Director of Hardware

Focal Systems

Burlingame, CA, US
  • Job Type: Full-Time
  • Function: Engineering Hardware
  • Post Date: 01/08/2021
  • Website:
  • Company Address: 2157 Harkins Avenue, Menlo Park, CA, 94025

About Focal Systems

Focal Systems was founded in 2015 with a very clear mission – automate and optimize brick and mortar retail.

Job Description

Company Description

Focal Systems is the industry leader in retail AI solutions. We are a Silicon Valley based startup that has more than doubled in size every year since our founding. Our mission is to automate and optimize brick and mortar retail using deep learning computer vision. Focal has been deployed at scale with the top retailers in the world. We are looking for smart, creative and passionate people who love to learn, enjoy thinking critically, share our values and want to build a great and enduring company.

About the Job

As the Director of Hardware, you will build and lead a highly experienced team of hardware and firmware engineers focused on developing state-of-the-art imaging technology devices. The team is responsible for the end-to-end design and implementation of Focal Systems shelf cameras that are currently being deployed at scale (think 100,000+ units) at leading retailers.

The position requires a unique individual who can lead Focal System’s hardware product strategy - spanning from design to manufacturing - ensuring that the camera hardware platform is robust, cost-effective, and performant.

The ideal candidate has an extensive background in embedded system design, CAD development, PCB design, supply chain setup and management, quality control, and cost optimization – from an at-scale consumer or industrial IoT hardware company. She/he must have the ability to turn competing and often changing priorities into a cohesive strategy and roadmap, connecting customer requirements with product features.

As a leader, you will inspire your team through your words, actions, and frequent, small victories. As a manager, you will focus your team on clear, prioritized goals. As an individual contributor, you will define and communicate Focal Systems’ hardware strategy, roadmap, plans, and priorities at all levels of the organization.

Additional Responsibilities:

  • Recruit a world-class hardware and firmware engineering team
  • Manage day-to-day operations of the entire Focal System’s hardware team
  • Setup and manage the Focal Systems supply chain
  • Design camera systems PCBs that reduce cost while maintaining same functionality and quality as current generation of devices
  • Design camera CADs that are robust and easy to install in the retail environment
  • Partner with the backend software and ML teams to ensure seamless integration and deployment of Focal Systems’ platform and solutions

Experience Requirements

The ideal candidate will have a minimum of 8-10 years’ experience in hardware leadership roles in an at-scale hardware product company, with more than three years working at the highest strategic levels of an organization. Experience working with a globally distributed organization is strongly preferred.

Additional Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree in ME/EE. Advanced degree preferred
  • Proven experience managing a team of engineers to hit deliverables and deadlines
  • 3+ years’ experience designing PCBs
  • 3+ years’ experience in CAD / DFM
  • 3+ years’ experience in Test and QA
  • Proven experience documenting and spec'ing Firmware
  • Experience with SCM software
  • Excellent communication skills and ability to present to the Executive Team
  • Startup mentality and willingness to work 40-60 hours a week
  • Understanding of camera systems, ISPs, 3As, etc. a plus

Personality Traits

Core values: You believe that candor is the foundation of a manager-employee relationship; you believe in maximizing employee productivity and employee job satisfaction; and you believe in individual responsibility and results over consensus. As a leader you focus on coaching, developing, and mentoring employees in order to build high-performance teams. You treat customers, employees, and results as your most precious and treasured assets.

Superior leadership: You have extensive experience building and leading organizations comprised of strong individual contributors and managers. You are as passionate about leading, attracting and growing talent as you are about continuously improving our products and processes.

You believe that data is the foundation for decision-making and you are willing to challenge and be challenged. You believe in rolling up your sleeves and digging in when needed regardless of organizational structure or boundaries.

You understand how to balance strategy and execution, and you can go both broad and deep on business and technology. You feel at ease driving discussions and decisions around direction and strategy at the highest level of the organization and you know how to focus on winning the war vs. fighting every battle.

Ability to act as a catalyst, driving hardware strategy & roadmap to achieve regular and consistent results: You are highly productive, independent, technology-focused, and have excellent communication and presentation skills. Above all else, you are as passionate about building world-class teams as you are about managing and running a world-class hardware team.

Deep domain expertise and leadership: You have a strong hardware technology foundation (PCB design, embedded systems, VHDL, image processing, power management, and production line setup & quality control). You enjoy researching new technologies, applications, and customer trends. You are as interested in technology trends as you are entrenched in the latest hardware and software development methodologies. You have ambitions and experience to make things awesome, not just good enough.

Proven experience: You have multiple examples under your belt of building a (hardware) product from conception to market - addressing the needs of a diverse customer base, as well as building consensus among the company's executive and product leadership groups. You have built and launched successful products and have also learned how to take something from 1.0 to 2.0 without getting lost in the process. You have scars and bruises from products and services that you were responsible for but didn’t succeed. You are proud of those, but don’t want more.

Why Focal Systems

Strong Values and Mission
We are a tightly-knit team with an ambitious mission and a strong set of core values, which define our approach to business and have successfully guided us since in­ception.
Exceptional Team
We are a team of hard-working, fun-loving professionals from some of the most eminent universities, research labs, and tech companies of our time. We pride ourselves on recruiting exceptional individuals to help us redefine the state-of-the-art.
Outstanding Partners
We work with 10+ of the largest retailers in the world and have a world-class roster of investors, advisors and partners to support & advise us in our endeavors.


We care deeply about the health, happiness, and wellbeing of all of our employees. We offer:        

  • Competitive salary 
  • Attractive Stock
  • Health Insurance
  • Catered lunches
  • Paid Time Off 
  • Quarterly Team Retreats
  • Education grants

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