Launching in Lisbon from over 2 (million) meters away

Posted: 22 Sep 2020

Sara Wood

Chief Executive Officer

At Kaluza, we are on a mission to transform the energy industry through our powerful technology platform. To succeed, we need the best talent, and not even a global pandemic can stand in our way.

COVID-19 has stifled many growth plans across businesses globally, and that’s why I feel immensely fortunate for Kaluza to be able to continue to hire through this period and even set up operations overseas. We’ve chosen Lisbon, Portugal to be home to our new tech hub for our flourishing product and engineering teams, which includes teams from across the OVO Group. Having previously worked at Farfetch – the luxury fashion retail platform leader based in Portugal – I know first-hand the quality of tech talent there. It is some of the world’s best.

There is something to be said about the city’s dynamic tech scene, which was non-existent ten years ago as Portugal suffered a severe economic depression. Since then, Lisbon has produced an extraordinary number of technically skilled graduates per capita. Its creative and modern approach to product methodology has attracted foreign companies and investors far and wide including Google and Mercedez-Benz.io, and the number of homegrown success stories, such as unicorn Outsystems, is rising sharply. Additionally, in recent years, Lisbon has been the destination for hundreds of thousands of tech titans who gather for major tech conferences, most prominently WebSummit. This amazing city, with its thriving tech community, could rival that of Silicon Valley and London.

As if the prospect of a hub there wasn’t attractive enough, Lisbon is also officially Europe’s Green Capital 2020, the perfect place for a company like ours that is building technologies to drive decarbonization. 

Although hiring brand new teams in a brand new country during a world health crisis wasn’t the plan, because we’ve worked hard at Kaluza and the wider OVO Group to give our people maximum working flexibility, we have been well-positioned to hire in Lisbon despite lockdown.

I’m also proud that we are living and breathing our commitment to better diversity with a true mix of ethnicities, nationalities, and gender amongst our new recruits. I spoke to three of our new team members in Portugal who boasted of Lisbon’s benefits… number one, of course, was its 300 days of sunny weather a year.

Meet some of the new recruits

To give you a sense of who they are and why they joined us, let me share a little bit about some of the individuals!

Lucie Hajkova
Lucie Hajkova
Claudson Oliviera
Claudson Oliviera
Pedro Filipe
Pedro Filipe

Lucie Hajkova is originally from Czech Republic but has been in Lisbon for years. She describes Lisbon as having a ‘fiesty startup ecosystem’ which she has gotten to know well through running an accelerator for tech startups to building a native-quality translation platform, empowering customer support teams. Unphased by the challenges that coronavirus has presented in starting a new job for a company based abroad, Lucie feels well supported by her ‘kick ass peers’ both in Portugal and the UK.

Pedro Filipe, was employee number one in Lisbon and has taken an interesting path from his academic background in music, to becoming a developer in education tech while finding enough time to co-found a nonprofit at the start of the COVID-19 outbreak called Reach4Help – a digital network for volunteers across the world to connect more effectively.

Another new software engineer starting with us is Claudson Oliviera, who had been working in software development for the past ten years when he moved from Brazil. Claudson has commented: “On ‘day one’ it was a challenge to start a job without going to an office and meeting new friends, but the remote onboarding that the team had prepared was organized in a way that was more effective than most of the on-site ones that I have experienced.” You can look out for Claudson’s YouTube channel all about software engineering, he has 15,000 subscribers and counting!

Pedro, Lucie and Claudson are just the start of our new family in Lisbon, and they won’t be the last! We have an incredible Talent Acquisition team who seem to be enjoying the experience too, Talent Advisor James Burgess commented: “to be hiring highly skilled engineers with such rich experience and see Kaluza become part of Lisbon’s burgeoning tech scene is both incredibly rewarding and exciting.”

Some of our new recruits enjoying a socially distanced meet up.

Some of our new recruits enjoying a socially distanced meet up.

As we’ve all experienced, geographical distance doesn’t amount to much when everyone is working from their living rooms and meeting via video conferencing! Even so, we’ll be excited to launch our secondment programme when it’s safe, giving our people a chance to mentor, and experience the company from a new culture. 

Looking forward to our new people in Lisbon feeling settled as Kaluza marks the start of its global expansion!

About the Author

Sara Wood

Chief Executive Officer

Sara Wood is the CEO of Kaluza, OVO Group’s technology platform ecosystem that is driving the transition to a zero carbon energy system. Sara has over 20 years’ experience creating and scaling industry-transforming technology products. Prior to Kaluza, Sara was Executive VP of Product at Farfetch, where she helped lead the company to a $9billion IPO. Sara has served in executive roles in organisations as diverse as Gap Inc, Flickr, Wikia/Fandom, and the World Health Organization. She has experience at all stages of a company’s growth, from seed stage through to IPO and F500. Under her leadership, Kaluza’s award-winning platform is laying the foundations for an intelligent, zero carbon energy system.

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