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Meet Nikolay Angelov - Head of Engineering in Sofia, Bulgaria

Meet Nikolay Angelov - Head of Engineering in Sofia, Bulgaria

It's been 3 months since Nikolay joined as a Head of Engineering for the Network Team. We caught up with him to find out more about his journey in engineering leadership, from what it takes to build a high performing engineering team, to what excited him about joining Runa. 


Can you start by telling us a bit about yourself?

Hey 👋 I'm Nikolay and I'm a Head of Engineering for the Network Team at Runa, based in Sofia. I have more than 15 years of experience in software engineering as an engineer, team leader and engineering manager. My passion is solving problems, being part of innovation and building things - products, teams, engineers and future leaders. I'm also a father, husband, and big football fan. 


How has your previous experience helped shape your career in engineering leadership?

I started out as a software engineer and had my first experience in leadership when I was promoted into a senior position to technically manage a team of 3 engineers. I've always enjoyed working with people, but this was where I knew a leadership role was what I really wanted. I started leading pretty big teams, at one point 2 sub-teams of 7 engineers each. Since then, my experience in engineering leadership has been diverse. Working in various industries, companies, team sizes and problem areas, has given me an invaluable insight into different perspectives and leadership styles. 


What inspired you to make the move into payments, joining Runa? 

I've always been drawn to challenges and continuously learning. After spending 15 years working in the realm of physical devices, I was ready for something new and exciting. I was looking for a product with potential to make a huge difference in its demanding area. Runa is pioneering a first-of-its-kind payouts infrastructure for instant, global, and fee-free digital value transactions, which is game changing. 


What do you think is critical to working effectively across multiple locations and how have you navigated this in the past? 

Before joining Runa I worked in robotics at Ocado Technology, where I leading 40+ people across 5 teams in 3 countries. When you're working across multiple locations, it's important to build trust with people and be aligned on goals. This gives autonomy to everyone and the confidence that you're all pushing in the right direction. Understanding cultural differences and aligning on communication are both really important too. The phrase which is most comprehensive here is a strong culture of aligning, belonging and collaboration. 


What have you enjoyed most about your time at Runa so far? 

Definitely the team! The people I work with are exceptional both personally and professionally. There's a shared drive for continuous improvement and a real fearlessness in pushing boundaries. 


You're proactive in writing your own blogs, covering topics around leadership and growing teams. What values do you think are critical to a high performing engineering team? 

I think a high level of trust is critical. Trust promotes a collaborative environment and ensures psychological safety. Effective communication and continuous learning are also integral to a high performing team. These values empower team members to excel by encouraging open dialogue, creative problem solving and skill development, all of which are essential for solving complex technical problems. 


What advice would you give to engineers interested in pursuing a career at Runa?  

Our engineers work on a challenging problem space: transforming traditional payment instruments to digital assets through highly scalable services, requiring minimum maintenance. We're looking for engineers who thrive in that challenge and who approach growth and learning with an open mindset. If you are interested in joining the team, take a look at our open roles here -