UK start-up Duffel brings in new CTO from fintech firm GoCardless

Norberto Lopes worked with Duffel founder Steve Domin at payments firm

UK start-up Duffel has appointed a new chief technology officer from the payments industry.

Norberto Lopes joins the firm following last year’s $51 million investment from backers including Index Ventures and Benchmark.

He was formerly a senior engineer at high-profile British fintech GoCardless, where he worked with Duffel co-founder and chief executive Steve Domin.

Domin said: “Norberto and I worked closely together at GoCardless, and he is one of the finest engineers I’ve had the chance to work with.

“On top of that, he has a rare ability to build teams that not only execute to the highest standard, but where everyone feels proud and included in the journey of creating something really impressive.

“He’s worked on products in some of the most demanding areas of gaming and fintech, so I’m excited to see the impact he’s going to have at Duffel, and in the travel industry more broadly.”

Duffel is a travel technology firm aiming to make the selling of airfares online more simple and open to a wider range of distributors.

It has signed up airline partners such as American Airlines, Qatar Airways, British Airways, Lufthansa Group and Cathay Pacific alongside a number of OTAs.

Duffel’s first Flight Platform product includes API feeds and digital plug-ins that enable anyone to sell flight products.

The technology takes advantage of Iata’s New Distribution Capability (NDC) data standard which allows airlines and retailers to connect more directly and merchandise airfares.

The firm says it technology “has the potential to do for travel what open banking did for financial services – democratising and enriching the experience for consumers, by making the process of booking flights richer and more seamless”.

At GoCardless Lopes led one of the largest engineering groups and was said to be the driving force behind the migration of the company’s software infrastructure to the cloud.

Before GoCardless, he worked in one of the systems engineering teams at the California HQ of Blizzard Entertainment, the global gaming company behind World of Warcraft.

He said: “I’m thrilled to be at Duffel, helping to lead such a bright team, at such a challenging time, in such a complex industry.

“Engineers like solving problems, so the fact that the travel industry is so intricate energises me.

“Travel is burdened with lots of legacy infrastructure that’s evolved in lockstep with computing over the past 70 years.

“Now that we have so much more technology at our fingertips, I hope to help Duffel build the best possible products to drive the sector forward and make people’s lives easier – not just for travellers, but for the hundreds of thousands of travel agents and airlines out there whom we can and must delight.

“I believe work should be an authentic endeavour. I’ll be hiring engineers with an eye to creating and maintaining a culture that prizes diversity, creativity and excellence.

“I’m also looking forward to collaborating closely with development teams at airlines and travel agency partners.”