Manager, Machine Learning



Software Engineering
Posted on Saturday, January 20, 2024

About Upstart

Upstart is a leading AI lending marketplace partnering with banks and credit unions to expand access to affordable credit. By leveraging Upstart's AI marketplace, Upstart-powered banks and credit unions can have higher approval rates and lower loss rates across races, ages, and genders, while simultaneously delivering the exceptional digital-first lending experience their customers demand. More than two-thirds of Upstart loans are approved instantly and are fully automated.

Upstart is a digital-first company, which means that most Upstarters can live and work anywhere in the U.S. We also have offices in San Mateo, California; Columbus, Ohio; and Austin, Texas.

Most Upstarters join us because they connect with our mission of enabling access to effortless credit based on true risk. If you are energized by the impact you can make at Upstart, we’d love to hear from you!

The Team

Upstart’s Auto Lending team is changing the car buying experience. We are the first of its kind to build the most sophisticated machine learning models that are revolutionizing the car buying experience. We’re a fun-loving, hard working group of trail blazers who believe anything is possible with the right team. Our product offers a fully end-to-end digital lending experience which includes our leading AI lending technology. With 53% fewer defaults at the same approval rate and 5x more risk separation than Fico, we are truly changing the game.

At the heart of the Auto loan product sits our underwriting models that evaluate the risk of every applicant. The Auto underwriting ML team is responsible for researching and building these models and therefore have a direct impact on our company’s success. The team is part of the Machine Learning organization and consists of Research Scientists, Data Scientists, and ML Engineers.

Because our challenges are so new, members of the team need strong creative problem-solving skills and the technical background to implement solutions. Our research environment affords team members the opportunity to utilize a variety of statistical and machine learning methods with the freedom and encouragement to pursue alternative approaches to solving problems. We are continuously seeking the next big ideas to move our business forward.

The Role

The Auto underwriting ML team has grown significantly in size in the last couple of years and is looking for leaders that can own parts of the underwriting process and make meaningful improvements to them. As a ML Manager you will lead a team of 2-4 research scientists and data scientists, and report directly to the Auto underwriting ML manager.

  • Position Location - This role is available in the following locations: Columbus, Austin, San Mateo, or Remote
  • Time Zone Requirements - This team operates on either the East or West Coast time zones.
  • Travel Requirements - This team has regular on-site collaboration sessions six times annually split between our San Mateo, Columbus, or Austin office locations. If you need to travel to make these meetups, Upstart will cover all travel related expenses.

How you’ll make an impact:

  • Lead your team to apply state-of-the-art machine learning methods (e.g. neural networks, gradient boosting methods for survival time prediction, model ensembling and stacking) to a critical prediction problem (credit risk) where machine learning is not widely applied and the optimal solutions are not known.
  • Search for new variables, either internal to Upstart, or from external vendors, that can improve our underwriting models’ performance.
  • Work closely with stakeholders to communicate their findings and suggest solutions to issues.
  • Along with your team and others, assume responsibility for the performance of Upstart’s loan originations for your product.

Minimum qualifications:

  • Strong academic credentials with a Masters Degree in computer science, statistics, mathematics, or other quantitative areas of study
  • 4+ years experience in ML projects for high impact products in the real world
  • 1+ Years of people management experience or tech lead
  • Excellent knowledge in applied statistical methods and machine learning models.
  • Proficiency with Python and ability to write bug-free and well-documented code that runs well and is easily understood.
  • Adeptness in dealing with technical challenges and trade-offs; ability to make reasonable decisions under uncertainty; and to prioritize effectively
  • Capable of leading team members on technical best practices, providing constructive feedback and mentoring to junior Data Scientist
  • Ability to provide comprehensive and useful design and methodology reviews for ML/DS projects
  • Strong written and oral communication skills., ability to translate technical concepts to a non-technical audience
  • Ability to navigate and work well with cross-functional stakeholders on projects with an understanding of how to deliver appropriate amount of technical communication to stakeholders to serve team or business needs

Preferred qualifications:

  • Ph.D. in statistics, Applied Mathematics or quantitative degree is preferred
  • Prior experience managing teams that build machine learning models, prepare them for production, and make large, direct contributions to a business’ profitability
  • Consumer lending knowledge and/or experience within an ML-centric technology company

What you'll love:

  • Competitive compensation (base + bonus & equity)
  • Comprehensive medical, dental, and vision coverage with Health Savings Account contributions from Upstart
  • 401(k) with 100% company match up to $4,500 and immediate vesting and after-tax savings
  • Employee Stock Purchase Plan (ESPP)
  • Life and disability insurance
  • Generous holiday, vacation, sick and safety leave
  • Supportive parental, family care, and military leave programs
  • Annual wellness, technology & ergonomic reimbursement programs
  • Social activities including team events and onsites, all-company updates, employee resource groups (ERGs), and other interest groups such as book clubs, fitness, investing, and volunteering
  • Catered lunches + snacks & drinks when working in offices



At Upstart, your base pay is one part of your total compensation package. The anticipated base salary for this position is expected to be within the below range. Your actual base pay will depend on your geographic location–with our “digital first” philosophy, Upstart uses compensation regions that vary depending on location. Individual pay is also determined by job-related skills, experience, and relevant education or training. Your recruiter can share more about the specific salary range for your preferred location during the hiring process.

In addition, Upstart provides employees with target bonuses, equity compensation, and generous benefits packages (including medical, dental, vision, and 401k).

United States | Remote - Anticipated Base Salary Range
$169,900$235,000 USD

Upstart is a proud Equal Opportunity Employer. We are dedicated to ensuring that underrepresented classes receive better access to affordable credit, and are just as committed to embracing diversity and inclusion in our hiring practices. We celebrate all cultures, backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences, and know that we can only become better together.