Engineering in the heart of Lithuania
Vinted is taking a significant step to strengthen our presence in Lithuania - we’re officially expanding to Kaunas this year. We have a number of software engineering and engineering management roles that were previously only located in Vilnius which are now open for applicants living in or near Kaunas as well.
In this blog post I will explain our reasons for this expansion, paint a picture of Vinted today and share my personal reasons for joining Vinted more than seven years ago. Let’s find out if my reasons aged well.
Why expand to Kaunas now?
As Vinted keeps growing significantly every year, we need to keep up on the engineering side of the business to continue thriving. We’ve had our eye on Kaunas as a potential office and expansion location for a few years.
We were drawn to the city because it’s home to Kaunas University of Technology - one of the best tech schools in Lithuania. With other smaller excellent education institutions as well, we have access to a sizable and capable talent pool.
The familiar operational, legal and cultural environment of our home turf means that we can move quickly.
Kaunas is very close to our headquarters in Vilnius, so we’re treating this as an extension, rather than a completely new location. Among other things, this means that Kaunas and Vilnius compensation and benefits packages for the same roles will be the same (or comparable, where we can’t provide an identical benefit).
We’ve been hiring people from around Kaunas for a while now - around 70 current Vinted employees are from the area. While working remotely in recent years has changed the flexibility standard people expect, it’s becoming clear from our own office attendance that the office is a great place to collaborate. We recognise that people thrive in different environments. For some, no office is necessary, for others working in an office is a perk, but for others it’s a necessity.
For years Vinted operated one business - Europe’s biggest second-hand fashion marketplace - in many different countries. A marketplace generates a lot of parcels, most of which are sent via Pick-Up Drop-Off (lockers or paštomatai) points, or PUDO points for short. Last year we started another business - a PUDO point network called Vinted Go which aims to deliver a more seamless shipping and delivery experience across Europe. Vinted Group Functions - Finance & Legal, People, Strategy, Data Science & Analytics and Engineering - serve these businesses by providing infrastructure and various services to both.
I get frequently asked - “Is Vinted an enterprise yet, or is it still a startup?”, to which I answer that no, we’re not yet an enterprise - hopefully one day. A better term would be a ‘scaleup’. A scaleup has a mature, established and profitable product that the company is working to scale, a startup is a company trying to build one. “A scaleup or a startup then?” I’d say we’re a bit of both, and something in between. Let me explain.
Vinted Marketplace - the scaleup. Powered by hundreds of engineers, this is the largest, most established and most structured organisation in Vinted. Expanding into new markets and segments every year at an enviable pace, Vinted Marketplace faces the challenges of creating and moving to a new architecture, modularising a monolithic codebase, scaling a successful product that’s handling more than 145K RPS on peak time, and diving deep to solve complex, specific problems for more than 80 million Vinted members. Donatas Kulvičius leads Marketplace Engineering, with Adam Jay as the CEO.
Vinted Go - more of a startup. The brainchild of one of Vinted’s founding team members - Mantas Mikuckas - Vinted Go is furiously expanding. We’re aiming to provide an affordable and climate-friendly parcel shipping via an extensive PUDO point network, including a new PUDO point network in France, to be used not just by Vinted members, but other shipping customers as well. Aistė Miškūnienė leads Vinted Go Engineering, with Vytautas Atkočaitis as the VP.
Vinted Group Engineering - the something in between. Home to our data infrastructure, site reliability engineering, IT, engineering experience, and security and privacy teams. We’re aiming to provide common infrastructure and joint services with other functions to the businesses and the group. This includes a redundant data centre setup in Europe, various solutions on top of public cloud offerings, a Kubernetes based compute platform, a Vitess based database platform, an observability platform, an in-house data warehouse that’s being migrated to an upcoming public cloud based dataverse solution, risk management frameworks, privacy solutions, software and hardware asset management, a CI & CD pipeline that deploys developers code to production in less than 30 minutes… and much more. Vinted Group Engineering is here to help our businesses thrive. Mindaugas Mozūras, our VP of Engineering leads Vinted Group Engineering.
All three of these organisations - Vinted Marketplace, Vinted Go and Vinted Group Functions together make up Vinted Group, a company aiming to make second-hand the first choice worldwide, led by Thomas Platenga as Group CEO.
The various environments at Vinted provide opportunities for everyone. From people who are just starting their career, who are looking for mentorship or to take big risks, through to people who have some experience and want to apply it in a new context, and people with a lot of experience to share and apply, who already have big commitments in life and want more stability - there’s a place for everyone here.
I joined Vinted more than seven years ago. Back then, I was a young professional with a few years of software development and management experience, eager to work hard and “make it”. I didn’t have any big commitments or dependants. I was very confident in my ability, therefore I was willing and able to take on a big risk, like joining a cool startup.
I’d been working remotely for years, and I was fed up with not being able to connect on a personal level with most of my coworkers. So an office in Vilnius (even in Žirmūnai, where the cool startup was located back then) was a huge perk for me. My professional experience matched what Vinted was looking for - I knew how to develop software with Ruby on Rails. A lucky coincidence.
Today, I suppose my younger self would consider that I “made it”. I acknowledge that I was lucky and privileged. I’m grateful to have an opportunity to work on trying to make the world a better place by helping reduce the climate impact of retail fashion. I’m happy that more people now are able to join us on this fulfilling journey.
In recent years we’ve made an effort to make opportunities at Vinted more accessible. We welcome much more technological expertise than Ruby on Rails - recently we adopted Go as a general-purpose backend programming language. We also embrace people who don’t have experience but are willing to learn through our Academy and Internship programs. We don’t insist on folks coming into the office anymore - allowing employees to work in ways that best suit their needs. To those who can’t afford to take a risk - we have a more stable business - the scaling marketplace - that grows at a predictable pace and doesn’t reorganise itself every year anymore. If you want and can afford to take on more risk, join the Vinted Go startup and get ready for a wild ride.
We recognise that Vinted is seen as a more of a Vilnius company in Lithuania. By opening an office in Kaunas, valuing both specific and broad technological expertise and welcoming people who prefer more stability, we work to change this perception.
Mieli Kauniečiai ir kiti - prisijunkite prie mūsų. If you’re interested in exploring the opportunities at Vinted - see our jobs page.