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CTO/Co-Founder

  /  CTO/Co-Founder

AkilahNet is a members-only talent platform for high-performing professionals in East Africa, connecting them to exciting jobs not advertised anywhere else. We focus on client-facing and relationship management roles only, such as customer service, business development, sales, and public relations. These roles require a high degree of emotional intelligence, social aptitude, confidence, and collaboration skills. Our goal is to connect employers to proven client-facing professionals and remove the hassle from hiring.

In January 2015, we launched the first phase of AkilahNet: An online career magazine with more than 20 contributors, offering timely articles and inspiration on career advice, entrepreneurship, and innovation in East Africa.

In October 2015, we began accepting applications for AkilahNet memberships and matching current members to positions with employers we work with. Applicants must possess all of the above qualities and pass an in-person interview before being accepted. Once accepted, we work with them to match them to their dream job.

The Position

AkilahNet seeks an experienced engineer and manager to lead the development of this pioneering technology startup in East Africa. You will insource and manage our technical team, establish technical standards and best practices, and help lead product vision and development.

The first version of our talent marketplace will already be built and live when you come in. We are working with an outsourced team of developers to deliver our requirements for a functional job board, recommendation engine, and email integrations. Our initial technology will be largely manual, allowing us to test our assumptions and arrive at product-market fit before committing the resources to automate the process.

You’ll be responsible for building the logic and backend that powers our recommendation engine. You’ll lead integrations between best-of-class CRM and inbound marketing tools to automate our lead generation and business development efforts. You will create the ticketing and support infrastructure that ensures AkilahNet delivers on our brand promises of rapid responsiveness and fanatical customer service. You will envision a fully-featured database and applicant tracking system that allows companies to manage all their hiring needs through AkilahNet.

And you will do all of this in a nascent technology market that is only now going online, and doing so faster than any other region in the world. That means you’ll have to build the simplest, most easy-to-use SaaS imaginable. You will create unexpected solutions and deal with unusual challenges that come with building a technology product for the developing world. This should excite you.

The CTO is a co-founder position working closely with two other co-founders. We are a geographically distributed team and are very comfortable working remotely. The goal is to find the right person, regardless of location.

Responsibilities

Strategy, Planning, and Governance

  • Collaborate with AkilahNet co-founders to assess and recommend technologies in support of company needs.
  • Identify opportunities and risks for service delivery, including identification of competitive services, opportunities for innovation, and assessment of marketplace obstacles and technical hurdles to the business success.
  • Identify technology trends and evolving social behavior that may support or impede the success of the business.
  • Evaluate and identify appropriate technology platforms, application frameworks, and programming languages for delivering AkilahNet’s services.
  • Lead strategic planning to achieve business goals by identifying and prioritizing development initiatives and setting timetables for the evaluation, development, and deployment.
  • Establish a governance process that meets government, partner, and company expectations for customer information privacy.
  • Direct development and execution of an information security plan that protects the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of AkilahNet’s data and servers.
  • Communicate the company’s technology strategy to investors, management, staff, partners, customers, and stakeholders.

Technology Implementation

  • Collaborate with the founders and potential customers to develop use cases and specifications that describe the implementation of AkilahNet’s products as an SaaS platform.
  • Select or define the company’s software development methodology.
  • Review current best practices and establish the architecture for AkilahNet.
  • Select and manage company staff or outsourced vendors who will implement the application.
  • Establish and supervise the software development process, setting short-term objectives and assessing progress as defined by the selected software development methodology.
  • Conduct code reviews and specification conformance testing as defined by the selected software development methodology.
  • Establish and supervise a quality assurance process for integration and system testing.
  • Manage the release process.

Deployment and Systems Administration

  • Monitor application performance and review any application failures in staging or production.
  • Establish and monitor a web analytics regime that measures site traffic and application usage relative to business goals.
  • Support the marketing process by providing implementation of technical requirements for inbound marketing and search engine optimization.
  • Establish a customer service and support process, with particular responsibility for web-based services that implement the support function.

Operational Management

  • Maintain up-to-date knowledge of technology standards, industry trends, emerging technologies, and software development best practices by attending relevant conferences and reading widely — including reading your peers’ blogs!
  • Define and communicate company values and standards for acquiring or developing systems, equipment, or software within the company.
  • Ensure that technology standards and best practices are maintained across the organization.
  • Share knowledge, mentor, and educate the organization’s investors, management, staff, partners, customers, and stakeholders with regard to the company’s technological vision, opportunities, and challenges.
  • Ensure company technical problems are resolved in a timely and cost-effective manner.
  • Develop, track, and control the development and deployment annual operating and capital budgets for purchasing, staffing, and operations.
  • Supervise recruitment, training, retention, and organization of all development staff in accordance with the company hiring process, personnel policies, and budget requirements.
  • Establish standards of performance and monitor conformance for staff (through performance review) and vendors (through service level agreements).
  • Ensure the company’s internal technological processes and customer-facing services comply with community expectations and applicable laws and regulations for privacy, security, and social responsibility.
  • Promote achievement of the company’s business goals within a context of community collaboration by developing policies for sharing software code, technological innovation, business processes, and other intellectual property.

Requirements

Qualifications

  • University degree in the field of computer science, business administration, or another rigorous discipline.
  • 7-10 years experience in technology leadership and development in a startup environment.
  • Experience building applications using CSS3, HTML5, Ruby on Rails, MySQL, and AngularJS.
  • Knowledge of web standards.
  • Demonstrated ability to envision web-based services that meet consumer needs or solve business problems.
  • Hands-on experience coding in more than one currently popular web application framework.
  • Familiar with more than one software development methodology.
  • Ability to discern user requirements and develop specifications.
  • Has contributed to one or more open source projects.
  • Familiarity with technical requirements of inbound marketing and search engine optimization.
  • Familiarity with information security vulnerabilities and risk management.
  • Familiarity with consumer privacy and payments industry compliance requirements.
  • Exposure to business theory, business process development, governance processes, management, budgeting, and administrative operations.

Personal Attributes

  • Proven leadership ability.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and ability to articulate ideas to both technical and non-technical audiences.
  • Exceptional service orientation and an interest in developing end-user technology for an underserved market in East Africa.
  • Ability to manage and collaborate with geographically distributed teams
  • A desire to develop a first-to-market product targeted at African job seekers and companies.

Benefits

This is an exciting time to join a quickly growing startup in a position that has lots of potential for increased responsibility and leadership. In addition, AkilahNet provides:

  • Company equity
  • Health insurance reimbursement
  • Paid bereavement leave
  • 12 weeks paid maternity leave
  • Generous paid time off
  • 401k (only available to U.S. staff currently)
  • Professional development stipend
  • Access to nearly 5,000 volumes in the Akilah Institute library
  • Access to new technology and training
  • Three week paid + three week unpaid sabbatical after four years’ employment
  • Regular social events and holiday parties
  • Competitive compensation and salary structure

Application Instructions

Please send your resume and detailed cover letter about why you want to join AkilahNet to careers@akilah.net (addressed to Anastasia Uglova). Please provide specific examples about why your experience and skillset will be valuable to the AkilahNet team.