Rob Fonseca-Ensor recently joined the team at Auror in January.
My name’s Rob, and I’ve just started leading the Engineering team at Auror.
I don’t normally blog these days; my role is somewhat more behind-the-scenes, working to build the technology that makes our platform run. But all the things I’ve seen and done here over the past month and a half (and all the even more exciting technical challenges we’ll be working on in the months ahead) made me want to share some perspective on what it’s like to work here.
I think this is an awesome place to work. You should come join us.
Until Christmas last year, I was working at another NZ startup. I really liked working there too; it was exciting being in a technology company that was undergoing ‘hyper’ growth—a real rocket ship. When I started there, I was the sixth engineer. Now they have closer to 50. Being there from the early stages meant I got to learn many things in many areas, and be thrown in the deep end with team leadership.
I’m convinced Auror is primed for a similar trajectory, and I’m really looking forward to being able to apply what I’ve learned somewhere new. I’m really excited to be here. This is a company with a lot of potential—not just as a successful business venture, but with the potential to make communities around the world better, safer places. Opportunities to work at a mission-driven company like this are rare. We’re not just building an app; we’re changing the world.
As a way to help me understand the product and our customers, I spent my first week here on the Customer Success desk with Becky and Ellen. I spent time helping customers with traditional ‘tech support’ type issues, but more importantly, I got to see why they’re called Customer Success and not Customer Support.
Auror isn’t a product where we write some software, give customers access to it, and leave it at that. Our CS team is actively engaged helping customers, or crimefighters as we call them, “connect the dots” on crime. They work with Police and retailers, making sure they’ve got the best intel they can get, and help turn that into real outcomes that make our communities safer.
Then Ellen took me to meet some customers. I saw how Auror is used by petrol station staff, retail security, and the NZ Police. To me, this is one of the key value propositions of Auror: linking together the data from these very different organisations, and making the right intelligence available to the right people at the right time in order to prevent and solve crime.
Fostering better engagement is so important, because the data inputs from our community help feed a Data Network Effect across the platform. The more data and intel that gets input, the better the outcomes for the community. And the better the outcomes, the more incentivised the community is to add even more intel to the platform. The cycle quickly becomes self-perpetuating, and brings crimefighters together with a shared sense of purpose and success.
Another thing I love about working at Auror is the office culture:
- There’s two very well-trained dogs who will gladly accept pats any time you need to clear your head.
- There’s a birthday cake baking roster!
- People here are always cooking cool lunches for the whole office.
- Management is really supportive. They’re really good at getting you the tools you need to do your job, listening to your problems, trusting you to do your job and keeping a really positive impetus going for the office. I’ve been really impressed by how hard they are trying to stay ahead of the curve and keeping an eye on what other startups are doing.
Fast forward to the present, where we’re spending lots of time looking at where we (and our customers) want to evolve our platform, and trying to figure out how to get there. We’ve identified a few really key items for our roadmap:
- Improved sharing rules: Collaboration between customers is a really key feature of Auror. The access controls and features we’ve got in place now aren’t quite as flexible as we need them to be. We’re currently validating a new approach to sharing intel in Auror that should prove to be much more useful to our current customers, as well as new types of customers in the future.
- Flexible data concepts: Right now, there are a few key types of data that can be recorded. We want to be able to capture more types of intelligence in our platform. Once again, we think that by simplifying the conceptual model of what’s in Auror, we can actually gain a lot of flexibility. This too will add value for our customers (who will be able to enter more intel into the platform) as well as track new kinds of crime.
- Machine Learning: The core of our business is turning data into insights. Simple insights are generated by machines, but right now all the best ones come from people. The more we can delegate to software, the more time people will have to come up with deep and novel insights on how to stop crime.
All of this is going to take quite a bit of work. There’s a lot of code to write, and I’m currently looking for people to help us do this.
We’re still a scrappy, agile startup, so I’m really keen to find entrepreneurial developers that want to understand and solve customer problems just as much as they want to write elegant and functional code. Technologically, we’re using a pretty standard .NET core stack with React and Typescript on the front end. We’re also looking for UX, Design, QA and Product skills to help us scale up the product.
Be a crimefighter. Join our team today.