Scoop wouldn’t be able to create amazing carpools if it weren’t for an essential part of our algorithm: matching. Today, we chatted with Robert Regue, our Data and Matching team lead—and our seventh employee—to hear about Scoop’s product and learn more from the master match-maker himself.

Hi Robert! Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m from Barcelona, Spain—a city that, to this day, has been one of the best places I’ve ever lived. I’m a huge soccer fanatic; I’ve played all my life. I love constantly learning new things and getting exposed to all sorts of knowledge across the board.

What is at the core of what you do here at Scoop?

I focus on managing and thinking about how we can improve our carpools for everyone who uses Scoop. This includes streamlining the ability to match and ensuring a smooth experience when using our app. By prioritizing matching, we’re constantly working to accomplish our mission of getting every Scoop Carpooler into carpools that they love.

How did you first get into engineering?

I always loved building things from a young age, so when I went to college I started in Mechanical Engineering. During my coursework, though, I found myself drawn to transportation, especially the engineering side of it. I went from trying to build and model how machines operate to figuring out how to understand transportation systems as a whole.

I loved studying the mobility space so much that I eventually decided to go to the University of California, Irvine to pursue a Ph.D. in Transportation Engineering. There, I began learning a lot about modeling traffic, people behavior and travel patterns, how to lessen congestion, and how to optimize key aspects of mobility—for example, how to coordinate traffic lights and ramp meters on a corridor. I learned that mathematics and optimization could be used to discover and implement solutions to real-life issues, such as the commute.

What was your path to working at Scoop?

Let me tell you: my path to Scoop was one of those wacky life moments.

At UC Irvine, I was writing my thesis on how we can improve the performance of shared mobility concepts like ridesharing, carpooling, and bikesharing. I developed two frameworks to simulate the methods I found the most compelling, which through research ended up being carpooling and bikesharing. I looked into how carpooling could integrate with transit and create the most efficient way for you to get to your destination, and also researched the tradeoffs of different methods to develop the best route possible.

As part of my literature review, I looked at what innovators were doing in the carpooling space, and I saw Scoop. I stalked the LinkedIn of the co-founder, Jon Sadow, who then immediately stalked me back and followed up. We ended up having a long conversation and I joined the team as an intern, absolutely loved it, then came back full-time after I got my Ph.D.

What would you say was your biggest “Aha” moment here?

The first day I started at Scoop was before matching really existed for our platform, and I continued to look at all of our issues through an academic lens: code, run, fail, start over. But when I really began undertaking tasks here I learned that this was beyond academia—what I was creating wouldn’t just live on the pages of a thesis; it would actually alter human behavior in practice.

We developed a matching algorithm that we had been using since the first day of matching. In the early days, we actually matched people at the push of a button. I realized immediately that this isn’t a simulation; we’re actually going to be changing lives with this thing. It’s still crazy to me.

What is your favorite part about working at Scoop?

I really enjoy the people that I’m working with because they nurture my love for learning and continue to help me develop and progress. I can always do that here at Scoop, not just within engineering but also cross-functionally.

Quick-fire questions

What would you be doing if you weren’t matching carpools?

Honestly, I can’t even imagine where I’d be. I’m one of the lucky few people who can work in the field they studied and build a career out of their passions. I just can’t even think about where I’d be without that.

What’s on your desk?

A keyboard, lots of random sticky notes, and a cup of lukewarm coffee, always.

What would you say to anyone thinking about working at Scoop?

If you’re driven by making an impact, Scoop is a great platform for you to accomplish social good, help the environment, and have a compelling business model—rarely can you find a company where you can sustainably achieve all three. In terms of work/life balance, Scoop is an awesome place because we’re socially conscious, recruit awesome people, and always grow and experiment.

Interested in working with Robert and the rest of the Scoop team? Check out our open roles.

Chris Cox

Chris Cox

Chris Cox was a Social Media Manager at Scoop, producing and distributing editorial content across all digital platforms, until July 2019. When he isn’t busy trying to create something, you can find him on Netflix or at your local Taco Bell drive-thru.

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