Head of Developement

Job description




Our vision

tails.com is a tech-centric startup, using the power of technology combined with applied nutritional science to change the world of dog food for good.

We launched to the public in July 2014. We’re proud members of the TechCity Future Fifty, a prestigious network of the UK's fastest growing tech companies, and are #4 in the Startups 100 index of exciting UK startups to watch. We also scooped a whole bunch of awards at the 2016 and 2017 Startups Awards, including Tech Business of the Year.


The challenge

4 million. That’s how many meals we deliver every single month, and we’re just getting started.
Imagine a world where what you feed your dog is being as carefully optimised as the recommendation engine for what to watch next on Netflix. Well that world exists - we’re creating it right now. 

So where do you come in? Turn 4 million into 4 billion. We’ll need new nutrition algorithms that handle more types of food. We’ll need better pricing engines for value engineering. And we’ll need to keep making sure our customer experience is top of the line in a constantly evolving E-commerce world.


Who we’re looking for

We’re looking for an experienced technical leader from a hands-on technical background who has a successful track record of nurturing and growing high performing, highly motivated software engineering teams. We want someone who knows what makes great engineering teams tick and is eager for the opportunity to shape and build that environment as part of a fast moving high technology startup.


Reporting to the Technical Cofounder you will take on direct line management of developers and team leads, guiding career development, team structure, recruitment and software development processes as well as driving the day to day delivery of new features and functionality. You’ll collaborate with the Technical Cofounder on engineering best practice to build a challenging and rewarding technical culture befitting a company like tails.com.


You’ll be a key leader in the business, so in addition to the above you’ll also work closely with the heads of Product, Marketing, Creative and Data to plan, prioritise and manage the workload of the development team across multiple projects. 





The primary responsibilities of the Head of Engineering role are to:

  • drive the day to day development of new functionality to ensure we deliver projects quickly and in a predictable and efficient manner. You won’t be expected to code, but you should be able to.
  • translate business goals and ambitions into capacity and competency requirements for the tech team that ensures we’re developing or hiring the right mix of competencies at the right time
  • collaborate across the business to build effective, agile delivery processes
  • recruit, retain and develop a high performing, highly motivated and inspired tech team
  • build on our current excellent engineering culture to ensure we maintain a technically challenging environment where best practice, knowledge sharing and open communication in collaboration with the Technical Cofounder


In the first 12 months you will:

  • create short, medium and long term team plans to deliver the capacity and capabilities required to deliver on business objectives
  • collaborate with other leaders in the business to refine our agile processes so that the teams can deliver customer and business value at pace
  • implement a best in class recruitment and onboarding process that delivers high quality candidates and converts them into effective hires
  • review, commit to and deliver the functionality required to deliver the business goals for the next 18 months
  • work closely with the with the Technical Cofounder to develop a career framework for developers at tails.com so we hire and develop individuals appropriately
  • define roles across the development team and set clear, challenging objectives aligned with the role and the individual’s career trajectory
  • set up incident response processes, including metrics, uptime commitment, root cause analysis, and support / on-call rotas
  • work with key stakeholders to create a definition of done for all projects at tails.com

Tech Stack + team

Because of the bespoke nature of our product, we’ve had to build pretty much the entire tech stack behind tails.com: the website, the blend algorithm, the billing and subscription engines, right through to the automation and workflow systems that run the physical fulfilment process in our blending room.


The current team of 9 is consists of full stack developers that lean heavily towards either front-end or back-end development specialisms, with a good mixture of skills and experience levels. We expect to double the size of the team by the end of the year.

Our tech stack is Python (Flask + SQLAlchemy + Celery) on the backend along with a smattering of Go, with Redis, DynamoDB, MySQL and S3 for data storage. 


The platform is comprised of resilient and scalable applications and services powered by AWS with a mixture of Elastic Beanstalk, AWS Lambda, CloudFormation and EC2 Container Service (introducing Kubernetes with EKS). 


  • We have a propensity to ship early and often, so we push multiple deployments live per day through our CI/CD pipelines using Codeship.

What we’re offering

  • We offer a competitive salary in line with experience, plus significant equity share.
  • Other benefits include:
  • a £2,500 budget to buy whatever development kit you need
  • a personal development budget for training, conferences, books, etc.
  • regular internal hackdays, after-work activities and team events
  • a dog-friendly office in Richmond, easily one of the most beautiful parts of London, with great transport links into the city and beyond
  • discounted tails.com dog food for you or a family member or friend