Chief Operating Officer (remote, UK-based)

Job description

Location: Remote, mainly UK based, as travel to our London hub will be required once a month.

Working at Ably means helping to build the infrastructure and technology that will power and shape the future of the internet. Chatting on WhatsApp, hailing an Uber, asking Alexa what the weather will be like tomorrow, working in the same Google Doc as your colleague: all of these things rely on complex, behind-the-scenes realtime infrastructure. That’s what Ably provides for companies like HubSpot, Toyota Racing Development, OfferUp, and Hopin.

We now live in a remote-first world where realtime digital interactions underpin our daily lives. In the near future, Autonomous Vehicles, IoT devices (e.g. connected fridges or environment sensors), and AI-powered experiences will be the norm. But new infrastructure is required to power it all.

The opportunity in front of us is immense. Our mission is to become the definitive realtime infrastructure of the internet while powering and accelerating adoption of realtime user experiences. We’re on track. Everyday we deliver billions of realtime messages to more than 250 million people in 80 different countries across web, mobile, and IoT platforms. But we can’t rest yet. In five years we want to reach one billion people everyday.

To see what life’s like at Ably, check out our careers page at and read the story of how Ably's core values came to be.


In this role

Based in London, the COO will be responsible for the company’s strategic and financial vision, direction and operations. They will play a key part in formulating, developing and delivering on overall business strategy, with an emphasis on scalability, operational efficiency, and building long-term shareholder value. They will oversee the company’s growing operations, finance, and legal teams and will have an exceptionally broad remit, playing a key role on the executive team - reporting to Matt, the Founder/CEO.

First and foremost, the COO will formulate, develop and deliver Ably’s overall growth strategy and target operating model. This will include:

  • Partnering closely with Ably’s executive team to formulate and prioritise business objectives and drive performance/delivery.
  • Acting as an interface between Ably’s current (and future) investors and the executive team, where appropriate.
  • Preparation of budgets, board materials and business plans on a continual basis.
  • Challenging current ways of working, driving efficiencies, revenue/margin generation opportunities, and cost-saving initiatives wherever possible.
  • Leading (and building) the analytics and business intelligence capabilities for the business, ensuring the teams can make informed decisions quickly and optimise frequently.
  • Developing sound operating and commercial models to support strategic initiatives - as an example, they will collaborate directly with the Sales and Marketing teams to design budgets, KPIs, forecasting plans, delivery schedules, and contingency plans.
  • Participate in operations reviews to ensure both short-term and long-term plans are on track and help manage priorities and track metrics across the organisation.
  • Providing proactive input into contract negotiations and contract decision making; help ensure compliance and business processes are followed; maintaining strong HR, legal and operational processes.
  • Overseeing cash flow, spend, budgets and monitoring financial operations and decision making.

Building on the above, the COO will own the operational plan and revenue model to drive revenue maximisation. They will develop and lead the annual forecast and budgeting process and assess how best to deploy capital. They will define high-value and revenue-critical activities and strike a balance, ensuring the business is focusing on the right activities to maximise growth, but in an efficient and prudent way. They will also monitor external business, economic and any relevant regulatory developments that could impact Ably.

The COO will operate as a conduit between external investors and Ably’s leadership. In doing so, they will provide guidance, data and analysis of exceptional quality, relevance and insight, enabling all parties to make bold, business-critical decisions with complete confidence in the integrity of the underlying information.

Team development will be a key component of this role over time. The COO will inherit a small team on day one, but will be expected to expand this as they see fit to meet evolving business demands. Irrespective of team size, they will be an outstanding leader who will set the highest standards in terms of hiring, training and development, retention and employee satisfaction across the business as a whole. A strong and inspiring communicator, they will act as an advisor and mentor to their direct reports, and drive a culture of excellence, accountability and operational rigour across the company.

They will become a true partner, ally and trusted advisor to all members of the executive team tasked with driving the growth of Ably into a much larger business with a significant valuation. They will share the pace, entrepreneurialism, ambition and resilience, and passion that Matt and Paddy (the founders) have based the Ably team culture upon.

To be successful in this role 

The successful candidate will be an exceptional COO, with a stellar track record of operational leadership within high-growth businesses. They will ideally have experience in a B2B / SaaS business environment. With outstanding leadership and communication skills, they will have built and led high-performance teams, but at the same time will be prepared to roll up their sleeves and get stuck into the detail (for example, building their own financial/commercial models, writing investor decks, etc.). They will have established productive, successful relationships with Founders/CEOs and will have a track record of partnering with high-calibre demanding boards and Venture Capital investors.

Required attributes:

  • Operational leadership. Proven operations leader with experience interfacing with other functional leaders and C-level execs. Will have a commercial and growth mindset. Demonstrated track record of impact on growth initiatives and a clear bias towards data-driven decision making. If not directly owned, will have comfort overseeing the Finance function as well as Operations, HR and Legal and will be able to lend credibility to the fundraising process. Will ideally have experience with international expansion of companies similar to Ably’s current stage/profile.
  • Growth/scale-up experience. Understands the complexity and challenges of navigating a business through an earlier phase of lifecycle with limited resources (and subsequently comfortable to wearing different hats, as priorities dictate). Can build a robust Operations function, implementing scalable policies, procedures, structures and reporting to support the company through its growth. Appreciates the value of equity incentives and adept at designing compensation plans for different areas of the business. Ideally has successfully scaled a business from approximately $10m to north of $50m ARR.
  • Commercial Acumen, data/KPI driven, strong business partnering. Able to evidence having deployed highly data-driven, ROI-based commercial frameworks in collaboration with Marketing and Sales teams. Will serve as a sounding board to Ably’s other leaders, helping them to develop and operationalise near- and long-term plans. They will possess strong commercial instincts and acumen, continually striving to understand Ably’s growth drivers, new market opportunities, risks, etc.
  • Business and people leadership. Strong communicator who can set a clear vision and strategy, and can mobilise teams. Proven track record of building and managing high performing teams and leading them through periods of change and growth. Experience operating at Executive levels of an organisation and collaborating with founders / reporting into CEOs is a plus. Challenges constructively in order to help teams reach the best decisions and outcomes.
  • Culture alignment. Will be passionate, tenacious and ambitious, as well as high-integrity, high energy, rigorous, low-ego, collaborative and personable. Will possess as much EQ as IQ. Will be excited by – and passionate about – Ably’s mission, values and journey.

What’s it like to work at Ably?

Founded by two engineers who spotted a hard and largely unsolved problem, Ably is, at its heart, an engineering company. To provide the infrastructure required for a high-bandwidth, remote-first world we hire engineers with a broad set of technical skills who are ready and capable of taking on challenging realtime engineering problems.

As a company and engineering team we’re committed to a future internet that’s open, with all engineers contributing to existing open source projects.

We want to work in a company of inclusive people who treat each other well. As an Ablyan, you’ll enjoy taking ownership and making an impact, with work that is both varied and challenging. To thrive at Ably, you’ll need to believe in and be prepared to do your work in line with our values, which are:

  • Open for all. Open is a mindset. When open, we’re better collaborators, communicators and creators. Whether open source, standards, or protocols, open hearts, minds, and eyes. It’s better when it’s open.
  • Bias for action. We avoid analysis paralysis at all costs. We lean into doing in order to move us forward. When we have enough of what we need to act, we act.
  • Even the best do better. We want to be the best - but that doesn’t mean we rest when we are. Improvement and growth - true betterment - is an ongoing journey. One fuelled by curiosity and taking risks.
  • Technology needs humanity. Our technology means little without people - whether that’s how we treat our colleagues, or how we design developer experiences. Being human matters.
  • Dependable people make dependable things. Dependability is integral to our mission and technology, but being dependable starts with our people. When we care enough to take real ownership of our products and problems - all else will follow.
  • Bold creativity leads to the greatest rewards. When viewed through a different lense, what stands in the way can become the way. The bigger the challenge the easier the choice: bold creativity will always move us forward, create better outcomes, and set us apart.

What’s in it for you?

  • A great company culture
  • Share options
  • The chance to learn and grow with a fast-moving company, supported by a learning budget that gives you access to professional training, events, conferences, workshops etc.
  • Remote first: Unless you want to pop into our communal office space in Shoreditch, London, you’ll work from home most of the time, apart from when we have planning sessions and Summits. Travel to the office is at the employees expense, apart from when we have Ably Summits
  • Your choice of high quality tech kit to work on
  • Home workstation set up budget of £500, plus an annual top-up of £150
  • Regular company away days and social events
  • Friday need-to-know drinks and snacks
  • Private health insurance, including Doctor@Hand
  • Access to private and confidential coaching via Sanctus
  • 24/7 Employee Assistance Programme with AXA
  • A monthly wellbeing budget with Juno
  • Enhanced parental leave
  • 25 days of paid annual leave (33 days including bank holidays)
  • 10 days of paid sick leave (including mental health days) per year
  • Dog friendly office for when you’re in the office!

If you enjoy working as part of a technology company, value open source, and love solving hard problems - then we’d love to hear from you, regardless of whether you fit the spec exactly or not. If in doubt, drop us an email. We’d be more than happy to give you some advice on your application.


We believe our differences as individuals is what makes us great. Our people are at the heart of what we do, and we encourage everyone to be their most authentic self at Ably: we see inclusivity and openness as fundamental to creating long-term success as an organization. We encourage applications from all backgrounds regardless of age, disability, gender, sexual orientation, parental status, race, religion, educational background or neurodiversity. Ably has an amazing opportunity ahead of us, and we want anyone to be able to contribute to that opportunity.