Company Spotlight – ZestFinance

What if Google was still a startup? We all know that the 28,000 employee Silicon Valley behemoth is anything but. But what if you could work alongside Google’s former CIO and VP of Engineering all while doing some good in this world?  ZestFinance, founded by Douglas Merrill and lots of other ex-Googlers and folks from Capital One, is doing just that. The 60-person company is revolutionizing underwriting lending models using machine learning techniques and big data (and lots of it!).

Silicon Valley Culture and Perks in LA

Based in downtown Los Angeles, the ZestFinances offices sit right outside on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and inside an old art deco costume factory.  In true startup style, there are no vacation policies as long as goals and objectives are met. Everyone is encouraged to strike a healthy work-life balance and if that means forcing someone to take a vacation – well, they will. Amazing perks normally associated with Silicon Valley darlings are heavily sprinkled throughout ZestFinance employees’ workweek: catered lunches, weekly onsite mani-pedis and yoga classes, massages, car washes. The team rallies together for holidays (Halloween costume reveals are notably a big deal) and enjoys spontaneous social get-togethers. In summary, this is a very fun place to work on credit profiles and models.

Smart Collaborative Data Junkies

The ZestFinance team’s quest to provide funding to the undercredited using machine learning and big data is no small-feet. But as founder Douglas Merrill states: “If you don’t dream big, you end up with a small solution.” For Douglas, solving this problem is personal. And in order to solve it, he’s combined the best of what he experienced from working in a Google culture by surrounding a team of extremely smart employees with the flexibility and nimbleness of a startup environment.

That team is growing and is looking for very high quality software engineers, business analysts, math wizards and data junkies, all of which can be new college grads.  The ideal software engineers would have broad web development skills, ideally in Ruby on Rails and MySQL but don’t necessarily have to come from a background in engineering. Anyone who is strong in mathematical analytics, machine learning models or those coming from philosophical backgrounds can be strong players. 

But what matters most is that you have a love affair with data and you enjoy a fun work environment. You eat, sleep and breathe data and enjoy looking at ways to use every day data to solve old problems.  If you want to work for a fun company with altruistic goals that uses data and programming in the heart of old Hollywood then you check out ZestFinance.

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