“Company culture” is more than a buzzword or a list of adjectives used to vaguely describe an office environment. It’s the foundation for what makes team members want to come to work every day. Culture defines how team members interact with one another while collaborating in conference rooms or catching up at the coffee machine. It’s what helps lead to the success of a business: If teams are having a great time at work, it shows in their output.
According to research by Jobvite, almost 90 percent of job seekers say a company’s culture is of at least relative importance to them in their search. Around 50 percent of job seekers say a company’s culture is very important, and 15 percent said they have turned down offers for reasons pertaining to a company’s culture.
Teams at Austin companies know the importance of cultivating an intentional company culture. Some of the ways they create a culture worth rallying around? Weeklong potlucks, embracing a shared love of sports and building a top-down culture that starts with two co-founders who have been friends for nearly four decades.
What they do: Need to optimize your company’s e-commerce presence? BigCommerce helps businesses large and small sell their products online more efficiently through solutions like customizable storefront design, cross-channel selling, security services, expert support and others. Its services have helped generate over $25 billion in merchant sales and are used by companies like Ben & Jerry’s, CamelBak and Skullcandy.
One thing that would surprise people about BigCommerce: Distance doesn’t diminish culture. “We were founded in Australia and are headquartered in Austin,” said Victoria Melcher, manager of culture. “Even though there are thousands of miles in between those locations, the attitude and dedication of our employees remains the same. Folks are passionate and approachable, great to work with and have an entrepreneurial spirit, and that is reflected in our product and the companies we support. While we’ve grown tremendously over the last 10 years, we have maintained our vibrant culture and continue to connect with each other on a personal level.”
One trait all team members share: A “humbitious” attitude. “We seek employees who share our company values and who are culture ‘adds,’ not culture ‘fits,’” Melcher said. “We call this interviewing for ‘Bucket 2.’ One of the qualities of Bucket 2 we look for is being ‘humbitious,’ which means they approach their work, and others, with equal parts humility and ambition. They recognize the limits of their knowledge and welcome the opportunity to learn. They are equally ambitious in their pursuits, knowing that success is earned through grit and hard work.”
What they do: REX is a full-service real estate brokerage that uses AI and machine learning to help homeowners find more accurately priced homes within their budget. The service can match shoppers with homes on platforms like Zillow, Google and Facebook, and its real estate agents work on salary to keep buyer commission fees low, which helps buyers save money.
One thing that would surprise people about REX: The company’s integration of tech into real estate. “People often hear ‘real estate’ and they only think of phone calls with agents,” David Garcia, senior vice president of research and development, said. “Yes, we have agents who are there to guide people, but we also have big data to optimize ads. We have mobile apps that are real estate agents in a pocket and our own gig-app system that allows us to do showings quickly. We are building complex tech that goes beyond real estate in customer relationship management, ads and other areas. Every day, we are adding more automation to the business and more self-service to our tech platform to allow people to be in control of their home.”
One trait all team members share: Embracing a culture of continued learning. “Everyone at REX is trying to learn more and grow, and we have an environment that encourages it,” said Garcia. “Since this is such a large area of new knowledge to most people, it’s an important trait we look for. For agents and traditional real estate people, they have to learn how to use tech to achieve their goals and adapt to the high-paced nature of a tech startup. Engineers have to learn the real estate industry, which is not a small undertaking. But we have an environment that encourages us to take our time to learn it all. Right now, I’m taking classes to get a real estate license just to understand the right things to build.”
What they do: FloSports is a subscription video streaming service that offers live and on-demand access to sports across more than 20 verticals, including cycling, cheerleading, dirt track racing and others. Its library features more than 300,000 hours of content and features news, expert commentary, films, documentaries and more.
One thing that would surprise people about FloSports: There’s a fan in everyone. “Everyone here is passionate about at least one of the sports verticals that we stream,” said Parker Navarro, partner marketing specialist. “Even people that don’t work on any specific vertical almost always have a favorite, which is part of the reason that they were drawn here. We often travel to events for verticals that we have never worked with, and get to learn a lot about that sport or art. My favorite vertical has always been FloTrack, because I ran in college. Then I started working on FloMarching a lot, and now that’s my favorite.”
One trait all team members share: Solidarity in sport and support. “We are always looking for new ways to raise the bar, which is one of our core values,” said Navarro. “Everyone is quick to help others with any project, and we all have a ‘do whatever it takes’ mentality. Because we are all former athletes that competed in high school or college, we are passionate about sports and have a lot of ambition.”
What they do: Realized’s end-to-end solution provides real estate investors with a marketplace to defer taxes when selling their investment properties. The company’s platform lets users manage their individual investment properties, turning them into customized portfolios of property interests based on their financial goals. Over $10 billion in investment properties are currently managed on the platform.
One thing that would surprise people about Realized: The company’s founders went from the backyard to the boardroom together. “Our two founders grew up side by side and have been friends for almost 40 years,” said Clay Schmidt, investment consultant. “In addition to knowing each other for the majority of their lives, they’ve also started multiple successful businesses together. In fact, four out of eight members of our executive team grew up in El Paso with one another. It’s no surprise that Realized has the friendly culture that it has, considering we were built by lifelong friends.”
One trait all team members share: Curiosity. “One of our core values is growth, and a huge component of that is curiosity,” said Schmidt. “Every member of our organization shares this trait, and it’s what helps drive everything we do as an organization. Plus, it makes working and learning together a lot more fun.”
What they do: Planoly is a web and mobile-based visual social media planner for Instagram. Users can schedule posts, see their page, post analytics, create a shoppable gallery and customize stories based on designer templates.
One thing that would surprise people about Planoly: Leaders are serious about keeping employees out of rush-hour traffic. “Even though we are a rapidly growing startup, our leaders value a healthy work-life balance,” Christina Wells, VP of people, said. “It’s important to recharge and rejuvenate. So the entire company works from home on Fridays and the commuting hours during the week are flexible. The goal is to avoid traffic at all costs.”
One trait all team members share: Food unites the company. “We love food,” Wells said. “In addition to daily catered lunch and all the snacks you can think of, we celebrate special occasions with food. Recently, we had a dessert potluck where our company’s love for food and sharing talents came together. There was quite the creative selection, which featured homemade lavender ice cream and matcha tiramisu, aka ‘matchamisu.’”
What they do: SourceDay provides suppliers and buyers in the manufacturing industry with a supplier collaboration engine. What is that, you ask? It’s a cloud-based platform that automates communication between suppliers and buyers and provides them with real-time data insights like pricing, quantity and lead times.
One thing that would surprise people about SourceDay: Rapid scaling. “We’ve doubled in size every year for the last three years, with no plans to slow down,” CEO and co-founder Tom Kieley said. “We just moved to a space in the Arboretum area that’s three times bigger than our old one to accommodate our continued growth.”
One trait all team members share: A commitment to pursuing success. “‘Be the best’ is at the heart of our culture and serves as the foundation for everything we do,” Kieley said. “This idea starts with how we work together and treat one another, and extends to how each of us does our job each day. It also applies to how we serve customers. Everyone is a team player and is ready to jump in to help a colleague solve a problem, large or small.”
What they do: Khoros is a customer-engagement platform with multiple areas of services. For instance, it offers social media suites dedicated to helping customers scale and manage their social media marketing and feedback, as well as a consultancy service to help tackle client-specific projects and challenges.
One thing that would surprise people about Khoros: No industry experience necessary. “We have people that come from all kinds of different backgrounds, like teachers, retail associates and retired military veterans,” said Chief Talent Officer Mike O’Donnell. “We created a culture of learning, which provides our team members with thorough onboarding and continuous learning programs that make it possible for everyone to learn, grow and develop their skills.”
One trait all team members share: A focus on being one team. “That idea is so important to us that it’s one of our core values,” O’Donnell said. “In everything that we do, we are here to help, support and encourage each other, which makes the best experience possible for our customers and our teams.”
What they do: QuestionPro is an online survey solutions provider. The company offers businesses a variety of survey software solutions, like those for market research, employee and customer experience, as well as data analytics. More than 3.5 million users have employed QuestionPro’s surveys, leading to almost 6 billion questions answered to date.
One thing that would surprise people about QuestionPro: “We deliver on its transparency and ensure each employee has a place in the company’s success,” said John Johnson, VP of customer success.
One trait all team members share: A hustler’s spirit. “Hustling for us doesn’t mean moving fast, but getting the job done with precision, diligence and excellence to make our customers proud,” Johnson said.
What they do: Kompyte helps brands differentiate themselves within a market by providing them with software to track updates to their competitor’s websites, products and digital marketing campaigns. Its tracking software sends real-time alerts to users when updates are made. Kompyte also has suites dedicated to aiding product marketing, growth marketing and sales enablement teams.
One thing that would surprise people about Kompyte: “We were founded in Barcelona, Spain,” CEO Pere Codina said. “Most of our customers are in the US, some of which are Fortune 500 Companies. So we decided to open up new offices in San Francisco and Austin 2018. We’ve also been accelerated by 500 startups in Silicon Valley.”
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