About SoWork

Hi! Welcome to SoWork, where our mission is to build the place where great teams ❤️ to work. We are a super tight-knit team, founded at Harvard.

Nearly two decades ago (😱), a group of our teammates met playing World of Warcraft (Horde, obvi), and it completely changed the way we looked at teamwork, collaboration, and what was possible using social time online. Even though we were on three different continents at the time, we built real relationships, pwned Alliance noobs together, and became best friends. Now, we're out to build a massively multiplayer online workplace to power the new world of work.

As you're undoubtedly aware, the shift to remote and distributed work has unveiled some serious problems in communication, teamwork, culture-building, productivity, and collaboration, on even the best teams. Perhaps surprisingly, many of these problems mirror issues that gamers have solved in order to work together online for gaming (particularly in MMO-land). So, we're out to apply proven gaming principles to the business world to make remote, distributed, and hybrid work wonderful.

What we care about

  1. Helping work be awesome

    People spend 80% of their lives working, and that time should be as delightful as possible. We built Sophya to help people smile, make friends, and feel good while working.

  2. Helping people live flexible lives

    We think that people deserve to live the lives they want to. So we’re on a mission to unlock as many people as possible to work from anywhere.

  3. Our only planet: Earth! 🌎

    The more we can help online and remote work be great, the fewer miles of commuting, cars, parking lots, and downtown cores there have to be. That’s good for the planet.

Team SoWork

Alberto Rojas Fernández
Senior Full Stack Engineer

Hi, I'm a senior software engineer working from Spain. I love solving complex problems by building the smallest parts as possible! What I like the most is to play a bit of everything! I love working on different things to learn new things every day. When I'm not programming, you'll probably find me drinking coffee or playing a piece from the Final Fantasy game on my piano. And, of course, there's always time to play a video game.

What’s your favorite morning ritual?

I need the taste of coffee every morning, no matter if it is caffeinated or non-caffeinated. ☕ I check my emails and the slack channels and then, a cup of coffee on the balcony.

Alex Hugon
Product Designer

I'm a formally-trained programmer specializing in front-end web development. At Sophya, I work as a Product Designer focused on UI and UX. Outside of work, I'm an avid gamer, milkshake enjoyer, and recovering abdominalist. My favorite authors are Robert Jordan and Agatha Christie; my favorite movies are Zoolander and Muppet Treasure Island.

What’s your favorite morning ritual?

Enjoying the morning air with our two golden retrievers.

Alex Yu
Data Scientist

I'm a data scientist and software engineer here at Sophya. For data science, I work on analytics and experiments, and for software engineering I work in the front and back end. In my free time I skateboard and overdo Spotify playlists. I’m also a big Cowboys fan and am into health and fitness.

What do you have more than 20 of?

Bugs. Jk haha. Good playlists, can never get enough of them.

Amrit Hothi
Software Engineer

Hailing from sunny England. Studied and taught CS50 at Harvard. Before joining Sophya, I was building a project for the UN and social media platforms, focused on moderation. I work across the stack, building frontend and backend features. Graced by some awesome talented teammates here at Sophya, I get to learn from and build awesome shizz with people I love.

What fictional character(s) do you resonate with most (movies, books, games, TV, whatever)?

Dr. Strange.

Ana Marí
Graphic Artist

I work at Sophya as a 3D artist. I love role-playing games, fantasy series and horror movies. I studied Fine Arts because since I was a child I love drawing and painting, now I dedicate myself to make 3D art. I'm from Ibiza, Spain, but right now I live in the UK with my partner and our cat, Ori.

What fictional character(s) do you resonate with most (movies, books, games, TV, whatever)?

Guts from Berserk, Dustin from Stranger Things, Marty from Ozark, Clare from Claymore.

Ayse Baybars
Untitled Growth Generalist

Ayse cannot be contained in a paragraph and has liberated herself from the pesky confines of a title. Part golden retriever, part fox, she can be found prancing around the team bringing gifts from one part of the team to another, concocting magical potions in the dark. Lately, she's really enraptured with holistic experiences in Sophya and is eagerly awaiting the haptic suit. She does not believe in borders. Come find her in SoWork! Ask her about cheese. Or wine. Or the peacock motif.

When was the last time you treated yourself? What did you do?

A sashimi boat on March 6. It was actually too much. It conquered me.

Ben Bungert
Chief of Staff to the COO

The Chief of Staff to the COO at a fast growing startup is much like being a janitor at an elementary school. You spend your nights cleaning, polishing, and making the space perfect only to spend the day chasing people hell bent on making a mess. But I've always said, with a vacuum in one hand, a mop in the other, and a sassy comment or two there's nothing you can't accomplish.

What fictional character(s) do you resonate with most (movies, books, games, TV, whatever)?

I'll never stop wanting to be Scarlett Witch.

Colton Neves
Product Experience Designer

Colton's job requires him to be equal parts Moana, Sherlock, and Snape. Every day requires exploration under uncertainty (#howfarillgo), customer investigation (#elementary!), and magical experimentation (#betwixtthemind) - which is exactly his definition of fun. That and a cranium-sized mug of chocolate and butter infused coffee to slurp in the morning. He is at the ready to talk your ear off about sci-fi/fantasy, board games, and sugary foodstuffs.

What fictional character(s) do you resonate with most (movies, books, games, TV, whatever)?

Hermione Granger + Genie from Aladdin + Yumichika (Bleach Anime).

Connor Fitzgerald
Software Engineer

Connor is the Renderer in Chief for Sophya, he makes sure the artists' amazing art shows up on the screen efficiently and accurately. He is a self taught graphics and system programmer and loves immersing people in virtual worlds. When he is not battling graphics cards, he is petting his cat, riding his bike, or beating his coworkers in haxball.

What’s your favorite morning ritual?

Waking up late, getting yelled at by my cat for not feeding him, then eating a coffee yogurt.

Emma Giles
COO and Head of Growth

Hello! I'm one of the co-founders of Sophya. I'm an Australian, British, Canadian Kiwi currently living in Vancouver. When I'm not leading Growth, Ops, or working with our incredible team of Sophyans, I'm ultrarunning in the mountains and exploring North Van cafes. Come find me in SoWork and we can talk leading startups, building a high velocity learning Org, crafting high-performing teams, WFA and, the thing that powers it all: coffee, running and amazing teammates 🏃🏼‍♀️☕️

What’s your favorite morning ritual?

Waking up with the sunrise 🌅. Drinking Aussie-strength coffee ☕️. Going on a run in the mountains ⛰️.

Daniel Sanchez
Graphic Artist

As a set of molecules I am not bad at all, I could be better of course, but depending on how you look at it you can say that I am a pretty acceptable individual. Anyway, a series of magical stumbles have brought me here. To Sophya. As a 3D artist I help create unique things and worlds that I would like to be in, and hopefully many more people. I enjoy wandering and digressing. And I love to imagine absurd things all the time.

What do you have more than 20 of?

Definitely books, many many of them. And I usually think it's cool, but not now now that I have to move to a new house.

Dima Ayyash
User Experience and Research

I spend my time thinking about people's behaviors, goals, and preferences, and I work with my teammates to make sure that our product solves people's challenges and helps them achieve their goals. A generalist at heart, I dabbled in urban planning and cognitive neuroscience as an academic before making the jump to start-up land. In addition to uncovering the mysteries of human behavior, I like to spend my time cooking, running, climbing, people watching, traveling, and just living :)

When was the last time you treated yourself? What did you do?

Treat yourself everyday :)

Howard Kaplan

I like to say I've done everything you can do in an early stage startup except finance. I've written code. I've driven revenue. I've trained marketers how to think like (data) scientists, and scientists how to persuade like marketers (without lying 😱). I've created strategy and products and strategies to move product. I've led teams & I've learned through it all, all startups fail for the same reason: people.

When was the last time you treated yourself? What did you do?

Three words: mail order avocados.

Jesse Youngblood
Software Engineer Lead

Jesse is team lead of the lemon zesting department. He is deeply passionate about all of the intricacies of what it means to zest a lemon- the circumference, the depth of the microplane blades, the correct angle to maximize zest delivery, etc. He will never rest until he masters his craft.

What’s your favorite morning ritual?

Running. That’s why I try to never take a meeting before 9:30 ET, I really enjoy having the time to get a run in first.

Jiham Lee
Cloud Infrastructure Engineer

I am passionate about large scale infrastructure, seeking new and providing opportunities, crypto / NFTs, understanding people on a deeper level, and my pomeranians. In my free time, always doing side projects, educating and providing opportunities through computer science, and learning about web3. Also, I love getting to know people on a deeper level and hearing people's life stories!

What do you have more than 20 of?


José Bobillo
Head of Art

I'm the lead 3D artist and a software engineer at Sophya. I love to read fantasy, play videogames, go to the movies and practice any artistic activity. In World of Warcraft, I was a gnome warlock but sadly, now I live in Spain.

Two Truths and a Lie:

I'm vegan. I met my girlfriend in Japan, during a trip with a friend. I've run drunk on the highway.

Mark Liu

I'm the coding co-founder. I live to build simple systems to solve complex problems. I’m addicted to caffeine, and to the endorphin from crushing puzzles. I’m an Australian-Kiwi that was born in Taiwan, and I currently call Sydney home. In between work, I enjoy cooking, long walk on the beach, and killing randos in online games.

What’s your favorite morning ritual?

Watching the sunrise with a hot latte.

Michelle Zak
Digital Marketing

Born a visual designer, now a fully-fledged digital marketer, Michelle is yet one more of Sophya's resident magical unicorns. She believes strongly in the power of shared language and the joy in beauty. Outside the cloud, she can be found sharpening pencils, climbing mountains, and sipping espressos. Often all three at the same time. Hey, we said she's a unicorn.

What do you have more than 20 of?

Blank notebooks, #2 pencils, and plants.

Rudolf Newman
Software Engineer

Game Engineer and debug consultant. Outside of work I mull over game designs, keep up with new roguelites, and practice blues dancing.

What do you have more than 20 of?

Full notebooks, Reindeer decor, Pillows, Fidget toys.

Russ Bashaw
Design Unicorn

Hello! I'm a roaming adventurer, indie music enthusiast, backpacker, and traveling vagabond. Always searching for the cool side of the pillow with my border collie Rin.

What fictional character(s) do you resonate with most (movies, books, games, TV, whatever)?


Sergio Muñoz
Full Stack Engineer

Full Stack Engineer from Chile, currently living with my wife, my son, and dog, Bimba in Colombia. Previous to Sophya, I worked on fast-paced startups and wore many hats: CEO, CTO, Director of Tech, and PM. When I was younger (before the pandemic and kids 😂) I use to practice different sports, like climbing, skiing (freestyle, backcountry, and randone ski as well), Road Race Motorcycling, and Enduro, Downhill MTB. Now I play chess sometimes, and I'm returning to MTB and doing some ADV motorcycling.

What do you have more than 20 of?

Motorcycle races podiums, online courses bought

Utku Demir
Cloud Infrastructure Engineer

I work as a Cloud Infrastructure Engineer here at Sophya, trying to keep our servers happy until the inevitable machine uprising. I have been in a love-hate relationship with a variety of distributed backend technologies for more than ten years, but still enjoy simple solutions. Outside of work, I like reading science fiction short stories, working on hobby projects, and going to day hikes.

What’s your favorite morning ritual?

Snoozing my alarm every five minutes until my first meeting. It's my only morning ritual, so I guess it technically makes it my favorite.

Vanisa Punwani
Happiness Officer

Hello! I do many things at Sophya, most formally, I'm an Executive Assistant and Happiness Officer/Health & Wellness Coordinator. I focus on team prosperity, cohesion, and initiatives that build and maintain our Sophyan culture 💕. I'm also on Team Growth and work with our event and office customers, ensuring a lovely experience for all :) When I'm not working, you'll likely find me out for a stroll along the ocean, hiking/walking in the forrest, listening to live music, hanging with family and enjoying the little things.

What do you have more than 20 of?

Toques/beanies! All the colours, all the stylez!

Vinay Punwani
Software Engineer

Hello! Thanks for visiting my MySpace page! I'm an engineer at Sophya and I love creating fun and engaging user experiences for everyone. Before Sophya, I was involved in scientific research with viruses, front-end development with Shopify, and capturing Pokemon. I love traveling and can't wait to explore the world again. Currently living in Vancouver being perpetually indecisive about how to furnish my apartment...while exploring the water and the forests, learning a new language, and working my way through all the best french toast places in this town.

What’s your favorite morning ritual?

Making my latte and checking the $GME stock price.

Vishal Punwani
CEO, Spreader of Joy

Hello! I'm Vish. I'm here to make sure that your work-life is as insanely delightful as possible. Why? Because you deserve it!

I grew up in Jamaica, then Canada, then lived in Australia, Switzerland, and Boston. Maybe this is why I'm so keen on us breaking down work-borders. I went to medical school, did some emergency medicine, then shifted to full-time startups to really have the impact on the world that I was looking for. I've been gaming since I was 3, and involved in software and hardware since I was 10. I love all animals.

What’s your favorite morning ritual?

Waking up early, stumbling to the couch, playing 20-30mins of videogames to wake up while drinking decaf coffee.