Chief Operating Officer
Nairobi (preferred)
US East Coast (acceptable)

The world’s leading humanitarian, development and global health organizations rely on Ona to improve their impact and accountability. Using mapping and data technologies from its namesake mobile survey platform, Ona builds mobile apps such OpenSRP, which helps community health workers deliver services more effectively to rural families and Canopy, an enterprise analytics platform created specifically for international development organizations. Ona has offices in Nairobi, Kenya and in Burlington, VT, New York, NY, and Washington DC.

Ona works with its partners to develop data solutions based on technologies Ona develops. These include Ona Data - a mobile data collection and visualization platform, Canopy - our new enterprise analytics solution and OpenSRP a mobile health platform Ona is developing with the World Health Organization.


The COO will work alongside the CEO, CTO and the senior management team to execute the company vision, put procedures and resources in place to scale, optimize inefficient areas in the organization and coordinate with department heads. Our ideal COO has at least 15 years of experience working with Information Technology Companies. The candidate is expected to have a strong understanding of the operational requirements and insights into how Ona can be taken to the next level.

This role will be responsible for running the day-to-day operations of the company, providing daily leadership and management, and being a visionary partner.

The selected individual will introduce proper operational controls, administrative and reporting procedures, and systems to effectively grow the organization and to ensure financial strength and operating efficiency.

Outcomes and key responsibilities

  • Strategic design, implementation and evaluation

    • To spearhead the development and advancement of the firm’s strategic operating plan.
    • Will provide valuable guidance to the CEO on developing and achieving annual OKRs.
    • Communicate the strategic plan to the whole team to ensure support; modify plans in response to changing internal and external factors.
    • Should have a strong business centric mindset, with the ability to utilize sound business judgment for a tailored approach to drive business outcomes
  • Leadership

    • Take the lead in providing strategic direction guide decision making, provide mentorship and work on a day to day basis with the Director of Client Solutions, Kenya Director, Operations Manager and Project Managers (PMs).
  • Operations

    • Ensure proper operational controls, administrative and reporting procedures, and systems to effectively grow the organization and to ensure financial strength and operating efficiency.
    • Measure effectiveness and efficiency of operational processes both internally and externally and finds ways to improve processes.
  • Finance

    • Oversee long-term financial management, budgetary planning and cost management systems and controls in alignment with the company’s strategic plan.
    • Take the lead in annual audits; identify and coordinate audit process with selected audit firms.
    • Advise, design and review the annual operating budget.
    • Ensure all tax requirements are adhered to and met for all entities and locations.
    • Continuous improvement around the systems and tools used to provide critical financial and operational information to the CEO, and make actionable recommendations on both strategy and operations.
    • Provide recommendations for continuous improvement processes and procedures around operations and finance preparing a platform for continuous growth.
  • Legal

    • Ensure regulatory compliance for all entities and locations are met. This include all statutory requirements, financial, taxation, registration, establishment in different locations and adhering to local employment law etc.
    • Work closely with legal counsel in risk mitigation.
  • Business development

    • Engage the CEO around issues, trends, and changes in the operating model and operational delivery.
    • With the support from the Director of Client Solutions be able to meet with new clients and explain Ona’s offerings. This requires an ability to quickly translate requirements into formalized proposals and budget.
    • Help review and ensure proper contracting processes with clients.
    • Coordinate with PMs and tech leads to allocate resources.
    • Review current active projects. Provide oversight to PMs to help ensure they are on time and on budget.
  • Relationship management

    • Represent the company externally, including to clients, regulators, professional firms, market counterparties, and in conferences and meetings.
    • Work closely with the marketing team to define long term business development strategy.
  • People strategy

    • Oversee and advance the firm’s processes and policies relating to talent management.
    • Advise, advance and oversee the firm’s remuneration processes and policies.
    • Promote a culture of continuous improvement, curiosity, transparency and velocity.
    • Help set the tone for the organizational culture, perpetuating the company's corporate vision.

Qualifications and experience

  • Essential

    • Has led the rapid growth of companies finance, team, or operational oversight.
    • 15 years of experience, 5-8 acceptable if strongly relevant experience.
    • MBA or equivalent degree
    • Excellent financial management skills, including budget monitoring, donor compliance and maximizing financial performance.
    • Proven record of excellent people skills, including good communication and interpersonal skills.
    • Fluency in written and spoken English.
    • Ability to take appropriate action or make the best decision both by facing the facts and embracing ambiguity.
    • Willingness to get into the trenches and to do the hard work.
    • Sensitivity to cultural differences and the ability to adapt to different contexts.
    • Willing and able to travel.
  • Desirable

    • Prior experience in technology and engineering.
    • Prior experience working for a consulting company or tech company ideal.
    • Startup experience is helpful but not critical.
    • Experience with contract and M&A law.
    • Fluency in an additional language.
    • Experience in international development / humanitarian / ICT4D.

If based in the US, open to travel 40% of the time.

To apply

Please send the following to

  • Cover letter describing why you are interested in this position and working at Ona.
  • Resume or CV.

Please note that resumes will be reviewed as soon as received. Only short-listed candidates will be contacted.