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Blue Apron beefs up executive roles as it prepares for growth

May 11, 2016 01:36 PM
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Online meal delivery service Blue Apron Inc. has hired mobile location-based app Foursquare’s head of engineering and has added an Amazon veteran to help build out technology and fulfillment systems.

Blue Apron, No. 231 in the Internet Retailer 2016 Top 500 Guide, hired Andrew Hogue as vice president of engineering, a new role. Hogue starts May 23. Hogue comes to Blue Apron from Foursquare, where he had been since November 2011, most recently as senior vice president of engineering. Prior to Foursquare, Hogue spent more than 7 years in engineering at search giant Google Inc.

Hogue will oversee development of Blue Apron’s proprietary software, which manages everything from its customer-facing website to the logistics of shipping about 8 million meals per month, according to Blue Apron chief technology officer and founder Ilia Papas.

“There’s not a lot of software that can help us run a business like ours, so we’ve had to build it from scratch,” Papas says.

Last year, its third in business, Blue Apron generated Internet Retailer-estimated web sales of $117.0 million, up 80% from $65.0 million in 2014 according to data from Top500Guide.com. Papas says because the company is growing so fast, he’s had to hire a lot of engineers. In the past year alone, Blue Apron’s engineering staff has grown to 35 from 10. With business still growing, he’ll look to Hogue to help attract and retain talent.

“He has experience running large teams,” Papas says. “Bringing in strong, seasoned leadership is critical to making sure we’re set up for success.”

Blue Apron has three fulfillment centers in Texas, New Jersey and California. Papas says the company plans to add fulfillment centers, though he didn’t specify locations or a timeframe.

With that in mind, the retailer also hired Victor Estevez from Amazon.com Inc. (No. 1 in the Top 500) as director of engineering. Estevez had spent his career with Amazon, joining the online retail giant in June 2006 as a software development engineer and becoming a software development manager before leaving in February, according to his LinkedIn profile.

“Victor, coming from Amazon, has worked with warehouse systems and demand planning,” Papas says. “He’s very strong on fulfillment. It’s no secret that Amazon has accomplished a lot in logistics. Our logistical challenges are extremely complicated. Having someone who has experience dealing with difficult logistical processes and who can marry that with technology is a huge benefit to us.”

According to CrunchBase, Blue Apron has raised $193 million across four funding rounds, including a $135 million Series D round led by financial services provider Fidelity Investments in June.
 

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