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Few&Far Employer Spotlight: ZOE

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What does healthy nutrition look like?

Is it completely cutting sugar, meat, or gluten from your diet?

ZOE’s Founders George, Tim and Jonathan identified that generic nutrition advice is simply not working. 

Their journey started 25 years ago, when Tim started his study of 13,000 twins, looking at genes, gut microbes and lifestyle. It surprised him to discover that even identical twins, who share all their genes, have very different responses to the same foods. So there is no one right way to eat - the key lies in understanding your own biology.

Three years ago, a personalised nutrition startup ZOE was born.

ZOE uses groundbreaking technology and industry experts to understand how our bodies work internally. Now it’s our turn to get an insight into how ZOE works behind the scenes.

At Few&Far, we’re helping ZOE, to find talent to expand their growing tech team.  

We’re currently hiring for the following roles:

About ZOE

ZOE’s mission is to enable people to live healthier and happier lives by helping them to understand and optimise their responses to food. 

The company is combining scientific research, cutting-edge AI and the most advanced science available to help you understand how your body works so you can reduce dietary inflammation and improve your gut health naturally.

Their engineering, data science, biology, and nutrition science expertise has led to multiple break-through papers in leading scientific journals, including Nature Medicine.

ZOE’s vision is a world where everyone can take control of their health by understanding their unique biology.

IN CONVERSATION WITH MARKOS - VP PRODUCT AT ZOE

There are few people that venture straight into product management in their career. Markos Tsirekas is one of them. 

After building mobile apps as a student, his career began at eBay where he managed teams across the EU. Following this, he joined the media group Schibsted where he built a brand new ad booking platform that was used by thousands of customers.  

Markos then explored the entrepreneurial road and joined Reach Plc as an Entrepreneur in Residence where he advised the board on the NPD strategy and built a contextual advertising engine. He founded one of the UK’s largest therapy marketplaces - TimeWith. TimeWith connected people to therapists and used a SaaS payment and booking solution. This venture in health and wellness sparked a real passion for the space.

In 2021, Markos joined ZOE to help them find the product-market fit. Today, ZOE is proud to call him their VP of Product.

We spoke to him to find out more about working in Product at ZOE and why you should consider joining too.

1. Why did you decide to join ZOE?

I am fascinated by consumer businesses and health technology. And ZOE is brilliant at both. For me, it’s a dream job. I have a lot of data to look at, complicated questions to answer and a very noble mission, which is both ambitious and exciting. Even though I’ve been here for a year, the company continues to impress me every day. 

Here are three main reasons I love working here:

At ZOE, impossible is nothing. As soon as I met the founders, I knew ZOE was the perfect next step for me. When George and Jonathan first came up with the idea, the premise was that a few outsiders, with no knowledge of nutrition, wanted to run the largest nutritional study. Everyone told them it was impossible. They did it within a year.

There has never been a business model quite like this. The era of fad diets is behind us. ZOE is leading the personalised nutrition revolution. We’re helping our customers sustainably combat weight and health challenges, while setting the stage for AI to help them choose foods that work best for their biology. Our top priority is to continue to offer value throughout their journey with us. 

Our academic board, colleagues and leaders are experts in product and science, working with the most prestigious institutions (Massachusetts General Hospital, Stanford Medicine, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and King’s College London), and we are always reinventing our business model.

ZOE has increased 10x the scale of academic studies by thinking from first principles. Why is academic research on this scale so hard? What is it that is costly and how can we reduce costs whilst maintaining quality? Finally, how can we bring utility out of research so that the entire world can benefit? 

To do things which are perceived as hard, we think about the problem space from first principles. ZOE blended software engineering, the agility of a startup and the operational expertise of its savvy team, and brought together a panel of world renowned scientists. 

It was a pure demonstration of outside-of-the-box-thinking. It increased the scale of academic studies whilst running all this at a fraction of the cost.  

2. What are your current goals and most exciting problems you are solving?

We are building the most advanced, holistic and personalised nutritional program to help everyone to improve their gut and metabolic health. Our program combines state-of-the-art science teaching you what foods work for your body, while giving access to a top tier nutrition team on demand.

Generic nutrition advice simply isn’t working. Diabetes, heart disease and other chronic health problems are not improving. The problem is that we are all treated the same. But in reality, all our bodies are all very different.

We want to ​​help people discover exactly how their body works by having our expert science and engineering teams' knowledge at everyone's fingertips. It's about helping people optimise their gut and metabolic health by being in sync with their body without restricting themselves.

To do this, we need to excel at two things:

  1. Push the boundaries of scientific knowledge by combining data science and groundbreaking nutrition science
  2. Create a framework to encourage people to adopt new habits and take control of their health.

Both are very hard goals and I expect will keep us busy for the foreseeable future!

3. Why is ZOE the place to be for Product Managers?

As a Product Manager at ZOE, you’re not optimising or maintaining a product, but building it from scratch. Everything you’re doing has a deep operational impact. The complexity of the problems is unparalleled because we're running a very tight consumer operation.

We’re highly aligned yet loosely coupled, which means that you have an opportunity to act as an owner and have a high degree of autonomy. With that being said, your talent and hard work will always be encouraged and rewarded. 

Our team is hungry and ambitious - we’re doing things our way and treading uncharted territories. In 2021, Wired Magazine voted us The Best Startup in London. The company’s vision to solve nutrition at scale led us to reinvent a branch of nutrition science. ZOE ran the world's largest community science project for symptoms of COVID-19 and related health issues, with over 4 million contributors globally.

If you want to join a growth stage company that centres on business model innovation, this is a place for you. Product managers who are fluent in data and care to craft world-class consumer experiences will feel right at home here. 

There are very few places which combine quality, consumer focus, scale and data, and ZOE is one of them. 

4. Where do you see the company going in the next few years?

Healthcare is changing. We have a real opportunity to change preventive medicine and use technology as an early warning device to spot health issues faster than ever before.

Our goal is nothing less than to improve health globally. Everyone has the right to understand their body. 

We will continuously use innovative digital technologies that can enable scientific research at an unrivalled depth and scale. To get there, we’ll go through two phases: 

Phase 1 - We are building the best nutrition program to help people get to their best gut and metabolic health. 

Phase 2 - We will expand our line of products to address the organic series or requests we are getting from our customers, leading the way for a ZOE ecosystem of products and services. 

Eventually, using the data and insights we have accumulated, we see ZOE as a global platform for helping people reclaim a wider variety of health issues

LIFE AT ZOE

At ZOE, the team will dare you to think, challenge you to innovate, push you to succeed. The company makes 4 promises to all their employees:

Have a Voice: Your opinion matters and it will be heard. Your thoughts help shape the product and culture. Your ideas inspire and we welcome them with pride.

Allowed to Fail: You have a safe environment to fail, so long as you learn and grow. Try new tools and technologies or test out ideas that you've always dreamt about.

Be Recognized: Your hard efforts will be noticed here. ZOE loves giving credit where it's due and celebrating with their team. Everyone will know about the impact you've made.

Zero Micromanagement: You are given the autonomy to innovate and explore. You can take ownership of your work and will be empowered to shape the future of ZOE.

ZOE’S TOP PERKS & BENEFITS

ZOE is committed to keeping a happy, healthy team and has 20+ benefits to offer. 


Here’s just a few:

Flexible working- They don't clock watch. This is a remote-first culture with flexible working hours. Everyone operates from a place of trust and autonomy.

Generous equity package- Eligible employees can have stock options in ZOE.

Health insurance- Zoe’s UK employees, their partners and dependents have access to the SmartHealth app. This includes 24/7 GP service, nutrition consultations, mental health support

Competitive Holiday Entitlements- The team works hard, but they encourage you to take regular breaks and have some much needed time off. Don't worry, they’ve got your back.

YuLife Health & Wellbeing App: Benefit from rewards for simple activities like walking or meditating through a gamified approach to health & wellbeing. The company has a ZOE leaderboard, which you can opt into if you enjoy a good competition.

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