Director, Data Science

| Greater LA Area

ZestFinance is a technology startup that uses machine learning and large-scale data analysis to transform credit availability for millions of Americans. Over the past 5 years, ZestFinance has built a big data underwriting technology that more accurately predicts likelihood of repayment. ZestFinance uses this technology to make loans to customer that banks typically overlook. ZestFinance also licenses its technology to other companies, including JD.com in China.

ZestFinance was founded in September, 2009, by founder and CEO Douglas Merrill, an accomplished technology executive who previously served as CIO of Google.

The Director, Data Science will lead Zest’s ML team to deliver technically excellent, highly predictive models to drive Zest’s businesses. The Director, Data Science will also communicate and champion Zest’s underwriting technologies to external constituencies including conferences, press, and potential clients.
 

RESPONSIBILITIES:

  • Lead a team of 10+ data scientists in developing high-quality, robust predictive algorithms.
  • Recruit, motivate, and develop the best data scientist talent in the world.
  • Define Zest’s modeling strategy and manage pipeline for internal and external modeling efforts.
  • Translate unstructured business problems into well-defined machine learning projects.
  • Help develop robust, scalable infrastructure for real-time predictions.
  • Collaborate with a cross-functional team of Engineers, Product Managers, and Business Analysts to identify and manage high leverage opportunities for modeling work.
  • Represent ZestFinance in calls, meetings, conferences to advance Zest’s position as the world’s leading ML team.
  • Visibly drive innovation by incorporating new modeling capabilities and/or pioneering data sources.
  • Develop and evangelize best practices for scoping, building, validating, and monitoring modeling projects.

QUALIFICATIONS:

  • Graduate Degree in Math, Computer Science, Statistics, or a related quantitative field.
  • Prior experience in FinTech or related fields (preferred).
  • Expert command of statistical analysis, algorithm development, and state-of-the-art tools and methodologies for data science.
  • 8+ years creating predictive models using advance machine learning techniques.
  • 3+ years managing a team of data scientists.
  • Expert command of SQL and R or Python as applied to data science.
  • Experience with Hadoop, Spark, or other big data platforms is a plus.
  • Experience developing real-time production data pipelines.
  • Experience interacting with external clients is a plus.

ABOUT ZEST:

ZestFinance is a technology startup that uses machine learning and large-scale data analysis to transform credit availability for millions of Americans. Over the past 5 years, ZestFinance has built a big data underwriting technology that more accurately predicts likelihood of repayment. ZestFinance uses this technology to make loans to customer that banks typically overlook. ZestFinance also licenses its technology to other companies, including JD.com in China.

ZestFinance was founded in September, 2009, by founder and CEO Douglas Merrill, an accomplished technology executive who previously served as CIO of Google.

We are committed to diversity in hiring, professional development, and everyday discussion.  Zest is determined to hire crazy smart people who are different from each other to create broad thinking, lots of different ideas, and by extension, the best team possible.

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Technology we use

  • Engineering
    • PythonLanguages
    • RLanguages
    • RubyLanguages
    • Ruby on RailsFrameworks

Location

The office has lots of great fun after work activities, such as bars, escape room games, and an indie theater.
1377 N. Serrano Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90027

Insider's spotlight

What's something quirky about your company?

All of our conference rooms are named after famous 80's bands and have the records on the door to help us keep them straight! Our benefits rooms features hair metal band Poison, our main boardroom is Iron Maiden, and my favorite conference room is Devo.

Lucy

Executive Assistant

How do you collaborate with other teams in the company?

Some of the best ideas for my team have come from family style lunches with a random group of coworkers. Our open office space allows unfettered access to everyone in the company, and when you couple that with reasonable confidence that you’re surely not the smartest person within earshot, cross-functional collaboration at Zest is just status quo.

Jose

Business Operations Associate

What makes someone successful on your team?

A successful Business Analyst at ZestFinance embraces new and challenging problems, takes ownership of driving a team to develop data-driven, rigorous solutions, and clearly communicates those solutions to a variety of stakeholders. And they do all of that while never taking themselves too seriously and remembering to have a good time!

Leland

Lead Business Analyst

How do you empower your team to be more creative?

The first step is to create a safe space where they feel that they can give voice to ideas and get feedback. So I try to encourage openness and I try to show my team that their input is valued. When people know that they can share their ideas, and that behavior is rewarded and reinforced, they’re more likely to be thoughtful and creative.

Jay

CTO

How do your team's ideas influence the company's direction?

I love working in a talented team with individuals from a variety of backgrounds. Across the board, we have expertise in a comprehensive set of data science problems, and our ever-growing aptitude in predictive modeling enables and encourages senior management to pursue novel, challenging goals. It’s thrilling to see such direct impact of my work.

Ozan

Data Scientist

What are ZestFinance Perks + Benefits

Health Insurance & Wellness Benefits
Dental Benefits
Vision Benefits
Health Insurance Benefits
Onsite Gym
Retirement & Stock Options Benefits
401(K)
401(K) Matching
Company Equity
Child Care & Parental Leave Benefits
Generous Parental Leave
Flexible Work Schedule
Vacation & Time Off Benefits
Unlimited Vacation Policy
Generous PTO
Paid Volunteer Time
Paid Holidays
Paid Sick Days
Perks & Discounts
Beer on Tap
Casual Dress
Commuter Benefits
Company Outings
Free Daily Meals
Game Room
Stocked Kitchen
Some Meals Provided
Happy Hours
Parking
Pet Friendly
Recreational Clubs
Professional Development Benefits
Job Training & Conferences
Tuition Reimbursement

Additional Perks + Benefits

People – the best part of Zest
Competitive salary and equity grants
Robust healthcare plans, matching 401K and unlimited vacation time
Dog friendly office with lounge areas, video games and gigantic jigsaw puzzles
On-site gym with employee run fitness classes
Generous family leave policy (6 month maternity leave/3 month paternity leave)
Tuition reimbursement, conference allowance and Zest talks
Complimentary massages, manicures, pedicures and more
Daily catered lunches from LA’s best restaurants and fully stocked kitchen

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