Software Engineer


At Ello, our mission is to unlock the limitless potential within all children. We build learner-centered experiences, which put children on a path of lifelong learning, creating the foundation for their future and ours.

Our first product is an AI reading coach that listens to a child read from real books. It uses evidence-based reading instruction to help them when they get stuck and behavioral psychology to motivate them to keep going.

Reading is the gateway to learning but unfortunately, many children do not receive the individualized support they need to become confident, capable and engaged readers. This creates a cycle where they find reading frustrating and, by avoiding it, fall further behind.  Parents want to take action, but they don’t have the experience or time. Enter Ello, an expert coach that makes reading fun and breaks this cycle. 

Ello’s founders have dedicated their careers to pioneering child development at Stanford, Google, and their own successful startups. We were part of Y Combinator’s W20 batch and are backed by leading US and European VCs. 

We’re a small, collaborative team that takes each other’s voices very seriously. Because our mission is to support all children, it is critical that our team is representative of the wider community; we place significant emphasis on ensuring diversity in our team and inclusion in our culture.

We want to create an environment in which we can all be our best selves, use our strengths to take Ello forward, and develop our own skills. We want to have fun while working hard to do impactful things that we’re proud of – we believe it’s possible to do both.

About the Role

As a full-time software engineer on our team, you’ll work across our stack with a wide variety of tools that make Ello work as a product end-to-end. You’ll play a crucial role in defining our early software infrastructure and architecture choices. You should have a strong background in software engineering fundamentals as well as a track record of shipping real products. Ideally, you have several years of mobile, web, or game development experience.

You’re not religious about working in any one programming language. You’re comfortable working both with a modern JavaScript mobile/web stack and lower-level tools alike. You’ll be part of a team made up of web, mobile, and AI/ML engineers transitioning into more formal game development frameworks and you’ll play a critical part in that transition with us.

You love setting up infrastructure from scratch and are ready to dive into different parts of the platform. You like to follow good development practice and put a priority on making sure you and the rest of the team write well-maintainable code, but you’re enough of a hacker to move quickly when warranted.

You thrive working in a fast-paced early-stage environment. Most importantly, you’re excited about making an impact on child development at scale.

Required Experience

  • Mobile app development experience, ideally React Native, or alternatively native iOS (ObjC/Swift) and Android (Java/Kotlin)
  • Comfortable with multiple programming languages, including some lower-level ones (C/C++/C#) and the performance implications of the code you’re writing at a systems level
  • Basic full stack web development skills (preferably React, but any JavaScript framework will allow you to dive in)
  • Familiar with at least one scripting language (ideally Python or maybe Ruby)

Nice To Have

  • Game development experience using 2D and 3D frameworks such as Unity
  • Some experience managing web infrastructure on Google Cloud or AWS
  • Some familiarity managing database systems
  • Rudimentary design skills or some experience using basic design tools (Photoshop, Figma, Sketch)
  • Experience working with data-heavy applications
  • A basic understanding of machine learning systems or a background in applied mathematics and being comfortable with linear algebra
  • Experience writing high-performance, parallelized code
  • Experience managing business analytics from query to visualization

We look for candidates who

  • Communicate clearly
  • Take the initiative
  • Balance big-picture perspective with attention to detail
  • Take responsibility for their work
  • Are interested in the mission of Ello
  • Have something to teach us

Here are some reasons to join us

  • Be part of a new team with the chance to have a big voice
  • Do meaningful work supporting child development
  • Grow alongside an accomplished team
  • Own and build large features end-to-end
  • Make a big impact in a short time, by working on a consumer product with fast iteration cycles
Ello revolutionizes the way children learn to read by combining real books with AI technology and, in so doing, gives each child their own expert teacher. Ello uses evidence-based reading instruction to help them when they get stuck and behavioral psychology to motivate them to keep going. We believe books are the portal to lifelong learning, and when children make a personal connection with a real book their natural, joyful curiosity flourishes.