“What happens a lot of times in corporations is you find that decisions are made that can’t be questioned,” says CEO Shekar Ramen. “We don’t have any of that and we want to maintain the flat nature of our company as much as possible.”
SpotHero, an on-demand app that helps drivers find parking spots, is at a turning point in its growth. The company grew from 35 employees to 75 in 2015, and is currently hiring for about 20 positions. The company is working to create policies that will keep everyone engaged and the business moving forward.
In the Street Culture column we launched in 2015, Street Fight began looking more closely at the clever, fun, and smart ways startups in the hyperlocal industry are building culture into their organizations as they scale. No two companies we spoke with were the same, but many are driving their cultures along the same tracks. Based on our interviews, here are the top four culture-focused priorities for startups to address in 2016.
Marketing technology company Connectivity went from a 20-person company to an 80-person company in a year and a half, and it’s poised to continue accelerating. Part of Connectivity’s success stems from fostering experimentation. “We always want to hire people who are entrepreneurs themselves, and let them know that they’re not going to get in trouble for failing,” said CEO Matt Booth.
Major real estate development projects like Manhattan’s 3 World Trade Center cost billions, and budget overruns often delay construction. Enter Fundrise: The company’s technology opens doors for individuals who want to invest in local real estate developments, but maybe don’t have millions of dollars lying around. Fundrise has seen 1,500 percent growth in deal volume since May 2014.
On-demand grocery shopping and delivery service Instacart is make headway at disrupting a multi-billion-dollar industry. Driving that effort is a relentless focus on satisfying customers. “One policy we’ve implemented at Instacart is that every employee, from the engineers up to our CEO, goes out shopping once a quarter to get an understanding of being a shopper and how our service affects the customer. Everybody here does it,” says vice president of people Mathew Caldwell.
When you’re fast-growing startup company, the most important thing is hiring the right people. That means people who can do the job, and also, in some cases, people who are willing to build desks, said Justin Donnarumma, director of sales at Signpost, a marketing automation technology company that launched in 2010. “That’s the kind of scrappiness we look for in new hires.”
Hiring isn’t rocket science. It’s pretty simple to create basic procedures that turn hiring into a standard company practice. But it does takes time and concerted effort. For Cat Hernandez, talent partner at investment firm Primary Venture Partners, it starts with making sure that everyone in the company is closely aligned with whatever the company is trying to achieve.