Introduce yourself, what do you do for Kargo?
My name is Rodrigo, and I recently joined Kargo about a month ago as a manufacturing engineer. Right now, because the team is still growing, I’m handling all of the physical content of the computer vision tower we are building. I am managing all of the suppliers and design firms for all of the components, as well as guiding them through all of our specifications and requirements. I’m working on building a system architecture based on our customers’ needs.
What’s your favorite part of working at Kargo?
It’s exciting to start at the early stages of development. We have a system right now that is deployed at one of our main customers, but that system is just a reference. We are trying to create something real and manufacturable. Having the opportunity to be here from the beginning, and having an input in all of these decisions, that’s really cool. Giving me that ownership from the beginning, saying “this is our system, this is our idea, bring this along and make this manufacturable, scalable, and a system that works and fulfills the need of the company and the customers,” it’s an awesome job.
What do you think differentiates Kargo from other startups?
The team. I always thought before coming to the Bay Area — this is where all of the companies hire, this is where all the technical expertise is. I’ve seen that to an extent at my previous companies in the Bay Area, but at the same time, there weren’t people up to the level that I was expecting. I found that everyone here at Kargo is top-level. Really capable. That’s because at other companies they are not focusing so much on the team itself, but on the growth of the company, but here we are focusing on both in parallel. We are making sure that the people hired here not only fulfill their role, but also bring a lot to the company. It’s the team that makes Kargo a better place to be. The potential of our system is huge, but it’s up to us, the team, that’s going to make that happen.
I know Sam (our founder) always talks about getting the right people on the bus first, and then driving the bus.
Exactly. That’s what we do here.
What’s your story for joining Kargo? Why did you decide to join?
I was recently in a very large company, about 1,700 people, and due to covid the company hit financial issues, so I was briefly laid off before working for another startup. This startup had a different concept, but had a similar environment. After working there for a while, talking to the team at Kargo really caught my attention — what Kargo was trying to achieve, their expertise, and what they had accomplished so far. I wasn’t really planning on moving — I was in a comfortable position, a comfortable role, but when the opportunity came along, the team really captivated me. The idea of moving to San Francisco, to a cool office, and to a cool team, that was the push forward I needed.
How would you describe Kargo’s company culture?
With one word: Awesome. If I had to dig a little bit deeper, I would say all of the team members are focused on moving the product forward, but without losing attention on the personal side. We eat lunch together, and we have time to disconnect from work from time to time and talk about topics that are not work-related.
I also think having a daily standup meeting with the whole team where you can actually see what each team member is working on — and you may not completely understand what it is they are working on — is a great way to keep pushing forward and understand what everyone else is bringing to the table. It makes you not necessarily focus more or work harder, but it makes you want to achieve your goals and update everyone, and if things are not working out, get help.
Where do you see Kargo in 6 months? A year? 3 years?
In six months, I see Kargo as pre-production with 10+ big customers with towers deployed. Every customer is going to have their particularities — not all warehouses are the same. Between six months and one year, we’re going to have the data to begin scaling. In three years, the opportunities are gigantic, not just with this product, but having this product be the first step to move forward. Argus will be our signature product, but once we are very comfortable and well established, our customers will come to us and say, “Hey your product is awesome, can you help us with this?” And that’s where I see Kargo in three years.
What would you say to prospective candidates?
I would say try it. It doesn’t hurt to talk to other people and learn new things. Even if you want to start the (interview) process just to see what we are about, and to look and to say, “These guys look legit actually, it’s not just a front,” that’s great. We are looking for people with different backgrounds and expertise to bring something to the team. If you think that sounds like you, we are growing fast and very open to bringing you in.