Principal Engineer

Who We Are

Ascent is a Chicago-based startup that closed a $19.3M Series B funding round in Fall 2019. Founded only four years ago, the team has since grown to almost 50 full time employees, led and supported by an executive team and board of directors with extensive experience in technology, regulatory compliance, sales and business operations. Ascent serves global financial institutions such as ING and CommBank, and is also working directly with regulators around the world to continually improve and advance our product.

We’re not an e-commerce or traditional SaaS company.  Fundamentally, we’re building data pipelines to turn public regulatory information into a relevant, streamlined, comprehensive to-do list for compliance officers.  We deliver a web app (think Trello/Jira but pre-filled with your tasks) and an API, and much of our customers’ excitement is centered on the data we’re providing and the insights we pull from that data.  We call it Knowledge-as-a-Service, and to create this type of product requires some very interesting and impactful technical projects.

The scalability of our data is an important aspect of our customers’ excitement, which we accomplish through an internal app we call Sage.  It’s a collaboration platform for our domain experts and data scientists, and it’s one of the most innovative and powerful tools we’ve built.  It facilitates human-in-the-loop AI, collects training data, and allows us to iteratively automate our data pipelines — all while those pipelines are actually being used in production.

Once we’ve extracted everything we need from the public data set, we store the newly minted proprietary data set in a graph database.  It’s a great fit for the type of data we’re working with (very hierarchical, but with many interconnections) and we’re only just beginning to explore the full power and potential of this representation of our data.  For example, soon we’ll be able to see how laws are turned into regulations and subsequently enforced, allowing us to help regulators and legislators find the most effective ways to structure their work.

Another unique aspect of Ascent is that we’ve assembled an impressive team of devs, data scientists, and domain-expert lawyers.  We’re solving really hard problems, and no single discipline holds the key; we’re only as successful as our ability to find ways to communicate and collaborate effectively.  We prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion and believe strongly that a team with various backgrounds and perspectives produces better results.

Who You Are

We’ve had some exciting success but by no means do we have all the answers!  There are still a ton of challenges ahead of us as we look to continue automating, expanding our data sets, and booking customers at a global scale.  The only way we’re going to achieve our ambitions and our potential is with the help of some really thoughtful technical leaders. Finding a compelling Principal Engineers is a key strategic goal this quarter.

As a Series-B company, we need to start looking a little further into the future so we can make longer-term investments. We need to explore new ideas, new approaches, new arenas.  We also need to make strides in articulating our vision so as the team grows everyone can still see how their piece fits into the bigger puzzle and we can all move together in the same direction.  That’s where you come in!

As a Principal Engineer at Ascent you’ll be working directly for the CTO. 

You’ll undertake projects such as:

  • Collaborating with the CTO to set and champion the technical vision of the company
  • Owning various strategic initiatives
  • Guiding team-level architectural decisions and cross-pollinating ideas across teams
  • Cultivating new ideas into roadmap-worthy projects through proofs of concept, reference implementations, and research
  • Mentoring and coaching devs
  • Creating, communicating, defending, and evolving a strong perspective on our conceptual models / data model

This is a high-level individual contributor role providing substantial technical leadership at the company level, solving novel technical challenges with significant creative flexibility.


We expect successful candidates:

  • Have 10+ years development experience
  • Routinely work with many of our current technologies (ruby, react, postgres, elasticsearch, neo4j, heroku) or similar
  • Are comfortable architecting large systems
  • Experienced a significant expansion of a company’s technical team
  • Live in or are willing to move to the Chicago area


Ascent employees enjoy many benefits and perks, including:

  • Competitive compensation
  • Medical, dental, vision, mental health insurance – with individual premiums 99% paid by Ascent
  • 401K offered
  • Commuter benefits
  • Unlimited PTO and Bank Holidays
  • Flexible work schedule
  • Professional development stipend
  • The opportunity to work with smart people on challenging problems!


We’re excited to hear from you! Please send resume and cover letter to