Committed to culture — 7 Austin tech companies share exactly what makes their culture so unique

by Kelly O'Halloran
June 25, 2019

Sure, the products they hustle help to differentiate one tech company from another, but that’s often obvious.

What’s not so obvious — at least initially — is an organization’s distinct culture. We checked in with seven Austin techies to reflect on what sets their company cultures apart from the pack. Their answers did not disappoint.

 

blackbaud austin office
image via blackbaud

Rachel Montgomery, Blackbaud’s senior director of professional services, highlights how the company’s core mission to support nonprofits throughout the world impacts their culture. This includes hiring, volunteer drives — and everything in between.  

 

How is Blackbaud’s culture different from what you’ve experienced at previous companies?

The core of the company is built around “helping good take over.” This is fundamental to the candidate profile we look to hire and the culture we want to build in our office every day. It can be as simple and personal as contributing to low waste in the office, leading a food or toy drive or championing a volunteer activity. The people here all share a common thread around social responsibility and it kicks off so many great conversations, activities and events everyone can get excited about. Being able to see your impact not only in the software you build or the services you offer but in the hands-on man-hours you put into building a better world in your community is a unique culture.

 

The enthusiasm and sense of purpose that comes with a culture of doing good takes job satisfaction to a higher level.”

Why is that important for someone in your role?

The enthusiasm and sense of purpose that comes with a culture of doing good takes job satisfaction to a higher level. There is more focus on giving back and being socially conscious. It’s in Blackbaud’s DNA, and it’s supported, encouraged and rewarded. The culture we have here is a differentiator in a competitive hiring environment, and it helps build employee engagement and loyalty once in the door. I can connect to so many different people in all walks of life when I talk about what I do for a living, because everyone has a cause they are passionate about.

 

 

procore
image via procore

Procore has supported the construction industry with digital solutions for nearly 20 years, and has gone through some of its most aggressive internal scaling efforts during the latter 10. Amid this rapid growth, Sarah Villamaino, a product manager, said Procore’s autonomous, take-ownership and collaborative culture has remained intact.

 

How is your company culture different from what you’ve experienced at previous companies?


I’m continually impressed with Procore’s emphasis on autonomy. It’s refreshing to work at a company where I’m able to take full ownership of my work and drive decisions. It’s an environment where I, as an employee, understand my company’s overall objectives and vision, but I’m able to ultimately determine how best to get there. This also means that I have the ability to step in and solve problems for areas that might fall outside my normal scope of work. Leaning in is not only allowed — it’s encouraged. It’s one of the main reasons I decided to join Procore, and it’s encouraging to see this culture remain present throughout the company even as it has rapidly scaled and grown in size.


 

It’s refreshing to work at a company where I’m able to take full ownership of my work and drive decisions.”

Why is that important for someone in your role?


As a product manager, I’m responsible for leading a squad consisting of engineers, QA engineers and UX designers. Procore’s culture of autonomy and ownership is heavily present in my squad and can make some days feel like I’m working in my own mini startup. It’s the perfect balance of structure and scrappiness. I trust my team to execute on the work that drives Procore towards our vision and often use them as a resource to help define that work and roadmap. They have the autonomy to determine the best way to approach a ticket and, often times, the actual design. Additionally, if we see a problem or opportunity in an area of the product that we don’t necessarily own, we have the ability to either reach out to that team to provide the feedback or even work directly on that problem if necessary. This culture creates an environment of collaboration that ultimately allows us to ship the best possible solutions to our users.

 

juniper square
image via juniper square.

Juniper Square’s Head of Renewals Erin Schmidt praised the company’s openness for fostering a work environment that values respect, relationship building and trust. As a result, the strong bonds within the team have spilled into the relationships with customers.

 

How is Juniper Square’s culture different from what you’ve experienced at previous companies?

We choose to be intentional about defining culture. Here, valuing transparency and openness means that information typically kept confidential within the C-suite is shared with even the newest of hires. This enables and inspires everyone to think and act like an owner: we are encouraged to take initiative, manage our own productivity and strive to find new ways to contribute.

The openness at Juniper Square certainly plays a significant role in keeping the company ego-free, a unique characteristic for a rapidly growing SaaS company. People respect each team member’s functional role, and everyone comes to work with intention and an open mind. I find it refreshing to be surrounded by people who are genuine, honest, accountable and put customers at the center of what they do. As we continue to expand exponentially, the seemingly constant stream of new hires brings fresh ideas, big personalities, diverse backgrounds and specialized skills that continue to advance our culture. Despite the influx in growth, our values remain the same, at the core of what we do and our guide during our continued evolution.

 

The openness certainly plays a significant role in keeping the company ego-free, a unique characteristic for a rapidly growing SaaS company.”

Why is that important for someone in your role?

With a significant amount of my time spent at work, company culture has vast implications for my day-to-day experience. A strong culture turns employees into advocates for our company, curates a capable team and attracts and keeps the best talent for me to work with. I believe that building meaningful relationships with our customers is paramount to setting both our company and our customers up to achieve and surpass our goals and expectations. This allows our culture to shine through at every step of our customers’ journeys. As the head of renewals, I have found that our customers renew their contracts not only because they appreciate Juniper Square’s value proposition but also because they view us as the genuine, problem-solving and caring people we are!

 

new knowledge
image via new new knowledge.

New Knowledge’s product is built upon returning authenticity to the internet, and internally, this value on truth burns just as bright. Brand Strategy Partner Bailey Steinhauser explained how this impacts both their culture and what she brings to work each day.

 

How is New Knowledge’s culture different from what you’ve experienced at previous companies?

We’re a unique company because of the trust given to employees and the space provided to be creative in our work. No matter what your title is, you're given a voice here. I started in a different department but was quickly transitioned into a new field based on my strengths. Now, I’m in a position that I’m incredibly passionate about. This transition has helped to improve my life in and out of work, and if it wasn’t for leadership noticing something in me, I’d still be in a role that never made me feel this energized about my work. Having a culture like ours allows for incredible growth in such a short span of time. The people here shape the culture, and we are able to be our authentic selves. We are given the freedom to organize social events that are unique to our interests, and the team is constantly celebrating each other’s work. We are a family of authentic, unique and talented individuals who inspire one another every day.

 

Having a culture like ours allows for incredible growth in such a short span of time.

Why is that important for someone in your role?

A lot of people in the world feel like they have to be two different people at home and at work. At New Knowledge, I’ve been able to be me and have been welcomed with open arms. I think that’s important for anyone in any role because experiencing the unrelenting support and acceptance from the people you spend so much of your life with is a really good feeling. I can focus on succeeding in my position and supporting my clients, knowing that I have a team of people cheering me on daily.

 

uipath austin
image via uipath

Embracing one another’s differences and backgrounds is something UiPath CEO Daniel Dines has pushed since the company’s inception. It’s also something new employee Carmem Costa, of the inside sales team, felt immediately upon joining. The sales and channel territory manager for UiPath’s Brazil and Latin America divisions shared how this outlook has impacted her both professionally and personally.

 

How is UiPath’s culture different from what you’ve experienced at previous companies?

It has been almost three months since I started at UiPath. On my first day, I heard our CEO Daniel Dines talk about our culture, and how he embraces us. When I say us, I’m talking about the different cultures and nationalities that are present all around us here at UiPath. In this moment, I felt at home. Living in a different country where the primary language is your second language while carrying an accent has not always been easy. However, our CEO reminded us about our dreams, talked about where he sees us years from now and explained how we will accomplish them together without sacrificing our personal lives in order to be successful.

 

My belief that what makes me — and anyone that is interested in working at UiPath — different will be an asset and not something that will hold us back.”

Why is that important for someone in your role?

The importance of this outlook from the very top of the organization has huge implications for me as an individual contributor, as a member of the inside sales team and overall in my career trajectory. This validates my belief that what makes me — and anyone that is interested in working at UiPath — different will be an asset and not something that will hold us back. That’s a value I am teaching my kids; know where you came from, embrace it and don’t be afraid of the differences. Instead, use them to your advantage to make a positive impact on all of those who you touch in your personal and professional life.

 

hudson river trading austin
image via hudson river trading

For Hudson River Trading core developer Ali Moghadam, the company’s culture of openness means everything. It’s this access to knowledgeable teammates, partners and resources that helps employees grow in their careers, helping one another along the way.

 

How is Hudson River Trading’s culture different from what you’ve experienced at previous companies?

One big difference is how open HRT is as a company. You get access to everything on your first day — code, wiki, talks — and are encouraged to go out and learn. If you ever stumble onto something you don't understand, it’s easy to contact the author directly, and they will either explain it or point you in the right direction.

 

Openness at HRT makes it easy to grow and expand in the company, especially in terms of knowledge and contribution.

Why is that important for someone in your role?

Openness at HRT makes it easy to grow and expand in the company, especially in terms of knowledge and contribution. Knowing more parts of the codebase allows me to help other teams with bugs or performance problems. It also lets me suggest and implement new ideas that will help others.

 

nss labs
image via nss labs

Josh Stiles, a senior account executive for NSS Labs, shared how the company’s unique role in cybersecurity has cultivated some of the brightest minds in the space. This, plus a truly one-of-a-kind career opportunity, has Stiles praising the digital threat product testing firm.

 

How is NSS Lab’s culture different from what you’ve experienced at previous companies?

NSS Labs has a unique corporate culture. We test cybersecurity products to help enterprises identify products that are best suited to meet their use case requirements, and we publish test reports on how well these products defend against cyber attacks. Our reports also help vendors by providing data on products that have either excelled or need improvement. This business model is a departure from other organizations I’ve worked for. While I engage directly with the vendors through the testing cycle, NSS Labs’ customers are enterprises who rely on our research and tests to make informed purchasing decisions.

 

Why is that important for someone in your role?

Being a senior account executive at NSS Labs is an amazing opportunity. My role is to work with key executives at the largest cybersecurity vendors to show how independent, third-party testing through NSS Labs can help identify strengths and weaknesses in their products. I work with some of the smartest people in cybersecurity who know how to run evasion techniques that can bypass many of these products. When we identify vulnerability issues with a security product, we make these findings known to the vendor and work with them to address the problem.

 

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