“We are a company that values transparency,” says the company’s CEO, Antonio Tomarchio. “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.”
For many locally focused tech companies — including NextDoor, SweetIQ, ibotta and G/O Digital — transparent sharing and openness at all levels is inviting a new workplace generation led by women.
“The culture starts at the top and stays with the top and there is nothing more important than leading by example in that respect,” says CEO Kristen Stiles. Her company, Sitter.me, connects parents with local babysitters.
New tech startups might not have a formula to create culture, but many leaders consider culture an important component for success. Though every company is different, some trends emerge: leaders must be transparent, they must hire for fit, and they must give employees a way to feel that they partially own the company.
Digital media company Captivate announced today that it is teaming up with location analytics firm Placed to measure when consumers visit in-store locations after seeing digital ads in elevators. Consumers exposed to Captivate’s digital screens are cross-referenced with Placed’s app users to offer a new location visit measurement KPI.
“There has to be a process around the strategy to support the goals of others,” says founder David Pachter. “The people driving innovation are the ones on the front lines, working with clients and products. That groundswell of direction and changes, they don’t happen if you don’t have open channels of communication.”
“It’s been a challenge as we grow with how to disseminate information,” the company’s HR vice-president Alison Meadows told Street Fight. “We’ve been conscious about getting the next level of leaders below the senior leaders involved in decisions, because they’re going to have to roll them out.”
“Startup culture is very unique,” says Stylu’s CEO Justin Colombo. “There’s no such thing as rules. It’s good to have structure, but we’re very open-minded. We’re just moving forward naturally according to our culture and our style.”
The company offers a number of perks, including membership stock shares making each employee an equity owner. “That’s the kind of tactical ownership that we’re going for,” says CEO Ari Kaufman. “Make everyone own a piece of the company. This is your company. Give a sh*t about it — it’s yours.”
The six-year-old software startup employs 21 people in total. Co-founder Sean Abbas is frustrated at some of the ways that companies relate to their employees, and Threads software aims to help managing executives describe and understand the issues in building their company culture.
“We do a lot of different things every day, but it’s not like, ‘check check check,’ everything’s done,” says the company’s CEO Gladys Kong. “It’s about not being afraid to try new things. Keep learning. Keep working at it. Have integrity and deliver excellence”
The company’s new digital marketing platform combines the power of tech with the authority of the human brain. Brandify’s Nip Zalavadia, says the platform has the capability to access and analyze huge amounts of data, but also uses real people to address details that often fall through the cracks of automated software solutions.
For a month, Cuebiq tracked geo-behavioral patterns of anonymous consumers in the Westfield World Trade Center (WTC) shopping mall, right after the mall’s grand opening in August. The study differentiated between tourist and local visitors, and tracked consumers’ favorite brands.
At six years old with about 40 employees, the company is currently in a growth phase, and will likely grow considerably in the next year. Euclid’s director of product, Alexander Reichert, says that the daily lunch hour has been a kind of string that ties the team together.
As the company has grown, according to CEO Alexei Agratchev, it has experienced two “productivity peaks,” where fewer people are doing a huge amount of work. Then new hires are brought on, and the productivity stays about the same for a few months as the growth potential is realized. This can be a frustrating cycle to manage.
Every month, one half of the company’s employees travel to visit the other half of the employees — the engineering team is located in Oslo, Norway and the commercial team is in New York City — as a culture-building activity, giving employees a chance to connect while in the same time zone.
“When you have a transition where there’s a new CEO and the company is basically in crisis, it seems like, ‘Oh, this is a perfect time for values,’” said Extole’s Matt Roche. “But it’s unbelievably hard to implement new core values when everyone’s afraid.”
Ampush employs about 125 people, COO Nick Shah said, and their level of satisfaction with their colleagues reflects the close relationship he has with his co-founders. In a recent company engagement survey, results showed that 98% of employees who responded really enjoyed working with their colleagues.