A Chat With Jo Wickremasinghe, VP of Product, Zoopla

Earlier This Year, Zoopla Launched It’s My Home Experience. Tell Us More About The Launch And How This Tool Will Benefit Consumers

In April we launched My Home, a place for homeowners to track their property and understand how its value is changing over time. This launch was very much the foundation of our ambition to use our technology to reimagine the property industry.

My Home is a truly differentiated product experience to make Zoopla the trusted and authoritative guide for homeowners.

Our commitment to innovation will give homeowners the confidence and tools to understand and manage their biggest asset throughout the entire ownership lifecycle – from purchase and moving in, all the way through to when they are ready to sell again. Using industry leading data and insight will keep them abreast of changes in their local housing market and when they are ready to sell, we’ll help them prepare and connect them to local agents who can get the best price for their home.


Zoopla Rebranded Recently. What Was The Role Of Your Team During This Process?

Over 5 months our teams replatformed our highest trafficked pages to our new front end technology stack, re-designing and optimising those pages to our new visual language, all in time for the launch.

This work came off the back of a replatforming project which we completed during 2020, where we moved from a monolithic legacy code base to a new architecture that enables us to safely and easily make multiple changes a day, carry out multivariate testings and apply rebrand elements with ease, leveraging our new design system. It’s been amazing to see the fruits of our replatforming through delivering the rebrand, and by continuing to evolve the consumer experience since then.



You’ve Been On A Hiring Spree Recently. What Are The Challenges Of Building A Team Remotely?

We have hired more than 150 people into our P&T function in the last 18 months, and at least half of those were hired and started remotely. Bringing in new staff, onboarding them, settling them into their product teams and creating and maintaining a culture has been quite a journey when you are doing it all remotely. I’ve been really proud of how we tackled this challenge at Zoopla.

Our IT and HR teams created a fantastic remote onboarding process to ensure everyone felt part of the Zoopla culture from day one. We’ve leveraged technology like Miro to make collaboration work and ensured communication at all levels of the organisation like weekly calls with the executive team, to monthly town halls and  Slack channels help new starters get a feel for the wider company culture and stay connected.

We have also been doing our best to have fun remotely, with virtual social events, quizzes, and regular smaller team events. Finally, we’ve recognised the need to support the mental health of all employees, encouraging flexible working to get people away from their desks, and giving additional days off to recharge like our Digital Detox Day earlier this year.


As A Senior Woman In Tech, What Advice Would You Give To Young Women Considering A Career In The Industry?

It’s great to see more women than ever in technology. At the lower and mid levels of tech teams we’re seeing a greater balance in gender diversity across teams, although we are not yet at 50%, and need to encourage more younger women to consider STEM roles. But the biggest challenge remains the low percentage of women in senior roles, not just in tech but across all business functions.

Whether you are male or female, getting promoted upwards requires you to demonstrate the level of leadership you aspire to. Be willing to take on extra responsibilities over and above your day job to prove you can do it. And be proactive talking about your (and your teams) successes. Women could do more to promote themselves!

Sponsors outside of your direct line management are also really important. Seek out mentors and sponsors, both to learn from and develop your thinking, but also to widen your network of individuals who will speak on your behalf when it comes time for promotions or finding a new job.

Finally, invest time in keeping your peer networks alive especially with other women in technology. I’ve got a couple of groups of women who I have worked with over the years, which I still meet with a few times a year. Apart from maintaining rewarding friendships, these are safe spaces with people that know you well, and usually on similar career paths through the tech world, so I find them the best places to get some perspective and find new ways to approach challenges at work or more generally as a working woman and mother.