We speak with Roberto Sasso, our new CTO, to get his story of how he rose to the position and became one of the most influential CTOs in Italy.
We’re thrilled to announce that Roberto Sasso has joined us as CTO. Roberto has over twenty years of experience in software development and architecture and has been CTO to multiple businesses across industries, including being former shareholder and part of the team that built Cube Controls. He’s also the ambassador for the largest Italian accelerator in London, with over 25,000 members: Techitalia.
Roberto is one of those characters who has a talent for joining a business and steering them in the right direction, regardless of their industry. Whether that’s helping develop racing controllers or helping food delivery firms during a multi-million acquisition. We sat down with Roberto to find out his story and how he came to join us.
“My professional life started at about 15 or 16. The internet had just started to become popular and I was in this small town in Italy called Matera,” Roberto said. “Nobody wanted to spend too much jumping on this trend, so I started building websites for local companies.”
A techie and gamer at heart, Roberto quickly became known as the go-to whizz-kid in his local community. He built sites to showcase their goods and cut his teeth making websites. And it soon became apparent that he had a knack for making hardware work.
“Those same store owners who came to me for websites started needing help hooking up their computers,” Roberto explained. “So I began trailing ethernet cables between floors and setting up their servers.”
Soon after helping his local town, he joined a web development agency as a software developer. His first ten years in a professional company was spent between system administration and software development. But after ten years, it was clear he’d learnt all he could.
“I was a good builder,” Roberto said. “If it was inside a computer, I could make it: websites, apps, backend systems – it didn’t matter.”
Eventually, Roberto found himself at Yoox, an Italian fashion retailer – and the first unicorn of its type in the country. As is typical for an organisation like Yoox, there had been thousands of programmers writing code for years. Hidden in this spaghetti was a tiny bug.
“I came in one day and heard two people talking about the problem,” Roberto said. “Thankfully, I figured out the issue and chimed in to tell them their assumptions were wrong and that I thought I knew the real reason for the problem. They brought me onto the team to fix the issue and it ended up saving the company millions.”
After that, Roberto was on their radar. He was promoted again and again, eventually becoming their software architect – setting the rules and guidelines for over 2,000 engineers.
“I needed to manage the huge-scale architecture, the data centres and help the teams which were expanding at lightspeed,” said Roberto. “It was all about scalability.”
After his stint at Yoox, Roberto joined a relatively new Italian company: PizzaBo. And had to manage two acquisitions back to back.
“PizzaBo was extremely important for Italy. It was essentially doing the same thing as JustEat, but was the first company doing it in Italy,” Roberto said. “I joined them and became CTO, helping them set up their infrastructure and overseeing their data centres.”
But it wasn’t long before PizzaBo merged with Rocket Internet in 2015. And then was acquired by JustEat itself in 2016.
After all that experience as CTO, and advising various different teams, Roberto was ready to start following his dreams. He had the knowledge – but had become tired of hopping from one industry to the other.
“I love motorsports and racing cars, so I’m steering my life towards gaming,” he said. “It’s a different vibe and I’ve wanted to enter into the industry for a long time. Now was the time.”
In 2018, Roberto became a shareholder for Cube Controls – who make hyper-realistic controllers for racing games – and was one of the team members who built the company. For four years, Roberto has helped to make these controllers loved by the best esports racers in the world.
And now, we’re thrilled that he’s joining us as CTO. He’ll be looking after the changes to our platform and refining the technology to make it as smooth as possible.