Life at Klasha

    September 25, 2023

    Klasha Catchups: Meet Giulio Leso, VP of Engineering at Klasha

    Technology has emerged as a prominent tool for addressing global challenges. Engineering plays a pivotal role in the development and implementation of these solutions.

    At Klasha, our VP of Engineering has over ten years of experience building and developing software solutions within the payment industry. We had a chat with him recently to gain valuable insights into his role, responsibilities, and the challenges he faces. There's valuable information here if you aspire to pursue a similar career path.

    Personal journey: before engineering 

    Everyone has a story; here is Giulio’s own.

    Tell us a brief history of your career before Klasha; where did you work, what did you do, and how did you get there?

    Giulio: I grew up in North Italy and studied computer science in high school. After graduation, I pursued my master's degree in computer science, too. When I was done, I moved to London and spent almost ten years there.

    Career-wise, I started at a small startup in the recruitment sector, analyzing data and predicting patterns. From there, I moved to an e-commerce platform and started having fun with the fintech space and the payment industry.

    I moved on to be a senior engineer at Wise (formerly called TransferWise), where I stayed for almost five years. I left as an engineering manager, leading three different regional expansion teams. After my role at Wise, I moved back to my country (during the pandemic) and started working for TrueLayer, a company reinventing open banking.

    What motivated you to pursue a career in engineering?

    Giulio: When I was younger, I loved playing with tech toys and mechanical things in general. I've always been fascinated by why things work the way they do. I decided to study computer science to understand it better.

    However, I didn’t like coding; I was attracted by the code “as a tool to make things happen.” Now, I like the nitty-gritty of the tech part. I’ve always been interested in the human part of software engineering, what’s behind the keyboard, and the interaction within teams and companies.

    Engineering at Klasha

    What is a typical day in your role, and how do you manage your time and priorities?

    Giulio: I have a four-year-old daughter, so my day typically starts with waking up early, checking my laptop, and doing some physical activity. When it’s 8 a.m., my daughter and wife wake up, and we start preparing for the day.

    I prep my daughter for school, drop her off, and cycle to my office (I work remotely in a rented co-working space). Here, I have the luxury of 1 hour “alone” before the rest of the company wakes up (Italy is 1 hour behind Nigeria), so I can sort out my day and prep for all my meetings.

    The day is normally a mix of several activities: code review, writing small portions of code, fixing small bugs or malfunctions (all to force myself to stay as close as possible to my engineers), and a multitude of meetings and 1-to-1s. I close my day around 6 p.m. with a relaxing cycle home, where I spend more time with my family. And sometimes I have 30-60 minutes of work later.

    How does your team contribute to Klasha's mission?

    Giulio: We start by being the "mechanics" behind the big machines. LOL, we keep it healthy and well-oiled. But we do a lot more; I believe in being product engineers, which means my team works in complete cohesion with the product team. We influence each other, share feedback, and brainstorm to ensure we build the best products for our customers.

    What’s your favourite project at Klasha so far, and why?

    Giulio: I have a strong inclination for B2C products, having come from a company like Wise. I'm particularly drawn to products that have the potential to go viral through word-of-mouth (WoM). If I were to choose two, I'd highlight the virtual dollar cards and the KYC optimization project we worked on earlier this year. With these projects, we improved our product stability and customer onboarding experience. 

    What key challenges have you faced in your role, and how have you overcome them?

    Giulio: With great power comes great responsibility. Being the person in charge of a department is extremely satisfying, but it’s also very stressful when things go wrong. I have the luxury of being supported by a great team of engineers, but I need to remind myself daily that some are much younger than me and should never be exposed to certain pressures.

    The way I try to overcome all of these challenges is to be human and to build the best connection and hopefully friendship with each one of them, so I’m sure they can tell me anything, and eventually, I can do the same. No boss, no sir, no titles: we call each other all by name, and everyone sits at the same level.

    What would you have been doing if you were not a software engineer?

    Giulio: My other passion is cooking and wine, so most likely, at this stage of my life, I would’ve owned a small restaurant and run or managed a vineyard (this is also my retirement plan).

    Any advice for anyone looking to join our engineering team?

    Giulio: Be passionate about what you do (coding, running the infrastructure), never stop learning, and always put yourself in front of new problems to solve. But if there’s one thing over all the others, it's being a team player.

    There is no space in Klasha for working alone. My mantra is that the sum of the impact we can get as a team is much greater than what we can do alone.

    Join Giulio and his team as they build a global cross-border payment solution. Visit our career page to see open roles.