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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

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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.

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Rodrigo Carvalho Co-Founder
“How can we make this better?”

Rodrigo is always looking to make things better, cheaper, faster. He sees opportunity into everything that is less than optimal. He is an idea guy with a focus on people. He is passionate about turning innovative ideas into products that people love.

Rodrigo holds a BS in Industrial Engineering and an MBA from Carnegie Mellon University. He is fluent in Portuguese, Spanish, and English.

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Lukas Bouvrie Co-Founder

Lukas brings expertise in Sales, Client Engagement, Marketing, and Entrepreneurship. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Aviation Technology and an MBA at Carnegie Mellon University - Tepper School of Business where he was a Swartz Entrepreneurial Fellows. Prior to joining Tepper, Lukas founded and managed an arts promotion company in Alaska and was a guide on the Himalayan Mountains in Nepal. In his free time, he seeks adventure in nature, climbing intimidating ice mountains, skiing the most dangerous virgin slopes, and flying bush planes. Always with a positive attitude, Lukas ensures our customers have a positive experience.

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Schell Carpenter Vice President, Engineering
“I don’t need to work out; I only use my body to carry my head around.”

Schell brings over 15 years of experience in software development and operations, with roles in technical leadership at a number of successful venture-backed startups around Austin, as well as a 5-year stint at Apple. She was a National Merit Scholar at UT Austin before leaving school early after discovering that college life wasn’t as portrayed in the movie Real Genius.

Outside work, she can be found hanging out with her partner, two kids and two dogs, listening to punk rock and enjoying the Austin scene.

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Dave Ruback Senior Program Manager
"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.

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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.

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Anthony McClosky Sr. Software Engineer
"Anthony enjoys learning, building, breaking things, and eventually fixing them."

Anthony enjoys learning and building. He has developed software as an academic, a consultant and as part of the engineering team at BlackLocus. The companies and organizations using his code include Baylor University, major healthcare providers and Fortune 500 retailers. Outside of software development you will usually find Anthony searching for good Texas BBQ or working out at CrossFit Austin.

Anthony holds a B.S. in Computer Science from Baylor University and is a thesis on Delay-Tolerant Networking away from holding an M.S. in Computer Science. (He decided building things outside of academia was more fun.) You can find his attempts at open source software at github.com/amcclosky.

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Cynthia Beal Data Quality Analyst

Cynthia knows the data collected by BlackLocus inside and out. She is responsible for creating and maintaining much of the reporting and analytics generated from our data. Prior to Blacklocus, she provided data management and analytics to the world of large non-profit organizations. She holds a B.A. in Economics from the University of Virginia. When she is not working, Cynthia enjoys live music, paddle boarding Lady Bird Lake and traveling.

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Megan Galloway 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.

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Matt Fehrenbacher Sr. Software Engineer
"Matt came to BlackLocus to make software and chew bubblegum, and there's free gum in the kitchen, so he does both."

Matt graduated from University of Texas and began his professional career at a lovely startup called Lombardi. After some adventures in big business (IBM and the healthcare industry), he joined BlackLocus in its early days in Austin. He now enjoys keeping things running, speeding them up, and reducing the amount of effort that sort of thing takes.

In his spare time, he plays the piano. Is any time really spare? Isn't it all precious, I think so.

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Ray Holder 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 github.com/rholder.

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Steve Wampler Sr. Software Engineer
"The future isn’t what it used to be." - Paul Valery

Steve’s written software from the day he and his dad built his first computer from a kit they bought while he was in high school. He loves working with people to solve problems while learning new things along the way. He’s written applications for computer aided design, oil and gas exploration, and high-frequency trading. He joined BlackLocus because what they’re doing is very cool. He loves working in different languages but is especially fond of English, Java, and Scala … but not necessarily in that order. Python and JavaScript are okay too. He has a B.S. and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Virginia Tech, but hasn’t done a wink of Mechanical Engineering from the day he graduated. Go figure.

When not working and loving his family, Steve is an avid photographer who loves taking photos of people.

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Justin Arthur Sr. Software Engineer
"The job's not done until something new appears on a browser or desktop."

Justin likes to see the human impact of his code; the job's not done until something new appears on someone's browser or desktop. Justin has several years of full stack web development experience in the media publishing, healthcare, and online retail spaces. Justin was raised into programming on open source software and you can find many of his contributions on GitHub: github.com/JustinTArthur

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Chad Bayer Software Engineer
"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.

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Jason Dunkelberger Artisan Codecrafter

Jason likes to challenge the status quo, give second thoughts to pretty much anything. Architectural constructs tried and tried for 20 years? Too outdated for me (enterprise integration patterns). Model it in a well known storage solution? Yes you could (relational databases), but also ‘bash redis-server’. Technology that is the industry standard (XML)? It's time for a new standard. "Don't reinvent the wheel?" You can keep your stone disc; I'll roll on something better.

Jason has been professionally writing horrendous code for about 5 years. He comes from the University of Texas at Austin with a B.S. in Computer Science. You can find some of his terrible personal projects on GitHub: github.com/dirkraft

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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.

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Rees Dooley 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.

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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.

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Bo Zhang Sr. Data Scientist
"If P=NP, everyone who could appreciate a symphony would be Mozart." - Scott Aaronson

Bo did her PhD at The University of Texas at Austin where she conducted research on large scale network optimization, demand shaping and pricing, and retail online competitions. In her previous job, she led designing optimization and simulation models for healthcare clients. She likes learning new technologies and solving hard problems.

When not working, she enjoys having outdoor fun, inventing new simple recipes, and recently sketching super hero figures (and cars trucks and things that go) with her four years old.

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John Ramey Data Scientist
"When discussing complex systems, like brains and other societies, it is easy to oversimplify: I call this Occam’s lobotomy." - I. J. Good

John is interested in developing data-driven automated systems that utilize statistical and machine-learning algorithms. He also writes a lot of R and Python code. You can find some of it at github.com/ramey. John holds a PhD in Statistics from Baylor University (Sic 'em, Bears). Prior to joining BlackLocus, he was a postdoctoral research fellow at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. Outside of work, he enjoys spending time with his wife and son, running, hiking, and watching sports, notably college football.

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Li (Emma) Zhang Software Engineer
"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.

Erin Erin
Erin Waldrum Data Quality Analyst

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 Schaefer Data Quality Intern
"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 the new BlackLocus intern. She is a recent graduate of Rice University and is currently working on her M.S. in Statistics at UT. When not on coffee runs, she likes to rout out new problems to analyze and solve and is excited to be able to delve into machine learning. She firmly believes that data is beautiful.

Outside of the office, Kayla can be found out with her dog, at the nearest movie theater, or attempting to channel her grandmother's knitting abilities.

Pierce Pierce
Pierce Spitler Sr. Data Scientist

Pierce is interested in using data to derive insight. Prior to joining BlackLocus, he worked at The Home Depot’s main office creating space optimization algorithms and understanding as much of the company’s data as possible. After the acquisition of BlackLocus, it seemed like a natural fit to expand his capacity of advanced analytics. He holds a B.S. in Industrial and Systems Engineering from Georgia Tech and is pursuing a M.S. in Predictive Analytics from Northwestern.

When he is not at work you can find him watching or playing sports, going for runs, trying a new beer, and trying his hand at sports analytics.

Interested in joining us? See our current openings!

BlackLocus History

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Our passion for data-driven decision-making led us to start BlackLocus.
Q1
BlackLocus releases a best-in-class version of its platform
Q2
BlackLocus raises $2.75M to ramp up sales and customer service
Q4
BlackLocus is acquired by Home Depot and becomes its Innovation Lab
Q1
BlackLocus wins Carnegie Mellon Business Plan Competition
Q2
BlackLocus wins $100K DFJ's Technology Prize at Rice BlackLocus raises $2.5M from Mercury Fund and Silverton Partners
Q3
The company moves its HQ to Austin, TX
Q4
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
Q1
Founders get into Alphalab and receive $25K in funding
Q2
Tepper School of Business invests $20K BlackLocus wins the CMU practicum competition
Q3
Idea Foundry invests $50K
Q4
BlackLocus launches its first product BlackLocus acquires its first paying customer BlackLocus wins Plug&Play University Expo Competition
Q4
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.

Work Hard Play Hard

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Join Our Team

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Are you innately curious and always learning?

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Is your interest in a problem directly correlated with its difficulty?

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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 awards and Employee Stock Purchase Program
  • Very competitive Benefit Package that covers you and your family on day one
  • Open and Flexible PTO
  • 401(k) and after one year, eligible for matching company contribution
  • Stocked Kitchen with frequent breakfast taco’s and a catered weekly lunch
  • Work Life Balance
  • Located in the heart of downtown Austin

current openings