/21/2021
  • Website: ava.me
  • Company Address: 60 Spear Street, San Francisco, CA, 94105

About Ava (Aka Transcense Labs)

Grabbing lunch with friends, attending a last-minute business meeting, a joyful Thanksgiving dinner often turns into a painful experience for 400 million people with hearing loss. Lipreading stays the only affordable solution to follow daily group conversations, and it's not even a good one.

Job Description

Architect & lead one of the most impactful project of a generation: rethinking human communication, starting with the deaf & hard-of-hearing

Ava started as a mobile and cloud-based deep-learning system able to uniquely daisy chain mobile devices' microphones to accurately live transcribe any conversation. As users brought it in masse at work and school, the platform quickly added human curation through live professional transcribers, multiple languages, and web / desktop compatibility.

We're looking for an experienced Engineering Leader to empower a sharp AI-driven engineering team and the architecture of our systems to be able to reach the next level of scale.

If you've successfully led and grew engineering teams of this size before with strong technical acumen, and are able to articulate well together business, product and technical challenges to build a coherent engineering roadmap, and are now looking to make a huge impact on society, this would be a real ideal position for you.

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About this Role

You'd be perfect for this role if:

  • You've managed successfully an engineering team before, in a high-growth environment and a strong engineering culture.
  • You have a strong desire to manage, empower and grow a team of engineers from 5 to 50, wanting to really prove yourself as a great engineering leader.
  • You still want to grow your technical chops, and expect to contribute technically in a meaningful way — this is a startup environment.
  • You've built yourself great quality products that have reached a large audience, and have been involved in key decisions regarding building systems for a large scale.
  • You can learn technologies as you go, exceptionally fast. To you, technologies are about tools and tradeoffs, not an ideology.
  • You care and can think deeply about the business implications of our engineering work. You're not just going after cool stuff — you understand the balance between craft, speed, and the bottom line.
  • You're a great and articulate communicator.
  • Bonus: You've designed complex systems such as: call centers, real-time peer-to-peer or centralized conversations.
  • Bonus: You're very familiar with Node.js, React.js, Typescript, WebRTC
  • Bonus: MS in Computer Science

So... what will you do as a VP of Engineering at Ava?

  • You'll review & elaborate an ambitious but realistic engineering roadmap, in collaboration with all stakeholders, in particular our AI Lead, CTO and Product Lead - and keep it current.
  • You'll take a meaningful ownership in solving some of our complex challenges - around scalability, stack complexity across platforms and necessary technologies to adopt.
  • You'll constantly keep an eye on the big picture to prepare the team to new challenges that might come up.
  • You'll manage a team of 6 engineers quickly growing to 12+, using effective practices to help everyone deliver and you will be instrumental to build a great engineering culture.
  • You'll articulate our technological choices & approach alongside our CEO to investors and other key stakeholders

What's special about this role?

  • Meaningfully impact lives, at scale: How often do you hear about apps that make people cry of joy? The need for more social justice is strong, and it is really for us a unique opportunity and privilege to be able to meaningfully improve the lives of 100,000s of people - and yet to still be at the very beginning of our mission!
  • Join us at an incredible time: We're well-funded and hit product-market fit, which gives us a huge green field to work with. You'd join at the perfect time to shape our engineering culture, what we build and how we grow, so we can create a more inclusive world.
  • Work with some of the best people in the world: We have an incredibly talented and passionate team that is a lot of fun to work with. We're still super small and have accomplished some things that were thought impossible!
  • Tackle our most interesting and impactful problems: Our team is still small, and people wear many hats. We're facing challenges of scale and want to ace this next phase. This is your shot at shining and making a huge difference based on your experience and technical vision.

About Ava


We want to radically improve how we humans communicate with each other. Our first step is to empower 450M deaf and hard-of-hearing people to a fully accessible world.

Every day, millions of people are excluded from conversations because they cannot hear well what others say. Our CEO Thibault grew up in a Deaf family and saw firsthand how the world was not accessible for them. Together with our CTO Skinner — deaf since age 2 — Thibault co-founded Ava to make live captioning of conversations as easy as turning on captions on TV.

Our small but fast-growing team has reinvented AI-based speech recognition technology to be in service of people who need it the most. We dream of a 24/7 accessible world, without any communication barrier.

In this pursuit, we're seeing how much communication skills are critical, yet very far from ideal, to unleash our collective potential. This is for us the last barrier to be lifted.

Our belief is that well-designed technology can help everyone communicate and connect better — much more effectively and authentically — so humanity can achieve the greatest things together.

We want to make the seemingly impossible equation of communication 1 + 1 = 3, work every time. In other words, make 1 & 1 = 3 a reality.

Life at Ava

We're a small team spread between two cities (San Francisco, where our Product & Growth teams are, and Paris — for our AI team). We care about making the world a much more connected place, and we believe it's best done by a highly creative & driven group of humans working in concert to change the current status quo. We value potential as much as experience and empathy as much as authenticity. Our culture is always evolving though, and we believe new people can and should change how we operate and what we value. A few recurring themes:

  • Impact first. We care deeply about building AI technologies that make total accessibility possible while being economically sustainable, respectful of privacy, and beneficial to society.
  • Mountain movers. Our mission is a lofty one. It takes a lot of time, hard work, and perseverance to achieve any kind of meaningful impact. We're ready to persist with bold ideas to the very end.
  • 1 & 1 = 3. No matter where you are from, we know that together we're stronger. We strive to reach authentic and impeccable communication to get where we need to go.
  • Beyond our bubble. We make Ava for people outside the strictly Silicon Valley bubble. We go beyond our own opinions and biases to listen to our users with deep empathy.
  • Growth-minded. There’s no model for what we’re building, because we’re trying something that’s never been done before. To stay on our toes, we're happy to commit to learning and growing every day, including when it's about giving each other authentic feedback.

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Disclaimer: Local Candidates Only
This company does NOT accept candidates from outside recruiting firms. Agency contacts are not welcome.