6 Local Companies With Big Product Ambitions in the New Year

These tech teams have grand plans for Q1 and are hiring now to transform industries from real estate to data analytics.
Written by Brigid Hogan
November 17, 2022Updated: December 19, 2022

Every year, just before midnight on December 31, revelers crowd the wharves, diners fill tables at Waterbar and Sens and the sky above the Embarcadero is lit with fireworks. As locals and tourists alike enjoy the annual spectacle, many will spend those 15 dramatic minutes reflecting on the year they leave behind while wondering what the new one will hold.

Some may be making resolutions or looking forward to exciting life events, while others — like leaders at six Bay Area tech companies — are ready to take on big challenges and ambitious goals. 

In industries including clean energy, real estate, internal company communications and data analytics, these companies are growing to support their most exciting 2023 projects. Built In SF learned more from the teams at Afresh, WeaveGrid, Ascend, Airbyte, Superhuman and Opendoor about what the future looks like for both their products and product-facing employees.


The team at Afreshfest


Megan Yang
Vice President of Product

What projects does Afresh have lined up for 2023?

We’re enhancing platform capabilities and pursuing a few major areas of growth within the fresh food technology space, which ultimately accelerates progress toward our mission to eliminate food waste and make fresh food accessible to all.

We are expanding our AI-powered solution into more fresh departments, including meat, seafood, deli, bakery and food service. It’s a pivotal way for our customers to embrace innovation and further improve their ability to operate efficiently and sustainably. We are also improving the vertical reach of our solutions across the fresh supply chain, which improves end-to-end operations, further streamlines data and platform maintenance and expands the value we drive for grocery retailers.

Through these initiatives and others, our user base is expected to double in 2023. As a company that’s dedicated to creating technology that ultimately delivers on our mission, expanding our footprint is a huge opportunity for us.


What makes these projects particularly interesting for product professionals to work on?

At Afresh, the products we build offer a truly innovative approach to improving key retail functions in fresh departments. The decisions grocers make play a critical role in global sustainability, yet they lack technology that drives efficiency and significantly cuts down on fresh food waste. We’re solving this systemic problem in grocery retail from the ground up by applying machine learning and UI design within a legacy industry. Fresh food is incredibly nuanced, so we spend time in stores and work closely with grocers to learn these nuances inherent to fresh food, see how our product should work in real life and build for all of the online-offline complexities of fresh retail operations.

At Afresh, our teams work closely and cross-functionally to gain true understanding of the problems we’re solving and build solutions with an incredible market fit. Product managers are fully empowered to craft and ship products that win in the real world. We’ve always prioritized user research and that’s been pivotal to our success since day one.

Working at Afresh offers an opportunity to build products that are wildly interesting.”


How is your team growing to help meet those goals?

We’re hiring an insights and reporting product leader to help establish a reporting suite that drives user behavior and guides strategies toward choices that reduce waste and improve the business impact of Afresh. This role requires deep research into our key market, experimentation and the ability to craft zero-to-one products that win.

We are also looking to hire a director of product who will guide the strategic leadership and product management of our store solutions suite — our flagship product area — to help scale our products into new stores and departments.

Additionally, we are hiring roles within our integrations platform team, which is the product group responsible for building the highly resilient, self-healing data integrations that power our ML predictions every night. These roles are critical to the health of our platform data, which calls for domain expertise, in-depth research and strong collaborations with our customers.



WeaveGrid's office


Kyle Garton
Head of Product

What projects does WeaveGrid have lined up for 2023?

WeaveGrid has an industry-leading approach to managing electric vehicle charging, and our customers are helping us continue to push the boundaries. There are a number of machine-learning-based forecasting and optimization enhancements planned for 2023 that will enable even more electric vehicles to charge with clean, reliable power. WeaveGrid’s unique technology approach enables a 360-degree view of EV charging, and we’ve only begun to scratch the surface of the insights that can be delivered with this rich data. Our team is working to rapidly deliver data analytics and insights to multiple stakeholders in this EV transition.

Platform scalability, reliability, security and privacy are non-negotiable. As WeaveGrid’s user base grows, our product will offer critical infrastructure to power system operations and the modern EV charging experience. Delivering unique value from a trusted provider has enabled spectacular user growth that continues to accelerate, and retaining that quality and trust is always top priority.

WeaveGrid works to solve the most important challenge of our time.”


What makes these projects particularly interesting for product professionals to work on?

The power grid, the transportation network and the internet are the biggest and most complex systems created. The clean energy transition is the most important challenge of our time. WeaveGrid works to solve that challenge while bridging the largest and most complex industries in the world every day.

The market is giant and quickly evolving. Everyone on the planet uses transportation and electricity, and we’ve just hit the inflection point of the electric vehicle adoption S-curve. New technology, personas and use cases arise constantly, and WeaveGrid is helping shape the sustainable future of e-mobility. I can’t imagine anything more exciting to work on.


How is your team growing to help meet those goals? 

WeaveGrid is actively hiring across all departments, including product.

Specifically, we are expecting to add nearly a dozen new teammates, including product managers with experience in enterprise SaaS, Internet of Things applications and data analytics, consumer and enterprise user experience designers, technical program managers familiar with cloud infrastructure, enterprise integrations, cybersecurity, industrial IoT and power systems and solutions architects familiar with with enterprise SaaS and power systems.



The Ascend team on a video call


What projects does Ascend’s product team have lined up for 2023?

As many companies battle with how to do more with less, our goal is to significantly extend the impact of automation for data teams, delivering new and innovative ways to help our customers with their very own innovations. Some of our most anticipated projects for the year include hybrid- and multi-cloud, significant investments in increased metadata collection and AI algorithms that can apply advanced optimizations based upon the deep understanding our technology already has of complex data pipelines. Ultimately, we want to make sure that we’re doing everything we can to stay ahead of the curve and provide value that exceeds our users’ expectations.

What makes these projects particularly interesting for product professionals to work on?

To start, each of these projects represents an opportunity to not only expand the company’s reach into existing technical domains but to also propel Ascend into even more industry-first innovations through automation. Secondly, they all call for complex solutions that go beyond the status quo — meaning that product professionals will need to think outside the box and come up with creative ideas that have never been tried before. Finally, all of these projects promise to be highly impactful for the company, our customers and our users.

We are looking for experts in data and software engineering, as well as product and product marketing.” 


How is your team growing to help meet those goals?

Our goal is to make sure that we have the right skill set to deliver on our ambitious plans for the year. The product team is nearly doubling in 2023 to help meet those goals. We are looking for experts in data and software engineering, as well as product and product marketing. Professional development opportunities include taking on and leading company transforming projects while collaborating with different teams.



Airbyte's team


Michel Tricot
Co-Founder & CEO

What projects does Airbyte have lined up for 2023?

At Airbyte, our mission is to make data available and actionable to everyone, everywhere. In order to achieve that mission, we are building the go-to operation platform that allows every organization to leverage all their data assets, no matter what the type or the use case, all while staying in compliance with internal restrictions or external regulation. In 2023, the Airbyte product team will focus on a few key projects. First connector extensibility — we are supporting the long tail of connectors by making it extremely easy to build a connector. The team will continue developing our low-code connector development kit and working alongside our community of 10,000 data engineers who are building Airbyte connectors for their needs. We will also be working on database replication in order to ensure fast and reliable data transfer from database sources.

We are also developing an API so companies can access data on behalf of their customers. Finally, we are developing hybrid deployments that support the ability for customers to run the data plane in their own infrastructure.

We want to make data movement painless for everyone, so that teams can focus on analyzing and activating their data.”


What makes these projects particularly interesting?

We are in an age of exponential data growth, and Airbyte is at the center. Almost every company is looking to make sense of more and more data, either to make better decisions through analytics or to become more efficient operationally.

In order to achieve these goals, companies need to create large data teams simply to make the data available and actionable internally. This is a long, complex and unreliable process. Unfortunately, there is no solution today that can properly address that pain and adapt to the custom needs of all these organizations. Within Airbyte, you can connect any source to any destination and move your data via our reliable pipelines. We are in a unique position given our open-source adoption and usage. Airbyte has been deployed more than 38,000 times, by more than 20,000 companies and has 2,000 daily active users. We also have a managed version of our product, Airbyte Cloud, which is designed for less technical users or people who don’t want to have to manage extract, load, transform (ELT) themselves. In the end, we want to make data movement painless for everyone, so that teams can focus on analyzing and activating their data.


How is your team growing to help meet those goals?

In 2023, we will grow our product team to support our growing engineering organization and to manage new product capabilities. We currently have a team of four product managers, and will expand the team based on usage growth and technical projects. Currently, we have one open role for a senior PM of databases to help us become the gold standard for database replication.



Justin Schafer
Product Lead

What projects does Superhuman have lined up for 2023?

Superhuman has exciting plans for the coming year. We focus solely on making people more productive and effective in collaborating and communicating, both individually and as teams. Until now, that’s been through email — the tool for communicating especially with people outside your organization. In 2023, we’re turning our attention to communication within an organization, and building the best possible collaboration experience we can fathom. 

It’s a packed space with plenty of big players, yet we are of the conviction we can do something unique and solve users’ most important challenges in a novel, delightful way.


In your opinion, what makes these projects particularly interesting, challenging or exciting for product professionals to work on?

Collaboration is everything for humanity — it’s how we accomplish any significant undertaking. Yet the tools we use to collaborate today hinder us from achieving our full potential. Considering the challenges and opportunities available to us, then seizing upon the most important and doing the best work of our lives is the day-to-day process on our product team. And because we’re Superhuman, people expect the best from us. This combination of an immensely important challenge and sky-high expectations are core ingredients for making magic. That’s just what we aim to do.


How is your team growing to help meet those goals?

We’ll be expanding the team over the course of the year to cover our similarly expanding product surface area. While it will likely be single digit growth on the product and design teams, as we are seeking to stay nimble in an unpredictable economic environment, we will grow as we conceive of new takes on chat, scheduling, tasks and beyond. 

What’s more, we believe it’s vital to keep teams small and ownership large so that every individual has significant scope. That forces prioritization and focus, and also serves to accelerate personal growth — the stuff we live for.



The OpenDoor San Francisco office


Angeline Vuong
Director, Product Management

What projects does Opendoor have lined up for 2023?

While we are largely known for our first product, which allows customers to sell their homes directly to Opendoor, we have built out a suite of products to serve customers at every point in the transaction, from selling to buying and everything in between. As a buyer team, our ambitions fit directly into Opendoor’s broader strategic goals to provide a seamless end-to-end experience.

As stewards of the Buy with Opendoor product experience, we’re focused on doing the basics, better, and constant innovation. As a broader consumer product organization, we focus on integrating our digital product experiences across our app and web channels to make it easier for customers to buy and sell all in one place. At Opendoor, we start and end with the customer, meaning we continuously build and invent to address evolving customer needs. For example, while we saw breakthrough growth with our cash offers launch — enabling buyers to make all cash offers on homes — we’re not resting. We are honing our feature set and testing new offerings to continue delivering unparalleled certainty and flexibility in the face of an ever-changing real estate market.

There’s no time to be complacent when it comes to product innovation.”


What makes these projects particularly interesting for product professionals to work on?

Real estate is one of the last frontiers of consumer experiences that technology has yet to radically improve — we’ve seen the digitization in industries like banking and retail, yet real estate is lacking. It’s a low frequency, high price point transaction, and likely the largest one in a person’s life. The stakes are high, with massive emotional and financial implications, and we take that seriously. That’s why we’ve been reimagining the home buying experience for five years. With many new challenges to tackle, there’s no time to be complacent when it comes to product innovation. 

In my opinion, real estate is the Mount Everest of e-commerce. If you can figure out how to build the trust to transact on a $300,000 home using an app, then any other product problem in the future is surmountable. There are few product experiences where you have such an interesting mix of technology, operations, digital and real-world implications. One day, you may be asking for a test budget related to debt financing and capital markets. And the next, you may be sitting in a house testing a lo-fi prototype with home visitors. It’s what keeps the work we’re doing exciting and unlike anything else


How is your team growing to help meet those goals?

Buyer is a cross-functional, highly collaborative group across engineering, product, operations and design. We have two teams. The Buyer Products team works on the core shopping, touring and offer experience for customers looking to buy a home. And the Opendoor Buy + Sell team works on creating a cohesive end-to-end experience for those looking to do both with Opendoor. 

We are growing the team to help us achieve our vision. One open role is for a product manager to build upon our MVP and set the long-term vision toward a beloved, high-quality experience. This is a great opportunity for a highly user-centric product manager looking to strike the balance between hands-on work, executing and shipping products and setting the strategy for the future of the product and where it can evolve. 

If you’re looking for chances to make some bold bets — and actually ship those bets — it’s an opportunity to work in a highly cross-functional environment where product is more than software and you'll have the space to do good work with smart yet ego-free folks. We are also looking for talented people across different areas, so please check out all of our open roles.  


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