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Vice President of Software Engineering

Engineering | Alameda, CA | Full Time

Job Description

About Saildrone

Saildrone designs and manufactures wind and solar-powered autonomous surface vehicles called saildrones, which make cost-effective ocean data collection possible at scale. We are busy building the world's largest high-resolution ocean datasets, working with governments and private companies around the globe. We believe that better inputs in planetary models, in turn, yield better outputs and that the new insights gained in weather forecasting, carbon cycling, global fishing and climate change will have a tremendous impact on humanity. We are based in Alameda, CA and are backed by Social Capital, The Capricorn Investment Group, Lux Capital and The Schmidt Family Foundation.

About The Role

The Saildrone fleet of ocean-going drones tirelessly roams the world's oceans collecting data that drive new planetary insights. These are delivered to our customers via beautiful mobile and web apps. We are looking for an outstanding and passionate VP of Software Engineering. Reporting to the Chief Executive Officer, you will be joining a talented, collaborative team at the forefront of exciting new ventures in the world of unmanned systems and big data.  A successful candidate will manage and mentor our Software Engineering team and contribute to shaping and scaling the development and design of our platform and associated technologies

You will be a part of a team of talented individuals who are just as passionate about supporting one another as they are about our planetary mission. Honesty and willingness to accept feedback are critical, as is a sense of humor and generally having fun!


  • Partner with the CEO  to create a technical vision and roadmap for the software engineering team
  • Lead a team of talented engineers who like to ship code and tackle difficult engineering challenges
  • Coach and mentor the professional and technical development of your team members, maximizing team productivity and growing their careers by understanding your team’s skill levels, working styles, motivations, and professional goals
  • Take ownership of projects end to end, managing a broad scope of software challenges.
  • Hire, lead and mentor a talented team of engineers and engineering managers
  • Provide technology leadership, inspire your team and proactively bring new ideas, technologies, and methodologies to the table
  • Partner with Product Management to internalize business needs and drive priorities
  • Work in a consultative fashion with other relevant functional leaders including to get high-quality products and features through an agile, high velocity, fast-paced software project lifecycle, ensuring success metrics are informing future efforts and quickly fine-tuning the program as needed
  • Set achievable and motivating stretch goals and manage the team to achieve them
  • Support the Saildrone’s culture, mission, and values by providing leadership by example to functional heads


  • B.S., M.S. in Computer Science or similar applied technical field with experience working in developing scalable data platforms and complex software products and supportive technologies
  • Experience building and delivering products that have scaled
  • Demonstrated passion for and success in attracting, assessing, and closing highly skilled candidates
  • Effective at balancing the needs of a dynamic product roadmap, and transparently delivering the work-in-progress for your teams
  • Bonus if you’ve managed engineers in building both consumer-facing and ops-supporting products & tools
  • A passion for Saildrone's mission


  • Medical, dental and vision plans for you and your dependents
  • Healthy lunch program provided onsite
  • Active sailing classes: become a certified skipper on boats up to 35ft!
  • Fun team activities including our famous monthly social taxiway BBQ
  • Waterfront office, a former airplane hangar that was once used to film 'The Matrix'
  • Short and relaxing ferry ride from the Ferry Building for SF residents
  • Enhanced paternity/maternity programs
  • Competitive benefits including discounted gym, life insurance, 401k plan

This is an exciting new opportunity to drive your function at a fast-growing post series-A startup at the cutting edge intersection of big data services and autonomous hardware. You will be an integral part of an A+ multi-disciplinary team scaling a high-performance business while delivering high impact for humanity and future generations.

Our waterfront office offers beautiful views of San Francisco Bay in always sunny Alameda. Your commute could be a short and relaxing ferry ride from the Ferry Building. Even our walls have good karma, our offices mixing software development with a hardware production line in the former airplane hangar that was once used to film 'The Matrix'.

You can read what the press says about us:

Inc - The most exciting drones aren't in the air, they are in the oceans
The New York Times - No sailors needed: robot sailboats scour the oceans for data
NOAA - Sailing for scientific success in the Bering Sea
Wired - The drone that will sail itself around the world

Or watch the Saildrone mission being presented the TED stage

Saildrone is an equal opportunity workplace dedicated to pursuing and hiring a diverse workforce.


Any unsolicited resumes/candidate profiles submitted through our website or to personal email accounts of employees of Saildrone are considered property of Saildrone and are not subject to payment of agency fees.