Chief Technology Officer

The Opportunity:

Arifu is a fast growing edtech company in Nairobi and we’re looking for a CTO to join our leadership team as we scale from 400,000 to 1,000,000+ users in the next year. This is a full-time position with equity participation based at Arifu’s headquarters off Kindaruma Road, Nairobi.

About Arifu:

A first of its kind, the Arifu platform is a smart chatbot and content marketplace helping people freely access information and opportunity from the organizations they trust over any mobile phone. Our solution works using interactive SMS and a smartphone chat app so our learners don’t need internet or airtime to access great learning content. Since launching in 2015, over 400,000 Kenyans and Tanzanians have turned to Arifu to learn essential skills and access the high-impact products and services offered by our partners. Working closely with these leading organizations, we’ve been able to achieve some impressive early results for our learners including helping them increase their savings, access larger loans, improve their productivity, and grow their income.

As part of the core leadership, the CTO will work closely with the COO, CLO, and CEO. You will manage and work closely with software engineers, product managers, data scientists, and learning designers to drive our pioneering technical innovation agenda by applying machine learning, predictive analytics, behavioral science, and conversational agents to deliver personalized information and opportunity at scale.

Job Description:

You will have the following responsibilities:

  • Develop a clear vision, objectives, and implementation strategy for the technology product of Arifu;

  • Attract, structure, lead, and inspire a high performing and ever-growing team of engineers, product managers, data scientists, algorithm developers, statisticians, system admins, dreamers, and designers;

  • Identify competitive advantages and technological trends for the benefit of Arifu;

  • Oversee the design, development, and deployment of a highly profitable and impactful learning platform in key expansion markets initially across Africa and then to Asia and Latin America;

  • Guide near term builds including the Arifu Android/iOS app, IVR app, advertising and licensing exchange, adaptive learning engine, predictive analytics, and partner API;

  • Provide perspective and guidance on long-term scalable architecture, strategy, investments and innovation drawing upon your depth and breadth of knowledge;

  • Publish technical white papers on the impact of our innovations and generate patent applications as appropriate;

  • Contribute thought leadership with industry executives at the organizations that Arifu works with across financial services, agriculture, consumer goods, energy, health, telecommunications and other sectors;

  • Facilitate workshops, hackathons and seminars to position Arifu as an edtech industry leader and attract top level talent;

  • Lead an ambitious research agenda to put Arifu at the forefront of the application of artificial intelligence, mobile technology, remote sensing, and behavioral science;

  • Participate in community events, trade meetups, and industry workshops in Nairobi and globally.

Basic Qualifications:

Passion, commitment, resourcefulness, and a drive to continue learning are essential prerequisites on the Arifu team. For this role, we’re also looking for someone who meets the following criteria:

  • Master’s degree in Computer Science or related field with a concentration in artificial intelligence, adaptive learning, neural networks, cognitive computing, predictive analytics and related focus areas;

  • 10+ years of relevant professional experience with at least 5 years in a leadership capacity;

  • Highly technical and analytical, with 10+ years of experience in building innovative software products;

  • Has an intimate understanding of the power of information and is passionate about using artificial intelligence, mobile technology, and behavioral science among others in revolutionizing how people access information and digital services;

  • Track record of end-to-end mobile product development and deployment resulting in strong engagement KPIs;

  • Demonstrated ability to think strategically about business, product, and technical challenges;

  • Demonstrated ability to attract, structure, lead, and inspire a high performing and dynamic technology department;

  • Working technical knowledge in all areas relevant to the Arifu product: MVC, PHP, Java, MySQL, Android, Python, R, AWS, Bitbucket, CSS, SMS, IVR, HTML5, and Laravel;

  • Experience with server and database frameworks and tools such as Ubuntu, Apache, MySQL, PostgreSQL and MongoDB;

  • Ability to communicate complex topics to an audience with various functional knowledge;

  • Adept with East African cultural norms and their implications for technology design and business strategy decisions;

  • Must be willing to be based in Nairobi and travel.

Preferred Qualifications:

In addition to the above qualities, the following would present an added advantage:

  • PHD in Computer Science or related field with a focus on artificial intelligence, adaptive learning, neural networks, cognitive computing, predictive analytics or related area;

  • Master’s degree in Business Administration;

  • Current or former CTO with experience scaling up entire organizations or departments;

  • Experience in a fast-paced, growth-stage environment;

  • Experience with cost engineering and budgeting to ensure excellent product delivery at minimal cost;

  • Experience with DevOps, Continuous integration and deployment and micro-services architecture.

Compensation and Benefits:

Your salary will be competitive and based on experience. Every Arifu team member also becomes part owner of the company after their first year through participation in the Employee Stock Option Plan. We’ve got flexible holidays and a set of great benefits. For international hires, we offer a one-way ticket and work-permit processing. Most importantly of all, you’ll have unlimited ping pong and foosball while at Arifu HQ!

Nairobi, KE