Getting to Know Suren, Our VP of Engineering

By: Hyperscience
Published: November 12, 2020

We’re thrilled to have Suren Hiraman join our Leadership Team as VP of Engineering! Suren oversees our Engineering organization, ensuring we reliably deliver our input-to-outcome automation platform with the highest quality and correctness for our customers. 

Suren joins Hyperscience with nearly three decades of engineering experience, with a focus on building high-performing teams via process, organization, and culture. Most recently, he led B2B data engineering at Spotify and a challenging engineering turnaround at Namely.

Following our Series D raise, and as we continue to grow our Engineering team across our remote offices, we spoke to Suren about why he joined Hyperscience, exciting engineering challenges and what it’s like to work at Hyperscience.

Why did you decide to join Hyperscience when you did? 

Hyperscience has the perfect combination of technical and organizational challenges that excite me. In addition, we have an audacious vision of creating a brand new software category [SDM] and fundamentally impacting how companies understand and run themselves. I’ve often looked for opportunities that give me a chance to change an industry, and in this case, I’m hoping to help change several industries at once!

What is the most interesting engineering project you’ve been involved with over your career? What are you most excited about working on at Hyperscience?

I’m lucky to have been involved in several interesting engineering challenges over the years. If I had to pick just one, it would have to be from the startup I co-founded. We built a similarity graph that could be used in the same way that the Facebook social graph is used. We gathered billions of daily events from across the Internet and used them to understand how similar people behaved. Our fundamental model was based on the idea that when people are navigating across the Internet, they aren’t just navigating from URL to URL but are moving through a concept space – or hopping across a graph of concepts and entities. There were tons of interesting technical challenges at that scale.

At Hyperscience, I’m looking forward to two things. First, guiding us through a period of high growth. Second, implementing the platform that makes our vision a reality. 

On the technical side, we have challenging engineering problems to solve around multimodal AI, knowledge graphs, state machines, human-in-the-loop [HITL] interfaces, dynamic user interfaces, and a self-learning platform. Working on any of these would be exciting by itself, and I’m looking forward to how we meld these capabilities into a platform that lets businesses automate and evolve critical processes much more effectively than they do today.

What can someone who joins the Hyperscience Engineering team expect? 

The best engineering environments share a few things in common. Our teams and individuals are empowered with true ownership. Rather than top-down directives, we look for people who want to embrace the responsibility and challenge of ownership and bring their ideas to the table to help us continue to grow and become better. 

We also look for people who are collaborative. This does not mean that everyone has to be an extrovert (which is unlikely in a large group of engineers!). What it means is that there is a strong sense of team, being in it together, and being able to rely on each other. 

Our environment provides opportunities to learn and try new things. In fact, innovation requires that people want to figure new things out and take calculated chances. We also foster respect for each other and our differing backgrounds, recognizing that we all have different needs, goals, abilities, backgrounds, and ways of working. Anyone joining Hyperscience can expect all of the above while executing on a really ambitious and impactful mission.

What challenges is the Hyperscience Engineering team solving for today?

Hyperscience modernizes mission-critical processes and operations for Global 2000 organizations and governments. We make it possible for our clients to implement and automate key business processes. Each workflow is essentially a given input, several process steps, and then some specific business value that drives a decision or outcome. We have challenges across that entire flow and set of interactions. 

Multimodal AI means we can move beyond intelligent document processing to audio and other types of inputs. Then we have to map those inputs to the entities within knowledge graphs of the business subdomain for each workflow, and we also have to understand and manage entity and workflow state changes. Since AI and ML is not perfect, another key part of how we think about the world is the partnership between human and machine, or how we incorporate humans-in-the-loop to resolve edge cases or render a decision. Underlying all of the above are various Machine Learning challenges. A lot of fun things to solve!

What advice do you have for individuals looking to join the Hyperscience team? 

For anyone thinking about joining our team, I simply say reach out to us. Hyperscience is one of those rare companies that will be able to navigate the challenges of going from a start-up to a truly successful and innovative enterprise, and we will do it while providing one of the best environments for individual growth and job satisfaction out there. We aren’t perfect but we are constantly improving and looking for people who want to help us do that.

For folks looking to get started in engineering, I can tell you that it’s always been a lot of fun for me. There is a strong sense of satisfaction in building something where you can sort of push a button and see it react [whether that’s an actual button or an API endpoint or something else interesting]. Although you might not think that building software is as concrete or artistic as building something physical with your hands or painting a painting or writing a book, I feel the same sense of satisfaction, tangibility and pride when I get a piece of software working – especially when I can build it beautifully.

If engineering interests you, first try out some online courses or small projects to get your hands dirty. If it keeps interesting you, dive in! And there’s no better place to dive in than at Hyperscience!

Do you have a favorite programming language?

It’s hard for me to pick one favorite thing, but if I had to pick a language, it would be Scala. I think it provides the best of object-oriented and functional languages. It can be challenging, though, if you don’t have a good set of standards and practices to reign in its flexibility. Other than language, the problem area I love tackling is thinking about scalability in distributed systems.

Who are you outside of Hyperscience?

Outside of Hyperscience, I love to read and learn about random things that are not particularly useful to me in everyday life. I try to learn about a diverse set of things broadly, though not as deeply, as I’d like. I love to find people who I can discuss these random things with, whether it’s history, politics, human nature, cosmology, martial arts, and other random things.

Ready to join us on this ride? Our PDE team is hiring across New York City, Sofia, London, Toronto and our remote offices around the globe. Discover key open roles.

Connect with Suren on LinkedIn or send him an email.