Apeel Sciences
Head of Technology Product
CONTACT: Jason Navarro:
650.799.6816 (m/txt)
jason@JJAVentureSearch.com

 

Position Description

Head of Technology Products

Insite About This Role

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Apeel is on a mission to leave the world a better place, and for someone who wants their career to have a real-world impact, this is a can’t-pass-up opportunity. The company is at a turning point in its development as a global innovator in the fight to prevent food waste and feed the planet. It has proven value in its existing products and partnerships—leading to a stockpile of capital and enthusiastic investor backing—and still has potential to grow. While establishing and perfecting its coating technology, Apeel has also been amassing a huge amount of data sourced from 40 nodes across three continents. This gives them the unique ability to predict produce outcomes and quality. They are ready for a Head of Technology Products who can serve as an architect, thinking through all the opportunities and using that data to create a new living supply chain that solves real problems. The Head of Technology Products will maximize tech solutions by leveraging the data collected from a given fruit or vegetable to inform new products and innovations, with the potential to extend that solution into the supply chain. In taking that data and sharing it back with consumers and retailers through new products, Apeel’s technologies will allow customers to create informed decisions about their produce and how they spend their money. The right person will have the imagination and creative sensibility to ideate, build, and implement ground-breaking ideas as well as the experience and pragmatism to balance the optimistic, dream-big attitude of the team. This is not a role for someone who builds what they’re told to build–it’s for someone with the confidence to say what products should be put on the roadmap. Ideally, the Head of Technology Products will have experience in areas such as retail, food, or supply chain management so that they can help the team understand what new products can be built and commercialized without a long on-ramp. Experience at a start-up working with hands-on founders is a plus. This is a true team environment. The Head of Technology Products will closely collaborate and partner with CEO and founder James Rogers as well as co-founders Louis Perez, who oversees New Product Innovation, and Jenny Du, VP of operations, to lead, strategize, and execute technology product development. The Head of Technology Products will also work closely with general managers for each produce category and new product introductions team. In this market-facing role, the Head of Technology Products will help Apeel achieve the huge value that the company and its investors believe in—all while changing the world for the better.

Charter for the Head of Technology Products

  • Build a product roadmap and execute it accordingly. Determine how to use the existing infrastructure to amplify direct consumer engagement with Apeel’s products. Drive the strategy and direction of the products through the organization of data and with the input of the key stakeholders, both internal and external—all with the overarching mission of streamlining and optimizing the supply chain for real-world impact.
  • Spearhead the ideation, development, and execution of data-driven products and tools. Maximize data to promote business outcomes by developing the tools that will allow retailers and partners to make the most informed decisions. Envision and execute the potential for use in a consumer-facing way—for instance, a branded platform that can scan an avocado from a supermarket and will tell you (or a third-party service) when it will be ready to eat.
  • Serve as a visionary that works internally and externally. Have the experience and ability to both identify and address software needs across business units (with direction coming from GMs of produce category business units), but also capable of leading a team with a commercial outcome attached to it in partnership with the CEO.
  • Oversee a multi-functional organization that will grow rapidly
    • Direct reports
      • Software Engineering
        • One team leader
        • 18 hardware and software engineers, inclusive of one software PM
          • Comprised of employees and consultants
          • Located across HQ, US, and global
      • Business Systems
        • Four team members
        • Owns Oracle, Workday, and other business systems
        • Currently sits under CFO, will transition to Head of Technology Products
      •  Corporate IT
        • One Senior Director leader
        • Five team members o Three CIS admins and two help desk associates
        • Currently sits under CFO Bill Strong, will transition to Head of Technology Products
    • Potential for oversight over future teams
      •  Data science team that currently sits under the NPI team has a lot of horsepower, but it’s data science (e.g., algorithms that work with apps) for food science, perishability, etc. rather than data analysis

Responsibilities and Deliverables

  • Oversee collection and organization data, then apply it to inform new applications to improve retailer and customer experiences and streamline the supply chain.
  • Oversee software engineering on both the front-end and back-end, with a deep understanding of both software and hardware.
  • Oversee both B2B and B2C products, with an understanding of customer behavior and market familiarity.
  • Manage a technical team while serving as the bridge between the vision of the commercial outcomes, which drive the core business, and the other possibilities that can be developed for future revenue and growth.
  • Collaborate with external partners, including retailers and third-party apps like Instacart, to use technology to their advantage and create new revenue streams.
  • Garner inspiration from founders’ visions while offering new insights to benefit the long-term future of the company.
  • Balance big ideas and ambitious thinking with the on-the-ground reality of building a product, particularly within a certain timeframe.
  • Ensure an efficient, accurate, front-end and back-end that account for the potential for new innovations and data applications.
  • Serve as an autonomous thought partner who can talk through techniques and be part of a commercial discussion of innovation partnerships.

Critical Selection Criteria

  • Domain expertise in physical goods where supply chains are critical and massive data sets were leveraged through Machine Learning/Data Science
  • Relevant sector/market experience from innovative companies in one or more of these spaces: consumer (CPG/FMCG/F&B/similar industries), retail (eCommerce platforms/marketplaces), hardware/device, supply chain automation/resiliency/planning
  • A product road map all star who has conceptualized, defined, driven the development of, and shipped commercially successful technology products; someone who has synthesized inputs from multiple sources (internal teams, customers, partners, vendors/service providers), determined priorities, articulated and delivered longer term product vision and strategy down to the execution/release schedules
  • Strong technology DNA and fluent in modern product development methodologies (Agile, Scrum, Kanban, DevOps, etc.), someone who is current on the tech space and technical in nature
  • A leader, partner, and coalition builder who is a senior, strategic leader with executive presence and gravitas; someone who has had a seat at the table of a senior leadership team, is highly effective in cross-functional roles, and has a reputation for getting alignment on vision and roadmap among key stakeholders while balancing revenue/business objectives
  • A quick study and bias toward action, with a proven ability to swiftly assess platforms, systems, processes, and problems; able to edit in the lens of productizing commercial solutions then iterate (test and learn) with speed to market
  • An innovative mind with a track record of not just solving problems, but bringing a vision for applying new technologies and methodologies to find commercial opportunities in the market
  • A passion for the Apeel mission of creating a living supply chain to keep the world fed

Critical Selection Criteria

  • Curious and humble enough to know that they don’t have all the answers
  • Self-starter willing to spend time with the problem, persistent enough to see it through
  • Accountability, with the willingness to own the outcomes and care about them
  • Finds meaning in the mission and excited to solve the problems the world is facing
  • The willingness and enthusiasm to collaborate with others, yet independent
  • Ability to make big decisions while trusting in their choice; someone who doesn’t want to be told what to build and instead can handle setting the course themselves
  • Intrinsic motivation to find a better way to go about doing things, with the ability to see the room for improvement and areas to grow
  • Comfort with a blank canvas, a love of taking a sophisticated set of components, technologies, and datasets and turning them into something incredible