Refactoring Jobs
Founding Lead Engineer
New York City +1
Mid-level +1
Posted 3 months ago

$150k-$200K salary, 1-3% equity

Foster is a social network for writers.


On Foster, writers submit ideas and drafts for edits from interested and qualified contributors. Our collaborative approach to writing transforms seedlings of ideas into timeless, polished pieces of writing. 


Today, Foster serves a fast-growing, tight knit community of online writers. Soon, we plan to serve millions of people who write on the Internet.


With that ambition comes a number of invigorating engineering challenges:


  • How do we define and connect the atomic units of writing?
  • What algorithms can be built to surface the ideas and drafts that our users are best suited to collaborate on?
  • How can we quantify the contributions and helpfulness of individual users?
  • How can we guide members to constructive collaboration with simple interfaces?


At bottom, we’re building a platform to facilitate mass collaboration on ideas. We need a Founding Lead Engineer who can craft and execute on a technical vision to bring this to reality.


As the Founding Lead Engineer, you’ll roll up your sleeves to design and implement solutions alongside our small team of engineers and designers. As the company expands, you’ll grow the team and lead the company’s technology strategy.


More On Foster

Foster is a social network for writers. Our platform provides better collaboration and editing for online writers at a fraction of the cost of a professional editor. 


We’re building a writer’s room for the Internet. Writers submit drafts for edits from interested and qualified contributors. Contributors gain public recognition and build rewarding relationships as writers acknowledge and incorporate their suggestions.


Writers love Foster. In our first year, our users collaborated on more than 1,000 pieces together and publicly thanked each other in published work more than 1,400 times. On average, writers in Foster rate the impact of the edits they receive as a 8/10.


We are funded by top writers and VCs. We just wrapped up Y Combinator and a Seed round led by Slow Ventures, with participation from 20+ top online writers. Our founders Dan and Stew have built multiple companies from seed stage all the way through ~$100M exits.


Our team has deep design and product expertise. Before we build something, we spend countless hours talking to users and iterating on designs. We believe simplicity is a consequence of deep contemplation and experimentation.

Your Qualifications

If the following describes you, let's chat! Send an email with the subject line “Founding Lead Engineer” to


  • You have a multi-year writing or editing practice and the written word plays a meaningful role in your life
  • You’re comfortable with our stack: React / TypeScript / Node.js / PostgreSQL / AWS
  • You have experience working on social products, text editors, or both
  • You have a “show, don’t tell” mindset and default to action
  • You can design architecture that may eventually supporting mobile clients
  • You have deep compassion for the end user and are excited to participate in the user discovery phase of product development. You consider talking to the users an important aspect of your job.
  • You default to action and can autonomously figure out the solution to a problem

How We Run Hiring

  • Send us an email. Send an email with the subject line “Founding Lead Engineer” to Please link to your personal site, Github, or Linkedin.
  • An intro call with the founders so we can learn about each other. We’re most interested in learning why you were motivated to apply.
  • A small task to complete similar to a problem you would encounter as a member of the team. The task will take ~4 hours and we’ll pay you for your time.
  • Another call to present your work. You can expect a few more technical questions so we get an understanding of how you think.

Your first 6 months with us

In your first 6 months, you will:

  • Audit Foster’s existing architecture and identify mission-critical areas for improvement
  • Write a 3, 6, and 12-month technical roadmap
  • Identify key technical risks and work with the founding team to refine the 12-month product roadmap to minimize unnecessary technical risk
  • Lead the delivery of at least one new feature per month
  • Establish engineering best practices and delivery processes

If this sounds exciting, please drop a note to

Thank you to the Foster members who contributed to early drafts of this: Rajat Mittal, Joel Christiansen, Joshua Mitchell, Jeremiah Lee, and Rob Hardy.

Editorial and collaborative support for online writers
Size:  1-10 employees