What makes a workplace special? Sure, company mission, innovative projects and compelling perks and benefits matter a great deal. But what can really make or break a career experience is the people.
We spoke to some of the people powering seven Austin companies, who gave us the inside scoop on the day in and day out at companies spanning the fields of cybersecurity, e-commerce, game development and more.
They shared stories of teammates going out of their way to support each other on personal levels through the challenges of the last few months. A C-suite leader who regularly opens his calendar to anyone at the company to offer mentorship. New college grads that were trusted to drive immediate impact and quickly grew into leaders.
Hear more about the people behind seven scaling Austin companies below, and what you can expect if you join their teams.
What they do: RetailMeNot helps retailers, brands, restaurants and pharmacies grow their customer base and increase sales through a variety of online and in-person solutions. The company offers services like in-store coupon codes, cash back offers, email campaigns and more.
Company culture in one word: “Community,” Victoria Lee, a software engineer, said. “RetailMeNot’s culture is one that encourages us to bring our full selves to work because we all genuinely care about one another as people. Our employee resource groups are amazing; they inspire and empower me to be a force for positive change both at work and in society as a whole.
“I saw our company culture in action when I recently had to take on additional work responsibilities while also juggling challenges in my personal life. During this period of higher stress, my manager constantly checked in on me and even urged me to take time off to recharge.”
Growth opportunities: “I recently celebrated two years at RetailMeNot,” Lee said. “I joined as a new grad but by the end of my first week, I pushed code to production. Two months in, I was working on a brand new initiative with a teammate, and soon after that, I co-led a project. After less than a year at the company, I co-mentored an intern, which allowed me to both learn and apply mentorship skills. Now, I am leading projects as well as continuing to mentor others.
“Mentorship played a large role in furthering my growth and development. RetailMeNot has a formal engineering mentorship program through which I’ve connected with several mentors.”
What they do: U.S. law firms and legal departments for finance, pharmaceutical and other companies can use DISCO’s e-discovery to streamline their data, costs and workflows. The company’s software utilizes AI and cloud computing to analyze and visualize data while improving user performance.
Company culture in one word: “Passion,” Lauren Caruso, regional sales director, said. “I’m consistently impressed at how my colleagues across the org come to work every day, ready to engage. At DISCO, nothing is a solo endeavor — our work with prospects and clients often involves many areas of the company, and everyone brings a team-first mentality. We are passionate about DISCO’s success, while being equally invested in our clients and each other.
“We talk a lot about personal brand on my team: how you show up to a conversation and partner with those around you to successfully close a sale can often be a key factor in success. Whether it is committing to a positive experience for the client or welcoming a new customer, giving your all, all the time, is part of our culture.”
A seat at the table: “Diversity and equity in the workplace is something I have been passionate about throughout my career,” Caruso said. “Recently, DISCO launched an initiative to ensure that the women in our client-facing teams have a seat at the table regarding the employee experience and the strategic direction of the department. I’m proud to lead this initiative, along with my colleagues in HR, to create a feedback loop within the team. If an employee feels valued, heard and supported, they are going to do better work. It’s incredibly rewarding to collaborate with my colleagues to make sure they have the tools they need to thrive.”
What they do: Brinqa is a cloud-enabled cybersecurity platform that helps enterprises identify, measure, respond to and monitor risks with services like real-time analytics, automated risk assessments and other tools.
Company culture in one word: “Innovative,” Will Droste, CTO, said. “Brinqa was founded to solve some of the most challenging problems in cybersecurity: How can we bring diverse stakeholders together to work on a common goal and build solutions to protect businesses with evolving tech stacks?
“Our company ethos encourages innovation at every level of the org to solve these daunting problems, and especially so for product and engineering teams. For instance, we adopted graph databases when relational databases were the norm, which helped us develop the first knowledge graph for cybersecurity. It has also helped us build the largest cybersecurity data integrations ecosystem of its kind. These accomplishments are only possible because our engineers are encouraged to identify and incorporate the latest dev processes, tools, frameworks and languages.”
Solving business problems: “Designing a new API that can not only be used by devs but also by business users with limited or no development knowledge,” Droste said. “Giving non-technical users tools to engage and interact with our platform opened possibilities for a new generation of data-driven analytics solutions. Combining our graph database, Neo4j, with a new API methodology, GraphQL, we offered UI developers the flexibility to create a rich report builder that was immediately relevant to our business users.
“It was also beneficial to devs because they leveraged the same API, improving code quality and consistency through more interactive and self-documenting usage than traditional REST APIs. We went from more than 10 REST API methods to basically one. The project was exciting because it was a win for everyone: customers, developers and our own maintenance and development.
What they do: Sysco LABS is a technology-driven subset of the larger food distributor Sysco. The LABS division is dedicated to using agile practices and data-driven insights to solve challenges for its customers in the food and beverage industry.
Company culture in one word: “Impactful,” Cathy Shen, product manager, said. “It is really cool to see that the work that we do and the features we build solve problems customers are facing. Restaurant owners are busy enough. We make it easier for them to shop, order and track their deliveries.”
Agility at its finest: “I helped launch and manage Sysco’s first direct-to-consumer channel as a response to COVID-19,” Shen said. “We wanted to make fresh fruit, vegetables and meats accessible to the community when the grocery stores were having a hard time restocking their shelves. It was wild spinning up over 100 online sites for each of our warehouse locations in the span of three weeks. I learned about the importance of being flexible to adapt to what is needed in the moment.”
What they do: Bold Commerce services companies — from startups to enterprise orgs — with customizable e-commerce apps meant to optimize their businesses. Bold’s modular, plug-and-play apps provide companies with scalable technology to help boost their conversion rates, manage their checkout and perform other functions.
Company culture in one word: “Resilient,” Mike Sanchez, CRO, said. “We are constantly innovating and going into new markets, and resiliency has been huge as we’ve worked through the pandemic. During this time, we launched new products and broke revenue records while the company was working remote. We embrace change by adapting ourselves to keep moving forward and become better.”
Learn forever: “There’s a huge focus on learning and growth at Bold. ‘Learn forever’ is one of the core values,” Sanchez said. “I kicked off an open mentorship program where I do hour-long morning sessions with whoever books my calendar. It’s been a fun experience because I’ve met awesome people from many backgrounds, with different experiences. While I started this initiative as a way to give back, it has helped me grow as an individual in understanding different viewpoints, experiences and situations. It’s also helped me make a ton of friends along the way.”
What they do: SciPlay is a digital game developer and publisher. Its game suite features eight mobile-friendly, free-to-play titles that feature social casino games like Jackpot Party Casino and Gold Fish Casino Slots and casual games like MONOPOLY Slots or Bingo Showdown.
Company culture in one word: “Thoughtful,” Mike Mann, executive producer, said. “It cuts to the core of what SciPlay is all about. It encompasses so much of what we do, but more importantly, how we do it. Inclusive, caring, fun or rewarding could also describe SciPlay’s culture. But they would not characterize our company without the team of thoughtful people working all year to create the valuable culture that SciPlay provides on a daily basis.”
Rewarding experiences: “SciPlay’s annual development conference,” Mann said. “It’s a great opportunity to bring everyone together in the studio, away from the office environment, to bond as a company. I served on the culture committee for last year’s conference and it was one of the most rewarding experiences of my professional career. It was amazing to hear stories afterwards and see groups of co-workers come back to the office, not as a random collection of people, but as a family.”
What they do: Juniper Square is a SaaS provider, which helps organizations in the private funds industry with their fundraising, investment administration and investor reporting. Its platform features a CRM, automated fundraising tools and other capabilities.
Company culture in one word: “Collaborative,” Mike Read, business development representative manager, said. “I see the entire company show a willingness to help and selflessness on a daily basis. People go above and beyond to help on whatever task is presented whether or not they’re part of the same team or department.”
Mentorship abounds: “I’ve been at Juniper Square for just under a year,” Read said. “The knowledge and expertise I gained from the leadership team is second to none, and it set me up for success throughout my career. Aside from myself, it’s been motivating to see growth across sales in roles like sales enablement and account executives.”