Jilles van Gurp

Jilles van Gurp photo

CTO@FORMATION, consultant, Berlin Germany

Seasoned tech entrepreneur and CTO with a track record of driving innovation and leading top-tier technology teams.

  • Expert in Search Engines (ElasticSearch, Opensearch, etc.), Geospatial Technologies, and Server-side Cloud Architectures
  • Proven Leadership in Remote Team Management and Agile Team Management
  • Skilled in Entrepreneurship, Technical Consulting, and Conducting Team Workshops and Troubleshooting Sessions

About Jilles

Dr. Jilles van Gurp is an accomplished technology leader with a strong track record of founding and running innovative startups and leading technology teams to create breakthrough products. With over two decades of deep expertise in search engines, geospatial technologies, and agile team management, he excels in crafting technical strategies and solving complex problems to drive product development and achieve long-term strategic value.

Currently serving as the CTO at FORMATION Gmbh in Berlin, Jilles leverages his extensive experience to drive strategic and technical advancements.

A serial founder and troubleshooter, Jilles brings decades of expertise in software innovation, team leadership, and product development. His professional journey includes pivotal roles such as Senior Researcher at Nokia Research in Finland and Principal Engineer at Nokia Maps/Here in Berlin. As a search engine consultant, Jilles has collaborated with industry giants like BCG Digital Ventures, Soundcloud, Bertelsmann Group, and many smaller companies addressing their search challenges and driving product excellence.

Before FORMATION, Jilles co-founded Localstream with Mark Macmahon. Localstream was acquired by Linko, which later renamed to Inbot where Jilles lead the team as the CTO until the company folded in 2018. In recent years, Jilles has mentored several startups via Techstars and in his Berlin network.


Technical Expertise

  • Search Technologies: 20+ years of experience with Lucene, Solr, and Elasticsearch. Developer of kt-search, a multi-platform Kotlin client for Elasticsearch & Opensearch.
  • Geospatial Technologies: Expertise in geo hashes and geometric shapes with geo coordinates. Creator of geogeometry.
  • Cloud Architectures: Skilled in designing and implementing server-side cloud architectures to support scalable and robust applications.

Leadership and Management

  • Team Leadership: Proven ability to build and lead agile teams. Experience mentoring individuals at all professional levels and from diverse backgrounds.
  • Remote Team Management: Successfully leading and managing remote teams, ensuring productivity and collaboration across different time zones.
  • Agile Methodologies: Deep understanding of agile team management and implementing agile practices to enhance team performance and product development.

Strategic and Technical Consulting

  • Technical Roadmaps: Expertise in developing technical roadmaps and tackling strategic questions with a focus on pragmatic, early releases for long-term value.
  • Problem Solving: Pragmatic problem solver with a fan of lateral & end-to-end thinking. Adept at iterative development and finding innovative solutions to complex problems.
  • Search Quality Improvement: Developer of Rankquest Studio, a tool to benchmark search relevance metrics, helping clients improve search ranking and performance.

Workshops and Trainings

  • Team Workshops: Conducts effective workshops to troubleshoot team issues, improve workflows, and enhance technical skills.
  • Training and Mentoring: Provides comprehensive training sessions and mentoring to skill up teams in search architecture, vector search, and Elasticsearch/OpenSearch. In recent years, Jilles has also mentored several startups via Techstars and in his Berlin network on how to run their tech teams, product and technical strategy and other challenges that startup founders face.

Performance Optimization

  • Query and Mapping Tuning: Expert in performance tuning queries and mappings for faster performance and lower cost. Offers quick analysis and recommendations for performance issues.
  • ETL and Architecture Reviews: Conducts detailed reviews of ETL processes and overall architecture to ensure optimal performance and scalability.

Interpersonal Skills

  • Natural Team Player: Strong interpersonal skills, fostering a collaborative and supportive team environment.
  • Effective Communication: Clear and concise communicator, able to convey complex technical concepts to non-technical stakeholders.

Feel free to reach out by email for setting up a short call on how I can help you. I’m available for either short & focused projects or on a part time/retainer basis. I generally start with a discovery project to see how we can help each other where I talk to different stakeholders in your company to get a feel for what is needed.


I maintain several projects on Github that relate to my activities as a consultant and that we use at FORMATION as part of our product platform. Here is a small selection of things I’ve recently worked on:

  • rankquest-studio Rankquest Studio is a web based tool that you can use to benchmark search relevance metrics for your search APIs. You can try the latest version here.
  • kt-search Multi platform kotlin client for Elasticsearch & Opensearch with easily extendable Kotlin DSLs for queries, mappings, bulk, and more.
  • querylight Querylight is an in memory, kotlin multi platform text indexing library that implements tf/idf and a minimal query language. Great for client side search in web apps, android or other Kotlin apps.
  • geogeometry GeoGeometry is a set of algorithms and functions for manipulating geo hashes and geometric shapes with geo coordinates. We use this at FORMATION and this library has served me well in my various startups.
  • more


  • Email: jilles AT jillesvangurp.com
  • Cellphone: +49-176-6189-5701. I’m also on WhatsApp and Signal. Please coordinate asynchronously before calling. I prefer video calls.
  • Github
  • Linkedin
  • Twitter
  • Mastodon
  • Generally @jillesvangurp on anything I use. That handle, like my name, is globally unique.

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