Street Culture: Cuebiq’s Aggressive Growth Bolstered by Candid Culture
In less than two years, location intelligence firm Cuebiq has grown to about 30 people, with employees stationed in multiple offices in the U.S. and in Milan, Italy.
Cuebiq is a spin-off of Beintoo, a European mobile marketing company that CEO Antonio Tomarchio previously led before handing off the company to new leadership.
Tomarchio says that the company experienced an especially aggressive growth spurt in the past six months, and now he expects a new office in San Francisco to be up and running by May. While it can be a challenge coordinating communication between multiple remote office locations, Tomarchio says the main thing he aims for is transparency.
“We are a company that values transparency,” he says. “Every month we present to all the people across the company everything that’s going on. I believe that not only it’s the right thing to do, but also that it’s always the best long-term strategy for success. Once people trust you, the relationship will have a high retention rate, and that’s going to help with client relationships, for instance.”
One way Cuebiq has implemented this strategy is by involving employees with different processes, such as hiring. Tomarchio says he created a search committee comprised of some of the current employees, so that they are actively involved in hiring choices.
“These kinds of things, especially in a company that is experiencing a lot of change, is really important,” he says. “The employees don’t have to second guess what is happening; it creates an environment where people feel they are part of the company.”
In the last year, only one employee chose to leave the company, Tomarchio says, which speaks to how this type of candid openness and respect-building culture can affect employee retention.
“People feel they can speak out, they feel they can raise an issue if they need to,” he says.
This is also a way that many startup leaders maintain growth momentum — by creating an approachable environment emphasizing transparency, trust, and respect, employees are encouraged to communicate potential problems.
“If employees speak out, we can quickly identify any kind of issue, whether it’s a motivation issue or conflict between departments; it helps to resolve issues in a very fast manner,” Tomarchio says.
This occurred in December, he says, when the fast-growing Cuebiq introduced a new customer success team.
“The addition of the new team just a few months ago, there was an overlap with the operations team with both teams communicating to the client,” he says. “If these people felt they couldn’t speak openly, that overlap could have accumulated this frustration and prevented it from being resolved in a very fast way.”
Cuebiq employees receive more and more responsibility, Tomarchio says, if they problem-solve and communicate well with other team members. He says that many of the current team have grown significantly in the past year.
“When you are in a company that is growing well, you need people who are able to be autonomous,” Tomarchio says. “Who are able to take the responsibility to solve problems. And we reward this kind of mindset. A growth mindset is what we love in the people working for us. We also tell [employees] that this is a company where you can grow quickly. You can gain more responsibilities quickly if you show that you are achieving and performing; you will have a very interesting and fast growth path.”
Currently, Cuebiq is still new enough and small enough to hold company-wide meetings at least once a year. In December, the whole team traveled to the ski resort town Livigno in the Italian Alps, but Tomarchio says he’s already planning about how to scale those types of team-building trips.
“A reasonable investment can be maintained for activities like this, even as the company grows,” he says. “When we add new people, we’re just looking for people who believe in this principle of transparency. Transparency creates trust. When people know what’s going on and they trust the company, it creates a very positive environment. Where people do not fear, they trust what is happening with the company because they know what is happening.”
April Nowicki is a contributor at Street Fight.