In 2019, the thought of hosting a virtual margarita happy hour would’ve never crossed software engineer Luke Romeo’s mind.
However, this year, Romeo received a package filled with margarita ingredients. He and his colleagues at Vericred, a company that provides data translation services, then made the drinks together over a video chat
“It was a fun way to do something together while being apart,” Romeo said.
Vericred, along with five other NYC tech companies, continue to find ways to grow, connect and challenge their teams as their businesses evolve during unprecedented times. Ready for a career move? They’re waiting on you.
What they do: Salesforce’s platform is jam-packed with its customers’ data, and their customers’ data. OwnBackup’s solution helps back all that information up and protect it. In July 2020, the company raised $50 million.
Company culture in one word: “Collaboration. Our success is largely due to our strong emphasis on collaboration,” said Jessica Wine, regional VP of enterprise sales. “So much of who we are, and what we have achieved has been based on the relationships we have built with our colleagues through regular, in-person interactions at our offices, on the road or at events. For most of our company, remote work was an entirely new concept. The potential threat to productivity was obvious, but keeping culture alive in a virtual setting? That seemed impossible. Fortunately for us, we are all driven by a set of core values that, in hindsight, would have made it hard to fail. The pandemic only made us stronger and more resilient. I have witnessed the dedication, commitment and fortitude every OwnBackup employee has embodied to continue to deliver results.”
“The creativity put forth to keep our culture alive has been nothing short of inspiring. We have virtual happy hours, inspirational speakers, trivia, family events and cooking nights. I can honestly say, even with oceans between some of us, we are closer than ever before. We are one big resilient family.”
Wine’s growth at OwnBackup: “I joined 18 months ago as an individual contributor on the enterprise sales team. From the onset, it was my aspiration to move into a leadership role. OwnBackup has made a clear path for employees at all stages of their career to advance. I have consistently been provided new challenges and increased responsibility as we work to scale our team in a high-growth environment. One of the most rewarding aspects of my career at OwnBackup so far though has been my participation in the diversity and inclusion committee and the development of our mentorship program.”
What they do: Hoping to change shaving forever, Harry’s creates and sells direct-to-consumer (DTC) men’s and women’s grooming and shaving products. The company also values access to mental healthcare and donates 1% of its sales to nonprofits that connect men to therapy and mental health resources.
Company culture in one word: “Ownership. Harry’s provides everyone with the opportunity to own their work and drive it forward,” said Jane MacGillivray, a software engineer. “Even if you haven’t been at Harry’s for long or you’re a junior person, you can point to projects and work that you’ve done that had a meaningful impact on Harry’s business. The Harry’s engineering team is designing and planning new architecture and projects that will allow Harry’s to grow its DTC business. Everyone on the team has had a chance to contribute to that work, such as building data stream systems that deliver business data and building really cool experiences for our customers like our mystery item. It creates a sense of belonging in the company, because you feel like everything you do meaningfully impacts the success of Harry’s.”
Coolest project MacGillivray has worked on: “Harry’s engineering team has been working on adding new payment methods on Harry’s sites, which has created some really interesting challenges. Our existing systems weren’t built with multiple payment options in mind, so after designing a payment system with Harry’s longer-term goals in mind, we’ve been able to go in and add these new ways to pay. We’ve also made sure that adding more payment options will be simpler in the future. This project has allowed me to work with teams all across Harry’s to meet our business goals. It’s also taught me about how to design architecture, how to work with cross-functional teams with a variety of business objectives and how to map out an implementation plan to deliver a large project.”
What they do: In 2018, more than 4,000 media outlets, like The New York Times and Financial Times, cited CB Insights’s venture capital database, according to the company. Its database uses machine learning and data visualizations to offer industry context around venture capital, trends and startups.
Company culture in one word: “High standards. During these challenging COVID-19 times, many companies and even more events teams were left scrambling, unsure of how to proceed next,” said Nikki Katzur, an associate director of marketing. “Here, we had two major conferences in full swing with contracts signed, venues secured, catering booked, dozens of speakers scheduled, and hundreds of attendees signed up. We made the quick and deliberate pivot to virtual events, a brand new territory for us all.”
“We ended up adding an additional conference to the mix, our first fully virtual technology summit. Within weeks we had secured speakers including Mark Cuban, Fred Wilson and Vlad Tenev. We set up video networking. We learned a lot about AV production. And in the end, we brought together over 65 speakers and 2,500 attendees for the first, but not the last, successful virtual event.”
Coolest project Katzur has worked on: “Our virtual ‘Future of Health’ conference. We launched a three-day interactive event featuring over 50 speakers and hundreds of attendees. We brainstormed ways to keep it engaging and had fun activities interspersed with our speaker content including a magician, a VR element, yoga breaks, trivia, prizes, and a farm animal tour. The experience helped me grow professionally because I need to market a new offering to our event community during a tumultuous time. We’re all used to planning in-person events, so we had to teach ourselves new technologies.”
What they do: SIMON’s platform serves more than 30,000 financial professionals with end-to-end digital tools that include industry education, a marketplace, real-time analytics and lifecycle management. Launched in 2018, the company aims to bring transparency to risk-managed asset classes.
Company culture in one word: “Bold. Our entire origin is based on the bold idea that the world’s leading financial institutions would put their differences aside and partner in a joint technology venture to reshape an industry,” said Matt Schartman, head of UI engineering. “This same attitude has translated to our roadmap, tech stack decisions and the way we operate. We aren’t afraid to propose the best solutions to ways we can innovate and then deliver on them quickly. Now that we have done that for the world of structured investments, we are applying our same approach to the broader industry and are very excited about what comes next.”
Schartman’s growth at SIMON: “I have been with SIMON for nearly three years and have grown tremendously since I started. When I joined, SIMON was a small team inside The Goldman Sachs Group to be spun off into an independent startup. My first goal after joining was to rebuild our product UI from scratch into a multi-issuer marketplace while also transitioning it from legacy code to something we could be proud of. While doing this, I helped grow our team of UI engineers almost five times the size and eventually became the head of it.”
“Since then, SIMON has given me numerous opportunities beyond the daily operation of the team, like defining our broader engineering operations, guiding technical design across features, starting a team to build our public-facing platform and working with other company leadership to define our business strategy over the next few years.”
What they do: Youth sports gets a digital makeover with the LeagueApps operating system. More than 10,000 local sports organizers use the management platform to keep other organizers, coaches, players and parents informed.
Company culture in one word: “Impact. Everyone on our team believes in our mission to build technology and community to ensure every child has access to amazing sports experiences,” said Brandon Denney, VP of engineering. “Our technology and product development teams are focused on impacting sports program leaders through innovation, efficiency and reliability. Making their lives easier so they can better serve their players, coaches and parents drives us forward every day. Our mission to impact the society we live and work in is symbolized by our FundPlay program. We’ve committed to providing 1% of our revenue and free access to our tech to the inspiring organizations that support underserved communities. It’s energizing to work in a culture driven by the impact its tech and community can have together.”
Coolest project Denney has worked on: “The forced pause of the pandemic on youth sports put a focus on mobile products such as virtual coaching. Our platform data showed that the mobile adoption across youth sports was coming even prior to the pandemic. More than 65% of our partners’ users were accessing our platform on their personal devices. That evaluation led us to begin building a mobile-first experience. Being a mobile developer by trade, I have found it really neat to hire an entirely new mobile team to design, develop and ultimately distribute these modern apps. Our iOS and Android apps — debuting early next year — are only the beginning of our roadmap to leveraging mobile platforms for the youth sports industry.”
What they do: Vericred provides APIs and data sets that create data infrastructure between health insurance carriers and employee benefits.
Company culture in one word: “Connected. There has always been a focus on keeping everyone in the company connected and supported as it grows through regular touch points and channels that span the teams,” said Luke Romeo, a software engineer. “Pre-pandemic, we also had events to connect outside of work like happy hours and a company basketball team. Recently, in lieu of in person contact, we had a post-work virtual margarita hangout. Everyone received a box in the mail with ingredients for a margarita. During the call, we made our drinks and caught up on life outside of work. It was a fun way to do something together while being apart. Especially in these times, it’s important to make the extra effort to help keep the team connected.”
Romeo’s growth at Vericred: “I’ve been with the company for about five-and-a-half years. I was hired as a data analyst but was given the opportunity to transition to an engineering role. Starting with limited coding experience, I learned on the job by working closely with other engineers on the team. Over time, I’ve taken a bigger role in projects and am now on the platform team where I’ve led projects including increasing observability and implementing new microservices. Along the way, I’ve picked up engineering best practices during our regular lunch and learns and learned to code in Rust by participating in our Rust Club.”