Justine Hofherr
November 3, 2020

Higinio “H.O.” Maycotte is fond of saying that working at Molecula is like “getting 100 MBAs at once.” Employees say he’s not exaggerating.

The company, which was founded in 2017 in Austin, is on a mission to, as the company says, “unlock human potential through the power of data.” As organizations generate growing mountains of data and analytics needs, they often find that the cost of getting data ready for analytics exceeds the value of the data itself.

Molecula wants to change the status quo.

With its enterprise feature store, Molecula says it can help Global 2000 companies simplify and streamline data in real time for a variety of machine learning, advanced analytics and IoT applications — all while reducing hardware footprint, compliance risks and associated costs. 

The startup’s technology has already made a substantial impact on its clients. As a medical research startup’s data footprint grew, it started hitting hurdles with query speed, which prevented it from providing advanced analytics on a real-time basis — sometimes even causing the company to wait for overnight processing on large queries. Molecula’s tech team worked with the startup to capture the details of its hurdles, and implemented a couple of its use cases at scale in-house as a proof of concept. 

 

Molecula Austin
Molecula

 

According to Allen Joiner, a senior solutions architect, the value Molecula brings to this type of project is easy to demonstrate, and he’s excited about the influence this application will have on the state of healthcare. But this example is just the tip of the iceberg. 

The problem we’re trying to solve is unimaginably vast, and thus our collective creativity, imagination and level of pursuit must be greater.”

 

“My plate is full with prospective and new customers, and each one has a unique problem set, or a different application of our solution, which is always energizing,” Joiner said. “And while fleshing out the ‘normal’ solutioning and implementation projects, I’m also designing and refining our approaches and processes to scale with the company.”

Working at one of the biggest tech companies in the world like Google or Microsoft might mean your work reaches a large audience, but, according to the Molecula teammates we spoke with, working at a lean startup like Molecula means your work has a huge impact. For those employees, it’s that type of influence that keeps them coming back for more.

 

A Collaborative Effort

When Sarah King joined Molecula three years ago as a community advocate and relationships manager, the team was about seven people strong. Today, the headcount has grown to about 30 employees — and her ownership over the product has grown equally in scope. 

King’s early focus was on understanding how people use Molecula’s open-source product, Pilosa, which currently has around 2,000 users. Today, in her current role as head of product, she’s applying lessons from Pilosa’s go-to-market rollout in launching new products and understanding how all of Molecula’s customers can succeed. It’s not a responsibility she carries lightly, but King said she’s “fearless” with the support of her talented and collaborative colleagues.

“Not any one person is going to have the answer to make us successful,” King explained. “It’s a collaborative effort. Every single person on the team shares their good ideas and their bad ideas so that we can determine as a team what the path forward looks like and cut through the noise.”

 

Molecula’s Values:

  • Service — It is about us, not me. Use Molecula for good.
  • Delight — Wow customers, partners, employees and the community.
  • Get Uncomfortable — Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
  • Empower — Be supportive, transparent and do what you say you will do.
  • Scientific-Minded — Prioritize curiosity, rigor and informed opinions.
  • Iterate Fast — Speed over perfection. Stay gritty, and resilient.
  • Ganbaru — Commit fully and take projects to their total completion.

 

Unapologetically Agile

King said the heightened level of collaboration at Molecula sets the company apart from larger corporations, which means that, like her, other employees get to learn from peers and mentors across the business on any given day. 

Take Garrett Raska. The enterprise sales executive said it’s common for sales and marketing to work hand in hand. But Raska finds himself working closely with everyone. That includes learning from the services team and the product team to better understand the company’s offerings and improve conversations with customers. 

It’s an “all-hands-on-deck” mentality that Raska said lends itself to happy clients and career development, as feedback loops are smaller and employees like Raska learn the Molecula product at a depth that would be much harder to achieve at a larger company. 

“That agility allows me as an individual to grow at a rapid pace,” Raska explained. In a former sales role at a much larger big data company, Raska said any new ideas he wanted to try out would have taken a year to implement. At Molecula, however, Raska said he can effect change in a month, whether that means getting the CEO’s stamp of approval on new client-facing messaging or even making strategic tweaks to pricing.  

 

 

'We Are a Family'

Agility has other advantages, too. When the COVID-19 pandemic upended businesses around the world, Molecula employees said they were able to pivot to an effective work-from-home structure, never missing a beat. Those efforts were much to the relief of Allen Joiner, who joined Molecula in March 2020 as a senior solutions architect. 

Joiner had to cancel his flight to Austin and began the new position from his home in Atlanta. While Joiner was hired for a remote role, he’d been hoping to meet his colleagues in person prior to onboarding. Thanks to the novel coronavirus, he never got the chance.

“I was immediately concerned,” Joiner said. With most of the team in Austin, Joiner was worried about how he would acclimate, have influence, and perhaps most importantly, help teammates understand how the product worked, he said.

Weeks later, he was relieved to find that his fears were unfounded. 

“The pandemic kind of had a democratization effect on the whole team,” Joiner said. Everyone was willing to adapt to remote teleconferencing and collaboration, he said — even the CEO, whom Joiner was delighted to see as just one square in a sea of other Zoom squares in many of his tactical meetings. It was a great reminder that at Molecula, everybody’s on the same team, Joiner said. 

There’s a deep love and respect for every single person on our team.”

 

“I think at a bigger company you would have a much harder time coping with that type of situation,” Joiner added.

It’s also easier to cope with an unprecedented experience like a pandemic when co-workers have authentic personal relationships with one another — something far easier to develop at a company where employees still know all of their colleagues’ names. At Molecula, King said relationships transcend co-worker territory.

“We are a family,” King said. “There’s a deep love and respect for every single person on our team and the perspective and experience they bring to the table. This is the first time that Molecula has ever existed, so we’re all figuring this out for the first time, together.”

 

 

The Road Ahead

As more companies look to utilize their data as an asset, Raska said they will increasingly leverage commoditized cloud services, invest in utilizing their current data, and hire data scientists and data engineers that can enable these strategies.

According to the Molecula team, their startup is right at the convergence of this new paradigm — and there won’t be any slowing down in 2021.

Next year, the startup will be launching a new delivery model for its product: a SaaS offering. According to the team, this venture will profoundly impact the company’s growth and reach, making a native AI/ML format much more accessible to customers via Molecula’s enterprise feature store.

“The scale of datasets we can handle, paired with the huge advantage we can offer with query speed used in AI/ML, should allow us to propel the adoption of AI/ML applications across a huge segment of companies,” Joiner said. 

Joiner and his colleagues, Raska and King, will all play a vital role in bringing Molecula’s new product to market and scaling their startup — but they couldn’t do it all without each other.

“The problem we’re trying to solve is unimaginably vast, and thus our collective creativity, imagination and level of pursuit must be greater,” Raska said. “And right now, our team is tipping the scale in our favor.”

 

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