Northstar

< 10 Employees
< 10 Engineers
$2M - $5M Funding
Pre-Series A

Northstar’s mission is to build the objective, affordable financial advisor for everyone, not just the wealthy. Northstar's in-house Certified Financial Planners® give each person a custom financial plan, and our service implements your plan by budgeting and automatically moving money across your bank accounts — paying off debt, saving, and investing from a centralized place.


Why join us?
  • We've raised $3.4M from investors and advisors who have differentiated knowledge of the opportunity in the consumer fintech space. These include: RRE, Ludlow, Designer Fund, Combine, Scott Belsky (Adobe, Behance), Jonathan Swanson (Thumbtack), William Hockey (Plaid), Jake Gibson (Nerdwallet), Ryan Hoover (Product Hunt), Michelle Wilson (Amazon, Pinterest, Okta, Zendesk), Andy Dunn (Bonobos)

    Furthermore, our team has differentiated experience in this space.

    • Will Peng (co-founder, CEO): both a designer and former VC, General Partner at Red Swan Ventures (35+ investments including Warby, Coinbase, Oscar, Even, Guideline, Bread Finance, Jetty Insurance)

    • Matt Matteson (co-founder, CTO): Engineer #1 at Path from 0 to 10M DAUs, Lift behavior and goal tracking, Chain

    • Tony Kamenick (Director of Engineering): early Engineering Manager on Messenger at Facebook

    • Michael Wang (Head of Design): former Design Lead at Lyft (2017 Redesign; Transit), Facebook, Huge, former founder

    • Chris Pimpo (Director of Financial Planning): former Director of Financial Planning at LearnVest (acquired for $250M), grew the planning team from 4 to 40 planners. Previously at Vanguard and USAA.

  • One of our key distribution channels is that employers are offering Northstar as a benefit to their employees. Employees love Northstar, with 50% adoption within 3 months, and 70% use it every paycheck. We help employees understand and optimally utilize total compensation and rewards (including equity compensation), and map them to their personal life goals.

    Northstar is a member of PeopleTech, a network of HR leaders investing in the future of HR tech to support teams. In addition, advisors to Northstar include the VP of People at Thumbtack and the Global Head of People Ops at Palantir.

  • This is a foundational role. We're at an inflection point in the company's product-market fit relative to the impact you can have. It's an opportunity to make key decisions and have ownership over an entire part of the product and code, without the high risk of a completely new startup, because we have an existing business, customer base, and use cases. We're at a stage where there's a lot of exciting traction, but still early enough that you can meaningfully alter the trajectory.

  • There's never been this kind of access to a personal human financial expert (and in the future a whole team of types of financial experts), in your pocket. We're building a full stack, vertically integrated company, with in-house financial experts and tech for both sides of the experience.


Engineering at Northstar
Engineering team and processes

Northstar is a small engineering team where you can have a large impact and get your hands dirty on a spectrum of technologies. All engineers spin up review apps that are merged to production many times a day – even our iOS is on CI off master! Our process is lightweight to serve everyone and most often includes a weekly product meeting and design reviews. The review session to allows the team to give design and product input early in the product pipeline.

We believe the best products are built by people of multidisciplinary backgrounds. We don't force people into a silo; rather, we empower them to make the decisions that they think will create the best customer experience, and ask them to be a part of overall product and business decisions.

Technical Challenges

Northstar simplifies the best practices of personal finance by connecting and automating the countless financial products everyone uses — checking accounts, savings accounts, 401k and retirement accounts, student loans, credit cards, PayPal accounts, etc.

As a result, Northstar has both unique product/design and engineering challenges. There is a high level of complexity in data and third-party APIs, and it’s incredibly important that our product has fast performance and a user experience that is elegant and simple.

Projects you might work on
  • It’s possible for the first time to have both read and write (transfer) access on bank accounts, without getting an expensive and time-consuming bank charter. However, this also means that the APIs are still fragmented. So there’s a lot of interesting challenges around connecting disparate APIs together into a definitive intelligence layer. Oftentimes, data is imperfect, and so building a resilient system is challenging and rewarding. No one has yet integrated all types of bank transfers across all institutions: ACH, loan payments, bill payments, and transfers and control of brokerage, investing, and retirement accounts.

    We integrate with banking providers like Plaid, Dwolla, etc., and then clean and process the information to give our users confidence in the information we provide and their finances. Webhooks and callbacks are matching bills, initiating financial transfers, and keeping users and experts up to date with push notifications and chat messages. By syncing all financial data across institutions, our mission is to put the power and ownership of banking data and control back in the hands of the consumer.

  • The Northstar product so far has been a web-based experience. You will get to make important architectural decisions and work with modern technology across the stack. In addition, our iOS app is relatively new. Our iOS app is written in Swift and is using GraphQL to interact with the server. Each new feature can have you working across TypeScript, GraphQL, Heroku and Swift. You would get to push an idea to a polished production experience that you and your friends would be using in a weeks time.

    You’ll get to answer key questions about the product like: How is a mobile context different from web? How might we create behavior change? How might we keep information simple with a clear action, without overcomplicating with information overload?

  • In addition to building a consumer-facing product, the financial expert-facing product is also key to the Northstar vision of democratizing access to financial wellness. The two categories of expert-facing tools are: scaling and automating tasks that software does better and more efficiently, and augmentation of what human experts are uniquely good at. This is an area where there has been little innovation, and will be a key area of defensibility for us.

Tech stack
TypeScript
Swift
Ruby on Rails
GraphQL
React
Heroku
PostgreSQL
Ruby
JavaScript

Working at Northstar

We are a team of T-shaped individuals, specialists who can also wear many hats. We empower everyone to be autonomous and take ownership over their projects, and see the big picture. We assume best intent, and embody strong opinions, weakly held. We make an effort to get to know each other individually as people and friends, not just coworkers.

Generous Vacation

unlimited vacation, mandatory 2 week minimum

Beautiful Office

live/work 2-floor loft with tons of light and plants, roof deck, balcony

Work from Home
Health Insurance

100% covered, top of the line medical, dental, and vision insurance

Transportation

$100/mo commuter subsidy

Flexible Hours
401(k) Contribution

3% contribution regardless of your contribution amount, with access to low cost index funds

Other

free financial planning through Northstar

Maternal/Paternal Leave
Workshops/Conferences

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