Why I Joined Ivella

Team
Written by 
Eric Jubber
January 25, 2022

Hi, I’m Eric Jubber, and I recently decided to leave my software engineering job at Amazon and join Ivella. I’d like to tell you a little about what led me to make this decision, and why, after only a couple of months, I know that it was the right one.

Why I Left

I worked at Amazon for just over a year, helping build the Trade-In platform. During my time there, I learned from some very experienced people (both engineers and non-engineers) and tackled problems that affected millions of customers. For an engineer looking to understand how big companies operate, Amazon was a great place to work.

After leading a few projects, I felt like I was ready for something new - something smaller, where I could have a bigger impact and learn/grow quickly.

What I Was Looking For

Amazon lives on one side of the development spectrum - hundreds of teams, thousands of engineers, and hundreds of billions in annual revenue. I knew I wanted to move to the opposite side of the spectrum. Still being early in my career, I thought that the best way to learn and grow would be to do something completely different.

A few criteria I had when considering this new role were:
• Fewer than 10 people at the company
• A strong engineering team that was working with a modern tech stack
• A role where I could help make key product and engineering decisions
• And, most of all, a company developing a product that solved a real problem

With these criteria in mind, the set of possible companies was reduced. At the same time, there were so many small teams building exciting, new products - how would I find one that was a mutual fit?

Why Ivella

Ivella stood out to me for one main reason: Ivella was solving a problem that I, along with dozens of my friends, consistently experienced: managing finances and splitting expenses in a relationship. I realized there was no great product to help partners in a relationship manage their finances, especially for those couples who are not ready to open a shared bank account.

Interviewing with Ivella only made me more excited about the opportunity. While the team was working on its first product, the Split Account, they had a suite of products in mind to decrease financial friction in relationships. Each of these products was associated with a specific problem associated with couples’ finances.

Ivella checked off the most important criterion on my list: building a product that solves a problem I experienced. What about my other criteria?

With only two engineers on the team (me joining as the third), I knew I would have the opportunities to build entirely new products, help make key decisions, and create the foundation of what could become a large, complex architecture in the future. I wanted to architect a product from the ground up, and I’d have the ability to do so at Ivella.

The team worked hard, got along well, and thought carefully about the details. During my work trial, we alternated between hours of focused work and impromptu, long product discussions that sprang out of nowhere. I loved being able to write thousands of lines of code and then debate and discuss whether partners in a relationship should earn points together or individually. Though many of our questions led to more questions, I could tell the team thought critically about everything - every assumption was challenged and no suggestion was out of the question. Outside of work, the work trial was a blast. We played Catan (our board game of choice), ate some great food in San Diego, and I got to know the team really well.

Tech-wise, the Split Account is a mobile-first banking product built with Swift/SwiftUI, GraphQL, and Node.js, deployed and scaled with a serverless infrastructure on AWS. The stack is modern and very fun to work with. The engineering culture struck a nice balance between rapidly iterating and designing with scale in mind. I was most excited to learn more about iOS/Swift and build out the GraphQL endpoints and infrastructure.

Beyond the product and tech stack, Ivella felt like a great fit. When I told them that I was only interested in joining if I could make key product and engineering decisions, they told me that that was a requirement.  

My First Few Months

So, a few months into my journey with Ivella, how is everything going? It couldn't be better - joining Ivella was the right decision. Working at Ivella, or any early-stage startup, is a lot of work - but it is a different type of work from what I was used to before. There is a strong sense of ownership and a shared set of goals that we’re all constantly thinking about and working towards.

In my first few months, I’ve done a whole lot. I’ve rebuilt a number of core workflows with SwiftUI (registration, login, connect to partner, activate new card, etc…), deployed a dozen Lambdas related to card activity and transaction processing, built out a scalable in-app notifications system, written integration tests, and thought about how we are going to build a scalable and enticing points/rewards system.  I’ve loved deepening my knowledge of card and transaction processing, making a number of high-level engineering decisions, and getting ready to onboard our first users.

I’m very satisfied with my experience so far and I’m excited for the future of our company. Although I’m currently working remotely, I recently got back from an awesome off-site in Palm Springs with the team, and am looking forward to heading back to Santa Monica in a few weeks and to our next off-site in Yosemite later in the Spring!

If you’re looking for a new role and anything I wrote resonated with you, please feel free to email me at ejubber@ivella.com. We’re currently hiring across engineering, product design, and marketing, and I would love to tell you more about my experience at Ivella!