As CB Insights expanded from 10 employees to more than 180, it made sure its employees grew along with it.
The combination of new opportunities and career resources like education stipends have helped employees explore different roles and move into leadership positions as the company scales. We spoke with four employees about how they’ve grown with the company.
WHAT THEY DO: CB Insights uses machine learning to collect, analyze and present massive amounts of market data to help corporations see industry trends and capitalize on change.
WHERE THEY DO IT: New York City
IDEAL CANDIDATES: CB Insights looks for employees who embody the company’s four H’s — happy, humble, helpful and hungry — and those who are innovative and who look to solve problems.
HACK DAY: Once a quarter, employees can collaborate with other employees and work on any project they desire for 24 hours.
Chima Atufunwa, Lead DevOps Engineer
Chima Atufunwa leads the DevOps team, which handles security, IT and the cloud infrastructure at CB Insights. His biggest responsibility is to solve problems that surface and make sure the company’s website is always running.
BEYOND WORK: Chima geeks out about anything to do with outer space. He even has a reprint of the Apollo 11 flight plan.
How have you grown since you first arrived at the company?
When I started at CB Insights, I was a full stack engineer working on the platform. I transitioned to a back-end engineering position and then to my favorite role, DevOps. Today, I am leading a team of three. I help with big projects and provide input on important decisions. I had never expected to be so involved in a company.
How has CB Insights helped you move forward in your career?
CB Insights gave me the room to learn and grow into the various positions I took on, especially when I switched to DevOps. I had never done anything like it, and the whole concept was new to me. CB Insights provided me with education stipends and paid for me to attend conferences that helped me develop into that role.
CB Insights gave me the room to learn and grow into the various positions I took on."
If you look at your to-do list, what’s the one thing you can say you love to do? What gets you out of bed in the morning?
Checking for updates on open source projects gets me out of bed. It feels like Christmas whenever I come across an update because it means I can mess around with some new features and fixes. When Hashicorp released the UI update for Nomad, it was the best thing that happened to me that week. I was excited about all of the problems that update was going to fix.
Name the qualities that make someone successful on your team.
We look for people who are hungry for knowledge, determined and solutions-oriented. Those qualities come back to how you handle the problem in front of you. We want people who don’t quit no matter how difficult the problem, who find the best solutions to solve the current problem and who know anything can be improved.
Valari Faccenda, Sales Development Manager
Valari Faccenda manages the inbound sales development representatives team. Her team turns the leads marketing generates into qualified sales opportunities for account executives. Her responsibility is to make sure the team has the support and tools they need to meet their goals.
BEYOND WORK: Valari enjoys working out, especially in her favorite dance-cardio class complete with a live DJ.
What opportunities are there to take on new tasks or challenges in sales? Tell us about a project you tackled that helped you grow.
The company is scaling, so there are endless opportunities to take on new tasks or challenges. About six months ago, we made major structural changes to the team while simultaneously hiring a few new folks. I led a cross-functional group within the company to quickly rebuild an onboarding training program that improved its overall structure, created company- and role-specific training and tied it all together with opportunities to directly apply these newly learned skills.
Is there a mentor or boss who has played an influential role in your growth?
Oh, yeah. I became a manager because of my former manager. At the time, I was unsure about what I wanted to do next — whether it would be in sales or customer success. My manager had multiple conversations with me about my career path. She always told me that when you think about your career, ensure it tells a story. She cared so much about me, my team and our growth personally and professionally. When I think about the type of leader I strive to be for my team, it’s the type that makes them feel that same support and motivation.
[My manager] always told me that when you think about your career, ensure it tells a story."
What would you tell a new hire looking to join CB Insights?
No matter who you are or where you come from, you won’t be handed success on a silver platter. Expect to come in, ask questions, make mistakes and learn from them and you will succeed. When looking for a company, make sure you’re behind the product, its mission and the people. If you do that, you’ll find not just a job but a career.
Alyssa Anchelowitz, Senior Marketing Manager
Alyssa Anchelowitz focuses on demand generation and market operations at CB Insights. She helps the company generate high-quality leads and then facilitates the handoff to the inbound team.
BEYOND WORK: Alyssa loves digging into cryptocurrency and learning how to play guitar.
When you joined CB Insights, was there anything that surprised you about the company or job?
I was surprised by how collaborative everyone is and how easy it is to work with other teams to learn about departments or projects that aren’t directly related to your day-to-day. I’ve worked a lot with the product and engineering teams and asked co-workers to teach me more about blockchain and cryptocurrency. If there’s anything you want to learn, there’s a good chance you have a coworker who would be happy to teach you.
If there’s anything you want to learn, there’s a good chance you have a coworker who would be happy to teach you."
How has CB Insights helped you move forward in your career?
Describe the company’s culture. Tell us about a moment that reflects this culture.
We talk a lot about the four “H’s” — happy, helpful, humble and hungry. This is embodied in Hack Day. Once a quarter, CB Insights employees are able to work on any project they’d like with anyone in the company for 24 hours. Even if you don’t participate, it’s incredible and inspiring to witness the creative projects your colleagues are able to tackle in 24 hours.
Matthew Wong, Lead Intelligence Analyst
Matthew Wong manages a team of research analysts covering financial and real estate technology. His team utilizes the company’s dataset and a mix of primary and secondary sources to provide research and analysis on the future of financial services.
BEYOND WORK: He draws creativity and inspiration from magazine designs.
What attracted you to CB Insights?
I spent two internships in college reporting and covering venture capital and startups at various media publications. I discovered that a particular startup funding would be covered similarly across different publications.
When I came across CB Insights’ early reports into the seed market and edtech industry, I found its data-driven approach to understanding the broader landscape refreshing. I cold-emailed the CB Insights co-founders one winter morning and have been lucky to spend the last four years here building out what is now the Intelligence Unit and growing with the company.
How have you grown from when you first arrived at the company?
When I first started at CB Insights, I had to do a lot of learning-by-doing from building a newsletter to conducting data analysis to writing coherent research and more. I’ve been fortunate to see CB Insights grow from 10 employees to more than 150 and have grown a lot in turn. I’ve turned those initial learning experiences into processes, worked on more impactful research and worked directly with Fortune 500 clients.
I’ve turned [...] learning experiences into processes, worked on more impactful research and worked directly with Fortune 500 clients."
What opportunities are there to take on new tasks or challenges?
There are lots of opportunities to take on new tasks and challenges. We have an analyst who was tasked with producing a summary of investments into blockchain technology a few months after joining the company. What he didn't know was that the project would soon expand into a much larger report on blockchain investment trends and a partnership with Fortune magazine to explain key findings.
The report resulted in one of our most popular webinar presentations ever, a partnership with a respected media organization and an opportunity for the analyst to learn and grow from a demanding but rewarding project.