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We are an Innovation Lab operating within The Home Depot, finding competitive edges with software and analytics

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Who We Are & What We Do

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We Are

A polyglot team combining science with engineering, lean and experimental, and autonomous from the big orange mothership.

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We Are

Engineers, analysts and scientists, looking for high leverage problems and attacking them with the freedom to take risks.

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We Are

A small team with little hierarchy so everyone has an opportunity to make an impact.

We were a successful startup before we were acquired by The Home Depot, but our culture hasn't changed. And now that we no longer have to support a sales team or maintain multiple customer applications, we get to focus all of our research, analytics and engineering effort on solving hard problems, with no other distractions.

Located in the heart of downtown Austin with garage parking provided, our light-filled office features a kitchen stocked with healthy snacks from Whole Foods and an automated espresso maker that does everything but drink it for you.

Meet The Team

Xingchu Xingchu
Xingchu Liu General Manager
"Everything that can be invented has been invented." - Charles H. Duell, Commissioner of the U.S. Patent Office, 1899

Xingchu seeks ways to optimize things using analytical approach. With over 10 years of research and consulting experience in revenue/pricing optimization, supply chain management, business intelligence solution, and digital marketing, he has a proven record of consistently delivering 5-15% profit lift dollars to a variety of businesses. Xingchu received two undergraduate degrees in Automation and Business Administration, one master’s degree in Control Engineering from Tsinghua University, and earned his PhD in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research at Texas A&M University. He holds a number of patents and applications in pricing and analytics field.

Dave Dave
Dave Ruback Sr. Manager, Product and Program Management
"Why join the navy if you can be a pirate?" - Steve Jobs

Dave is a retail and startup junkie. He has spent his 9 year career in the retail space helping make sense out of the dollars and cents. Dave has worked on both sides of the retail technology table: Leading an IT team for an apparel retailer and working in product management for a SaaS based internet marketing company. Before Dave started working in retail he attended The University of Virginia, where he earned a BS in Electrical Engineering.

When Dave isn't innovating for The Home Depot, he enjoys spending time with his wife and 2 kids, building custom furniture, and watching any of his favorite New York sports teams.

Kellie Kellie
Kellie O’Malley Operations & Talent Acquisition Manager
"Well done is better than well said" - Benjamin Franklin

Kellie is passionate about making an impact, solving problems and building world-class teams. Starting with Trilogy in 1998, Kellie has worked with a number of start-ups, including Lombardi, MessageOne, and Vast. Her roles are broad, and she has worn multiple hats from Sales Operations, to Special Project Manager, to Director of Human Resources. Addicted to the entrepreneurial nature of start-ups, she continues to be spoiled by working with the best and the brightest. At BlackLocus, she has yet to be a serious threat at ping pong.

Kim Kim
Kim Carlson Sr. Manager Customer Success
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough." — Albert Einstein

Customer Success Guru, Support Community Manager, and Technology Evangelist, are the many hats that Kim wears. With a talent for quickly mastering technology and explaining how it works to the masses, she is dedicated to the success and support of both internal and external customers alike. Kim has worked for a major airline and software companies big and small, however, one thing remains the same, her ability to connect the dots for both customer and company. Kim has a music degree from the University of Wisconsin which makes her a ringer on karaoke night. She is also a fan of all things Trek - from Star Trek to Trek bikes. When she is not riding her bike, her next favorite thing is helping customers to live long and prosper.

Pavan Pavan
Pavan Mallapragada Principal Scientist
"Big data is anything that is crash excel." - @devopsborat

Pavan is the Principal Scientist in Machine Learning at BlackLocus. When not playing ping pong at work, he enjoys finding and solving challenging big data and machine learning problems. He has been developing machine learning algorithms and systems for over 10 years, and enjoys coding as much as working with modeling and theory. He obtained his PhD in machine learning from Michigan State University. Prior to joining BlackLocus, he was a postdoctoral associate at the Center for Biological & Computational Learning at MIT.

Outside of work, Pavan enjoys hiking, playing guitar, watching movies, and searching for extraterrestrials with his telescope. He is trying to synchronize his trollability index with rest of the team.

Henk Henk
Henk Jan Wassenaar Manager, Data Analytics and Research
"If all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail."

Henk Jan (HJ) has more than 10 years of research and consulting experience in demand modeling, vehicle incentive analysis and price optimization. HJ holds a graduate degree in Mechanical Engineering from Delft University of Technology and a PhD in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research from University of Illinois at Chicago where he contributed to the development of Decision-Based Design. Originally from the Netherlands (Hup Oranje!), HJ enjoys spending his free time with his wife, dog, and friends.

Ray Ray
Ray Holder Sr. Technical Lead

Ray has been writing code and hacking on embedded hardware devices for over a decade. He's delivered high performance search solutions, continuous integration, content management, data normalization, and development platform tooling to a variety of companies including a health and wellness solutions provider, a top-tier video game publisher, a prominent public television broadcasting corporation, one of the world’s largest oncology care entities, and a Fortune 500 retailer.

Ray attended Baylor University for his BS and MS in Computer Science. When he's not building flying robot prototypes or Tesla coils, he's probably releasing Open Source goodies, so check out his GitHub page over at

Chad Chad
Chad Bayer Development Manager
"Seek first to understand, and then be understood."

Chad is a lifelong learner of all the things, except writing introductions. He brings years of experience from various semiconductor and software companies around Texas. Chad has many interests including software development, automation, continuous improvement, team cohesion, and problem solving. He believes work and life can be fun and efficient and strives to make each day so. Chad really enjoys working at BlackLocus and looks forward to continue moving the needle here.

In his free time, he enjoys researching whatever suits his mood, which usually involves medicine and technology. He also enjoys doing anything and everything with his lovely wife and two dogs.

Rees Rees
Rees Dooley Sr. Software Engineer
"Either mathematics is too big for the human mind or the human mind is more than a machine." - Kurt Gödel

Rees graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a BS in Mathematics and began his career at Chesapeake Energy. After fleeing the energy industry he began python programming full time at Demand Media before landing at Blacklocus. He enjoys breaking things, fixing what he breaks and then discovering a clever solution to the whole issue.

In his free time Rees enjoys grand strategy games, ancient military history and weightlifting.

Emma Emma
Li (Emma) Zhang Machine Learning Scientist
"The mind that opens to a new idea never returns to its original size." - Albert Einstein

Emma has developed open-source academic software for robot simulation and learned the magic of machine learning from controlling robots to perform grasping. She comes to BlackLocus to embrace the opportunity of writing "intelligent" software to solve real-world business problems. She received her undergraduate and master degrees from Northwestern Polytechnical University in China and earned her Ph.D. degree in Computer Science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY.

Knowledge-acquiring and problem-solving have been her important sources of fun in everyday life. When not exercising the brain, Emma enjoys hiking, kayaking in Zilker Park and snorkeling with sea turtles during vacation, or just having fun with her cat.

Megan Megan
Megan Galloway Technical Lead and Sr. Word Wizard
"Contrariwise, if it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn't, it ain't. That's logic."

Megan likes playing with words just as much as playing with code. She's currently working on her M.S. in Computational Linguistics, because in a past life she wrote credit card software for a major bank and got really, really bored. When she's not trying to take over the world, Megan likes playing tabletop RPG's and bass guitar.

Erin Erin
Erin Waldrum Data Scientist

After years of focusing on making sure data was always available and quickly accessible, Erin joined BlackLocus to expand her data skill set to include a deeper capacity for analysis. She enjoys a challenge and believes that simplifying a problem is the first step to solving it. Erin loves her hometown of New Orleans, but has become too captivated with the Austin startup scene to move back. In addition to data, Erin's passions include wine tasting, travel, and wiener dog races.

Kayla Kayla
Kayla Reynolds Data Scientist
"An approximate answer to the right problem is worth a good deal more than an exact answer to an approximate problem." - John Tukey

Kayla is a graduate of Rice University and has a M.S. in Statistics from UT. She likes to rout out new problems to analyze and solve and is excited to continue working in machine learning. She firmly believes that data is beautiful -- so long as it's not in a pie chart.

Outside of the office, Kayla can be found out with her dog, at the nearest movie theater, or with her latest craft project.

Brent Brent
Brent Knight Sr. Software Engineer

Brent spent 15 years at Apple, writing low-level system software. If you have a Mac or an iPhone, you’re running some of his code. Joining Apple was his escape route from Cornell’s Computer Science PhD program. Although he didn’t get a degree there, he does have a BSc in Computer Science from the University of Alberta, and an MSc in Computer Science from the University of Victoria. He likes clever solutions and would someday like to work smarter rather than harder.

In his spare time, Brent is trying to complete a double-major degree in Medicine and Russian Nuclear Submarines from Wikipedia. This is taking longer than expected. But with 3 kids there is never a dull moment!

Karlie Karlie
Karlie Verkest Development Manager
"It's not worth doing something unless you were doing something that someone, somewhere, would much rather you weren't doing." - Terry Pratchet

Karlie loves to code. She gets an endorphin high from writing beautiful code for software that meets a human need. What else is so mentally stimulating, creatively satisfying and instantly gratifying? With the myriad of electronic devices in a world of ubiquitous computing, she thinks it is now more important than ever to consider both the human and the hardware as critical parts of a system and optimize accordingly. The result should be a fast, reliable, simple and enjoyable product that solves the right problem. To that end, she enjoys front-end development as well as designing APIs and backend systems. Internationalization (or should that be internationalisation?) is one of her recent interests.

When she's not working or coding for fun, she's either hanging out with the objectively cutest son the planet has ever accommodated or practicing belly dance.

Alex Alex
Alex Robinson Sr. Product Manager
You can observe a lot just by watching. — Yogi Berra

Alex is passionate about product design and believes well designed and executed products can improve people's everyday lives and make businesses run better. He has over 10 years in the software industry as both a UX designer and product manager. Alex holds a BA in Communication from the University of Pennsylvania and a Masters of graphic design from Centro Studi in Rome Italy.

When he can find waves—easier said then done in Austin, TX—Alex can be found out in the ocean on a surfboard.

Karlie Karlie
Kate Lockhart Product Manager
"Putting things off is the biggest waste of life: it snatches away each day as it comes, and denies us the present by promising the future. " — Seneca

With a degree in psychology combined with computer science, Kate has enjoyed the start up scene in Austin for the last five years. From mobile apps to video streaming, she found her way to BlackLocus to focus on Product Management. She truly believes in the lean philosophy of building and has found agile methodologies not only work well, but encourage a team spirit that can make a product shine.

Her spare time is spent writing, learning Python and piano, and chasing two small children around taco shops and bouncy houses all over ATX.

Shela Shela
Shela Xu UX Designer

Shela has a passion for solving problems through design and an eagerness to make people’s lives easier. She loves all facets of design, whether it's brainstorming with pen and paper, getting deep into the mind of a user, or whipping up HTML/CSS prototypes on the fly. Prior to working at BlackLocus, Shela had been writing HTML/CSS for over 10 years in some capacity, running her own online zine at 14.

Outside of work you can find Shela at a music festival, trying a new restaurant, enjoying a bourbon cocktail, or making dessert.. often with more bourbon.

Jordan Jordan
Jordan Rule Sr. Software Engineer

Jordan spent years architecting risk management systems after receiving a bachelors in Computer Science from Rice University and a masters in Financial Mathematics from the University of Chicago. With encouragement to think even bigger, he has recently been engineering services with applications to data science and distributed systems. Jordan enjoys developing software that is fun to demonstrate and simple to explain.

In his free time he is probably either looking for excuses to sample new foods or trying to keep up with the latest in independent music.

Mario Mario
Mario Blanco Sr. Software Engineer
"If you really want to make a friend, go to someone's house and eat with them... the people who give you their food give you their heart." — Cesar Chavez

Mario was born and raised in San Jose, Costa Rica. After high school in Costa Rica, he moved to Des Moines, IA to live with his sisters. While in Iowa, he taught himself English, earned an internship at Pioneer HiBred, a DuPont Co and graduated from Iowa State University with a BS in Management Information Systems. His internship and studies at ISU lead him to love all things UI/UX. Mario moved to Austin in 2006 to further his career at IBM and then Vignette. He is a skilled software engineer and thrives in BlackLocus' collaborative team environment.

When Mario is not working, he enjoys playing with his two young girls and cooking delicious food for the family. And if there’s time after all that, you will find him on the golf course or soccer field.

Brandon Brandon2
Brandon Clark Sr. UX Engineer
"I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully." — George W. Bush

As a child, Brandon had an annoying habit of taking things apart just to put them back together again. Who would have thought this would have turned into a career? Deconstructing wireframes and user stories and building them into meaningful UI's is his passion. From interaction design to user experience implementation, Brandon has built his career on understanding how and why users interact with software. Brandon has been working within the User Experience space of development for over 6 years, from building large scale ecommerce platforms, to building stock trading applications, he has seen it all.

When his nose is not buried in code, you can find Brandon stuffing his face at some new restuarant, or attempting to exercise in the park because he spent the night before stuffing his face. He can also be found reading a book, playing guitar, or dancing wildly at a local music show.

Karen Karen
Karen Lewis Software Engineer

Karen is a determined individual who took a non-traditional path into software engineering. While working in the hospitality industry as a reservations coordinator, she wondered if her innate ability to solve puzzles and the fun she had building a computer would serve her in a career where she thought she would excel. She had the opportunity to study CS fundamentals on her own while living in Japan during 2013-2014, and after completing MakerSquare, an intense, immersive software engineering program, she emerged as a full stack JavaScript butterfly-er, developer.

She can talk for a while about Japan, Myst, and James Bond theme songs.

Rick Rick
Rick Lakin Data Scientist

Rick graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a BS in Mathematics and an MS in Statistics. He spent the first three years of his career building price optimization models for a number of clients. He likes coming up with solutions that the end user can understand and appreciate.

Outside of work, Rick is probably thinking about traveling or the next meal.

Lee Lee2
Lee Reynolds Data Quality Analyst

Lee was born in Austin, raised in Austin, and is currently living in, you guessed it, Austin. He ran away for four years to pursue a B.A in Finance from Ole Miss (University of Mississippi) but was pulled home after graduation to work for an Oil & Gas intelligence firm. He joined BlackLocus to gain experience using big data applications and for the assortment of free cookies. Lee’s second home is located in MySQL.

Abigail Abigail2
Abigail Bialk UX Designer

Abigail was born in Chicago, raised in Milwaukee, and went to college in Minneapolis so her accent is a little Blues Brothers meets Fargo. She now resides in Austin, Texas where she mainly just eats tacos, drinks coffee/beer, and bikes around the city. But when she’s not being the stereotype of a designer, she's out kicking ass on the tennis court.

At work, Abigail has a passion for user research and storytelling which drives her to put the user first and convinces everyone else why they should too.

Sarah Sarah2
Sarah Eshelman Technical Writer
"Be careful what you wish for, because it probably won't come true and life is mostly about expectation management."

Sarah loves multi-tasking, connecting people, and schadenfreude. She's spent most of her career creating cool videos for marketing and training. Shes's also a huge beer nerd and started a MeetUp for women that like craft beer.

Sarah lives with her three Favorites: her husband, her bike, and a silly ball python named Brettanomyces.

Farah Farah2
Farah Maredia Software Engineer

Originally from Houston, Farah made the move to Austin in 2009. She was first exposed to code at a young age when she wanted to find a way to showcase her digital artwork online. She rediscovered her love of code while obtaining her M.A. in Asian Studies.

When her nose isn’t buried in a book, Farah spends her remaining free time pursuing her art, learning languages and diving into new hobbies. Her interests include architecture, Indo-Persian poetry and ASOIAF.

Blake Blake2
Blake Gilstrap Software Engineer

Raised in a tiny West Texas town you've never heard of, Blake had plenty of time to tinker with computers. His pursuit of knowledge about the subject led him to study Computer Science at UT Austin and has stayed in the city ever since. A gamer at heart in the truest sense, board games, video games and a variety of sports all fall under his purview. Other hobbies include weightlifting, poorly singing karaoke and keeping up with the latest Dota 2 tournaments.

Chris Chris2
Chris Bono Senior Software Engineer

Born and raised in South Texas and moved to Austin in 2000. Chris has been slanging code since then at several companies around town. When not in the code, he spends the rest of his time with his wife and kids, usually enjoying the beautiful nature here in Central Texas. Hobbies - writing code, working out, eating (mostly bbq), hanging with family.

Harrison Harrison2
Harrison Wright Software Engineer

Harrison grew up in Atlanta and graduated from Georgia Tech with a degree in Computer Science. Originally an engineering major, Harrison fell in love with programming during his first CS course. After graduating, he moved to Austin to put his passion for problem solving and building great software to work.

Away from the computer, Harrison enjoys spending time with his wife and their two cats, playing hockey, seeing live music, and traveling. And he's kind of obsessed with Umphrey's McGee.

Damianne Damianne2
Damianne Abel Software Engineer in Test

Damianne is a real live native Austinite, and is a little bit snobby about it. She started her quality assurance journey in the always-exciting games industry, where she helped release a bunch of fun games like Sims and Mass Effect, but now she works in the legit tech industry and has fooled everyone into thinking that she's a real adult and not a sea monster. She brings a voracious love of quality and efficiency to BlackLocus, which is only intensified by the selection of Red Bull onsite.

Damianne likes to spend her evenings lurking the oceanic depths, brushing her immense tentacled form along the underbellies of unsuspecting fishing trawlers. On weekends you can find her dwelling in the inky blackness, untouched by time, until she is summoned forth by foolish mortals. She also enjoys cooking and a great glass of wine!

JoseLuis JoseLuis2
Jose Luis Preciado Arreola Data Scientist

Jose Luis was born in Obregon, Mexico, lived there until age 18 and then became a nomad for 13 years going to Monterrey, Purdue, Stanford, Mexico City, back home, College Station and finally Austin, where he expects to find a steady water and food supply he can stick to until he gets old (if that ever happens).

On his journeys Jose Luis got Bachelor’s, Master’s and Ph.D. degrees in Industrial Engineering/Management Science from Monterrey Tech, Stanford and Texas A&M. He has worked a variety of modeling and consulting jobs within and also a bit outside the IE/MS umbrella, including manufacturing system simulation, performance metrics optimization and tollway feasibility/pricing. He has also worked on theoretical research for convex regression.

Outside of number crunching Jose Luis can be found wine tasting, practicing yoga, meditating, working out at the gym or doing a variety of outdoor stuff. He also follows boxing quite closely.

Tako Tako2
Tako Vermeulen Business Intelligence Analyst

Data, prices and cookies: things Tako dreams about.

After getting his MS in Economics in the Netherlands, he has worked for many years as a senior economist at the Dutch Competition Authority. He then decided to move to Austin, TX with his wife to start a cookie company (stroopwafels!) and work for BlackLocus. He has always combined rigorous data analyses with critical economic thinking to make the best decision and make our customers happy!

BlackLocus History

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Our passion for data-driven decision-making led us to start BlackLocus.
BlackLocus releases a best-in-class version of its platform
BlackLocus raises $2.75M to ramp up sales and customer service
BlackLocus is acquired by Home Depot and becomes its Innovation Lab
BlackLocus wins Carnegie Mellon Business Plan Competition
BlackLocus wins $100K DFJ's Technology Prize at Rice BlackLocus raises $2.5M from Mercury Fund and Silverton Partners
The company moves its HQ to Austin, TX
BlackLocus wins Under The Radar competition CNET names BlackLocus best startup idea of 2011 INC Magazine names BlackLocus as top start-ups to watch in 2012
Founders get into Alphalab and receive $25K in funding
Tepper School of Business invests $20K BlackLocus wins the CMU practicum competition
Idea Foundry invests $50K
BlackLocus launches its first product BlackLocus acquires its first paying customer BlackLocus wins Plug&Play University Expo Competition
Three Carnegie Mellon students join forces to start a company

We wanted to:

  • Create the next version of business intelligence software for retailers
  • Mix internal data with public data
  • Turn large and complex data sets into simple and intuitive interfaces
  • Make it all actionable!
We started with an idea at Carnegie Mellon University. Now we are turning data into business-value for one of the largest retailers in the world.


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Join Our Team

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Are you genuinely curious with a dedication to learning?

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Is your interest in a problem piqued when it’s novel and challenging?

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Do you like to jump in over your head and swim really fast?

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We want to hear from you!

start up culture, big company benefits

  • Competitive base and bonus package
  • Restricted Stock grants and Employee Stock Purchase Program
  • Very competitive Benefit Package
  • Open and Flexible PTO
  • 401(k) and after one year, eligible for matching company contribution
  • Stocked Kitchen with healthy snacks and a weekly catered lunch
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Located in the heart of downtown Austin

current openings