In one year, digital search company Pointy has grown from 13 to about 30 employees, moved into a new office, and seen significant growth in its product, which allows retailers to publishes their inventories online, attracting potential customers nearby. What hasn’t changed much is the company’s culture, says co-founder Mark Cummins.
“We want people who have historically been lucky. People who have demonstrated the ability to go out and create their own luck,” CEO Michael Katz says. “People who are curious, who engage and ask questions and generally listen, [who are] not just waiting for a pause in the conversation. “
Wholesale ecommerce retailer Boxed is taking its position as team leader seriously. The company pays for its employees’ kids to go to college. It looked at the industry-wide “pink tax” and started a campaign against the higher prices. It even started contributing $20,000 to pay for employees’ weddings.
Hooch isn’t hiring right now, but they expect to ramp up technology and data positions in fall 2017. Dai says his secret to hiring is to be brutally honest about the challenges and struggles of working at startup.
“The argument is, build a large company to be insanely great and change the world, right?” says CEO Jon Fisher. “As we operationalize the financial part, the path to making a real contribution in the world can be formulaic.”
Upserve CEO Angus Davis says that seed funding is the most available right now. And because the overall economy is doing fairly well, wealthy people are increasingly doing angel investments where they previously were not.
Neil Sweeney has lots of opinions about how to run a company, especially a newer, smaller one. The founder and CEO of beacon network company Freckle IoT, says that it’s about putting the right people in the right places.
The company’s mission is to build a new operating system for the physical world, and to get there the team needs zero bullshit. Culture is far too important to leave to chance, says John Cieslik-Bridgen, Estimote’s VP of culture. But it’s also important to allow natural evolution.
Starting your own tech company often comes with a painful side effect, says Joshua Enders, managing partner of client success at digital commerce company Six Vertical: “It’s an absolute grind. It’s like getting punched in the stomach multiple times a day,” Enders says. “I’m speaking from experience.”
Dublin-based digital search platform startup Pointy is still at that point where the culture is just what it is, without special definitions or structure. “The number of people on our team now is small, almost painfully small,” says co-founder Mark Cummins. “There’s not a lot of structure. Well, there is structure, but there’s not a lot of process around it.”
“I think it’s important to have marketing leadership from a cultural standpoint,” the company’s VP of marketing, Corey O’Donnell says. “Marketing isn’t just what you tell the world about your business, it’s also what you tell your employees.”
“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.”
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.
CEO Ben Carcio said that it dawned on him one day that his employees would probably enjoy the perks of the job more if they were linked to company goals. One of the most recent incentives that the Promoboxx team earned was half day Fridays for the summer after hitting a revenue goal during the first week of June.
The company has relied heavily on employees to be efficient outside of their comfort zones. Co-founder and CEO Bryan Trussel said that he hopes Glympse is a fun and challenging place to work, and he believes empowering employees is one way to make sure that happens.
The current shortage of tech talent means candidates who have high-demand skills, such as programming, have their pick of employers. Startups are responding to that by creating ultra-transparent, collaborative workplaces.