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My work life: Slavo

Slavo Ingilizov has worked at Zopa since 2014

Head of System Architecture and Integration, Slavo Ingilizov, on his experience at Zopa and his career moves so far.

When I was younger, I wanted to be…

I think I had all typical boy dreams – airplane pilot, astronaut, a race car driver.

I got into tech because…

My dad was an electronics engineer and brought home our first PC when I was around seven.

This was Bulgaria shortly after the fall of communism, so we had these locally made computers which were compatible with IBM PC. Windows hadn’t come out yet, so this was all command-line green-on-black stuff. He showed me how to use it and play games on it. My favourite was a game called Digger. It blew my mind. That’s when I knew tech was the path for me. I’ve been dealing with tech in some shape or form ever since.

My route into Zopa was…

I graduated in computer science and worked as a software developer. My previous company grew from 70 people to 650 by the time I left. I loved working for a fast-growing business.

Zopa was another opportunity to solve customer problems with tech and I jumped on it. It has delivered on the promise. 

I started out…

In 2014 as a developer in a team of seven others (two of us joined the same day, so a 40% increase!), at that point the whole company was around 40-50 people.

After leading the Platform team (the team which looks after, I became the Investors Tribe Lead. It was an exciting time – we launched the revamped Investment products and our IFISA. It was especially exciting learning how to lead a team and drive the product forward.

I then moved into my current role to look after system architecture and integration. This is a lot broader as I now work daily with so many more teams. I also manage our bank build programme.

A few of the questions I’m trying to answer are: how do our systems integrate with each other? How do we test them? How can we reuse and share functionality that is common across all products? How do we scale our platform and where do we want to take it next?

In my spare time I like to…

My go-to way of letting off steam is going to rock/metal gigs. London’s great for it. I often browse the vinyl shops trying to discover new music too.

I’m generally a geek and like all kinds of geeky stuff. Board games is another big one for me and I do that with friends out of work, but I’ve also played quite a bit with my friends at Zopa.

Zopa has supported my career through…

Zopa has given me the opportunity to move through many different roles, even if I didn’t have the experience required from day one. I love that and I feel like I’ve learned a lot here. I’m exposed to situations in which I keep learning.

Building a bank is fun, but also complicated and challenging. Being part of that process has changed how I tackle problems and think about them.

What enables us to learn and grow is exposure to many different people with diverse ways of thinking, and having to respond when situations put you outside of your comfort zone.

The culture at Zopa is….

Though Zopa has changed a lot since I joined, there are two things which have always been at the core of our culture.

Our ability to change is something we’ve managed to preserve. We don’t shy away from difficult decisions, even if it means changing how we work. This is amazing and I feel that’s the reason I’ve stayed so long – I would be really bored and annoyed in a company which refuses to change.

The second trait I see is our focus on customers. I’ve been in so many situations where we choose the fair thing to do. Keeping that attitude is what makes a difference at the end of the day.