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Chief Operating Officer

  • London, England, United Kingdom
£90,000 per yearExecutive

Job description

Salary: £90,000-£110,000


Modern Synthesis is crafting the next generation of biomaterials by connecting the dots between biology, material science and design. We’re on a mission to create sustainable materials which reduce the fashion industry’s dependence on petrochemicals - without sacrificing performance or creativity. Our first material, which is grown by bacteria, is fully biodegradable and astonishingly strong. You can read more about it on our website

We believe that big magic happens when disparate disciplines, perspectives and ideas collide. As a team of biologists, chemists, designers, engineers, business experts, robots and microbes, we get to witness this magic on a daily basis. From our strong culture of debate (hot takes always welcome 🌶️) to our bi-weekly deep dives, we intentionally embed collaboration and growth into everything we do.

We hire people, not roles, so we can be flexible on scope. We strongly encourage you to apply if you think you’re qualified for a portion of this role, and can demonstrate a proven ability to take on new skills and challenges.


We're seeking a dynamic and visionary Chief Operating Officer (COO) to join our leadership team. You’ll help propel us to new heights as we embark on the next growth stage of our business. Reporting directly to the CEO, you will have a pivotal role in setting and executing our operational strategy and fostering innovation in our manufacturing process. You will be at the forefront of leading a team dedicated to pushing the boundaries of material technologies.


  • Lead the development and execution of the company's operational strategy, ensuring alignment with our mission and vision

  • Build and manage a high-performing team across various functions, fostering a culture of innovation and collaboration

  • Oversee end-to-end operations, with an immediate focus on scaling our manufacturing, supply chain, and quality control

  • Proactively and collaboratively work with the CEO and CTO to define short-term and long-term growth objectives, translating them into actionable plans

  • Drive operational excellence through data-driven decision-making, performance metrics, and continuous improvement initiatives

  • Develop and manage strategic partnerships and collaborations to enhance our competitive position in the biomaterials industry

  • Champion a culture of excellence, safety, sustainability, and compliance in all operational activities

  • Report to Investors and Board by providing operational insights and strategies

Job requirements


  • Proven track record of 5+ years in senior leadership role(s), with experience of growing and leading a team in a manufacturing setting

  • Expert understanding of manufacturing processes

  • Experience in scaling operations, with a passion for innovation and disruption

  • Strong strategic thinking and problem-solving skills, adept at turning challenges into opportunities

  • Exceptional communication and interpersonal skills to engage with employees and stakeholders at all levels

  • Demonstrated ability to navigate ambiguity and make decisions in a fast-paced, rapidly evolving environment


The following skills and experience are not required for the role, but would be beneficial for a successful applicant:

  • Experience in a pre-revenue Startup or rapid-growth organisation

  • Experience working in textiles, composites, or coatings industries

  • A passion for innovation within the fashion/textiles industry


  • Company pension scheme

  • Private Health Insurance, including vision and stipends

  • Enhanced Parental Leave Policy

  • Hybrid working arrangements & flexible working hours

  • Cycle-to-work Scheme

  • Wellbeing benefits including Headspace subscription

  • Dog-friendly office in South West London

  • Support from world class investors and advisors

  • Individual training budget for professional development


Co-Culture - We Co-Culture Change
Co-Culture reflects our commitment to cross-pollination internally and externally, our ability to lean on one another, and our role as a catalyst in both business and culture.

Growth - We Put Growth on a Pedestal
Growth speaks to our inspiration and creative use of biology, our bias towards impact and scale, and our dedication to empowering industry to ‘grow up’ from a harmful past.

By Design - We Do It All By Design
By Design articulates the intentionality, empathy and creativity built into every aspect of our work. It also denotes the importance of accountability and our adherence to core design thinking principles.


Round 0. Apply online 

Round 1. 30 minute phone interview where we’ll dive into your work history and motivations for applying to Modern Synthesis

Round 2. 1 hour skills interview where we’ll explore the skills and knowledge you’ll bring to this role

Round 3. 1 hour on-site interview where you’ll present to our panel and we’ll discuss how work at Modern Synthesis aligns with your values and future plans

Round 4. An on-site informal cultural-fit interview where you will meet with members of our team and discuss working at Modern Synthesis


Innovation rarely happens in a vacuum. The greatest ideas stem from a variety of perspectives, and an environment that supports equal representation and opportunities for all.

We are committed to driving global change. We only have one planet we all call home, and we need to work together to protect it. We believe in collaboration and a culture of debate. Disagreements are a chance to refocus our direction. We call this co-culture.

We welcome people of all races, genders, religions, ages, backgrounds, and abilities to our workplace and are committed to ensuring all our employees are safe, heard, represented and provided with every opportunity to thrive.

Equally we will act with integrity, purpose and respect in everything we do. We too are human. We will likely make mistakes and need to continue evolving our approach to ED&I as the world around us changes.