Mentoring and constructive feedback
A meaningful contribution to research in neuroscience
Great team events every month
30 paid vacation days
Flexible working hours (e.g. 4-day weeks)
Small-sized team where everybody knows everybody
Transparency about the evolution of the company
Food and snacks
What do you do?
Feel free to browse around our website to learn about our products and services.
Briefly, we build tools that life scientists, in particular neuroscientists, use to analyze massive 3D microscopy images. With our tools, we contribute to understanding the fundamental inner workings of the brain. Specifically, we develop WEBKNOSSOS, an open-source platform for sharing and annotating volumetric images, and Voxelytics, a Deep Learning-based toolbox for automatically reconstructing biological objects from these images.
Why did you start scalable minds?
We started scalable minds while we were still at university. We wanted to learn new skills in real projects. Starting the company was an opportunity to do so. We worked on a variety of projects, hired additional people and so, the company grew with us.
Learning new things is still at the core of our team culture. It is important to us to match people with projects that fit their interests and learning curve.
How did you get to neuroscience?
Early in the history of scalable minds, we were working on projects for neuroscientists and found that it is a very interesting field from a computer science perspective. The acquired datasets are so large that sophisticated and specialized software is required even for basic tasks, such as viewing the data. We figured there, considering our strong technological background, we could make highly valuable contributions in this field.
Who are your customers?
We partner with research labs from all over the world. In fact, we work very closely with most of them in regular video calls, meetings and joint projects. The majority of our clients work in neuroscience to unlock the wirings inside the brain. We tackle the technological challenges of handling and processing massive image datasets so that our partners can focus on the core scientific questions.
How do you make money?
WEBKNOSSOS is an open-core business model. We sell services for hosting the software (including our main instance on webknossos.org) and access to advanced features. The basic functionality of WEBKNOSSOS is available for free, though.
Additionally, we sell consulting services to research labs. Typically, we use our Voxelytics toolbox to perform segmentations, predictions or other image analyses.
How are you unique in the market?
We are unique, because there is no other company in the world that builds image analysis solutions that work with peta-scale 3D image datasets. There are other commercial image analysis tools, but they typically stop working if you have images that are larger than, let's say, a terabyte.
There is a rich ecosystem of open-source tools in the research community, which we enjoy to be a part of. We build bridges between these tools. We provide additional value, because we have a dedicated development team that continuously improves the software and usability.
How is the team structured?
The team mostly consists of software engineers. We don't have biologists on our team directly. We collaborate closely with scientists and learn from them the bits we need to know in order to solve their data problems. Naturally, over the course of the years, we learned quite a bit about neuroscience ourselves, which makes it even more exciting.
In addition to our engineers, we have two managing directors, an office manager and a marketing+visual design expert in the team. Our team size is ~15 people. Everybody knows everyone and everyone's impact is directly felt.
Is scalable minds a startup?
scalable minds has been around for a few years. We have established products that are used by scientists from all over the world, including Max Planck Institutes, the Francis Crick Institute as well as universities in the USA.
We maintain a startup culture, by keeping the team to a reasonable size, having flat hierarchies, and making sure that everybody has the maximum impact.
We have not raised VC money. The company is fully owned by the founders.
What would I do at scalable minds?
The specifics depend on the project that you'll work on. Check out the job listings above. These listings are not set in stone and we are flexible to adjust the positions to your specific interests.
It is definitely possible to switch gears if you want to try out something different at some point.Ultimately, we want everybody to continuously learn and enjoy their work.
How do you develop software?
We use an agile development process with 2-week sprints. At the beginning of a sprint, there is a meeting, where we review past progress and assign new work together. That way, everybody has a say in what we work on and we can manage unforeseen complexities.
On top of that, we use code reviews for everything. That means, that somebody else will always know the code that you have produced and a second pair of eyes might notice subtle issues.
We use Github as our primary hub for code, issues and PRs, Notion for knowledge sharing, and Slack for communication.
What does a typical day look like?
You can start your day whenever you like. However, a typical day starts at 10:30 with our daily standup. Everybody who is working that day very briefly (!) reports progress from the last day, explains the plans for today, and asks for help with blockers. Every 2 weeks, we have sprint meetings to define the work. Lunch break is at 12:00. At 15:00 we do a voluntary 5-min office workout, sometimes.
The rest of the day is pretty much up to you to structure. There will probably be some calls with collaborators on projects, with co-workers to discuss current work, or with your mentor to check-in.
Can I work remotely?
Yes! We have a lovely office space in Potsdam and we prefer everybody to come into the office at least 50% of their time. However, this is not a strict rule and we are happy to discuss what would work for you.
We generally prefer colleagues to be located in the Potsdam+Berlin area, because it allows you to come to the office and participate in team events. That being said, we have some colleagues that started out in Potsdam+Berlin, moved somewhere else due to life reasons, and now work fully remote.
Working remotely for shorter periods of time (e.g. escaping the winter for a few weeks) is definitely possible as long as you send a nice postcard ;-)
What do you mean with flexible hours?
In addition to full-time positions, we support flexible work schedules that leave enough space for other life priorities, e.g. studying, caring for kids, community work, sports, and hobbies. You can pick the schedule that works best for you. For example, some of our colleagues work a 4-day week or 2.5-day week. You can also choose when to start and finish your workdays.
For working students, the schedule can be even more flexible including increased hours during semester breaks and decreased hours during exam time.
What about working students?
scalable minds started out as a working student-only company. Although the company has matured, we still consider working students as "first-class" colleagues. As such, students will be fully integrated into our development processes and get to work on projects that directly ship to our customers. Of course, you get to participate in all our team events, as well.
We accommodate scheduling needs of students. In fact, you can pick your own flexible schedule. No need for fixed working days. You can vary your hours exam times and semester breaks. We expect students to work 12-20h per week on average.
What do I need to bring to the table?
We are most interested in people who are eager to learn new skills and have a strong background in software engineering (or similar).
If you're applying for a specific position, we don't expect you to be a master of that particular programming language, but willing to learn it. Of course, previous experience is a bonus. We do expect you to have previous software engineering experience (e.g. previous work, university projects, side projects) and an understanding of how to structure problems in code.
Knowledge in the neuroscience field is not required.
What is your hiring process?
We're looking forward to receiving your application. This can be a very brief email with your CV and 2-3 sentences of why you are interested in working at scalable minds.
If we find your application interesting, we will invite you to a first interview. This can either be in our office or via Zoom. The first interview is about getting to know each other. We will be keen to ask you questions about your background and interests. You will have the opportunity to ask everything you want to know about scalable minds and the work you might do.
After that, we'll schedule a second interview, where we talk through a software architecture challenge. Here, we want to understand how you approach a given problem.
Finally, there is a take-home challenge, where we'd like you to implement a small piece of software.
If all goes well, you'll be ready to start at scalable minds.
How do I get started at scalable minds?
We are looking forward to having you in our team. We have compiled all information that you need to get a head start at scalable minds in our internal Notion. On the first day, we'll walk you through the main points, complete remaining paper work, and get you set up with accounts and everything.
New colleagues at scalable minds have a mentor, who will onboard you on a technical level and is your point-of-contact for any question that you may have. Later on, you'll work more closely with other colleagues depending on the specific project.Feedback is a very important part of our culture, which is why we'll help you get going through code reviews, regular check-ins, feedback sessions, and ad-hoc feedback. Of course, we're also very interested in your feedback to make sure that you are comfortable and enjoy your work.