Do work that matters: How mission motivates these 5 LA tech teams

by Hannah Levy
December 5, 2018

When a mission drives a company’s values — and vice-versa — the people who put in the work know that what they’re doing has purpose and meaning. 

And whether it’s bringing financial access to underserved communities, creating a platform that serves retirees, ensuring customer satisfaction, or finding ways to continually improve as a team, local tech companies are putting their best feet forward to be stewards for their teammates and clients alike.

We spoke with employees from five mission-driven companies on what it means to truly live their values — and how that sets their teams apart. 

 

Los Angeles tech company Renew on their mission
photo via renew

Santa Monica’s Renew creates innovative content and tools for retirees, including a first-of-its-kind Medicare shopping engine and a rapidly growing online community. We spoke to Samantha Lamph, a content manager at the company, to learn more about how the team works toward its mission — day in, day out. 

 

Few companies are going to say they don’t have a strong sense of mission. What sets your company apart? What drew you to Renew’s mission in the first place? 

I was immediately impressed by the unique approach the team was taking to a market segment that has been traditionally overlooked and underserved — especially in the startup world, which is dominated by companies following a “for-millennials-by-millennials” model. 

In particular, I found the brand’s voice to be particularly refreshing. We all know that marketing efforts aimed at older audiences have traditionally relied on misleading, borderline disrespectful language in the realm of “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” Renew defies those stereotypes and empowers our audience because we know firsthand that our parents’ generation is still eager to try new things and accomplish new goals. 

 

For us, integrity is non-negotiable — we’re dedicated to doing the right thing for our customers.

 

What values are most important to Renew? 


Collaboration, compassion and balance. We are an ambitious team, and that shared drive to devise the best solutions to the problems our users face is one that we are all passionate about tackling together. 

For us, integrity is non-negotiable — we’re dedicated to doing the right thing for our customers, even when that happens to be the difficult (or less immediately profitable) decision for us as a company. 

Empathy is probably the single-most important value at Renew. We’re solving problems we have yet to face directly in our own lives, and to do that successfully, we need to connect with and listen intently to our users.



 

How do you see proof of those values in your daily work? 



I’ve never worked in an environment quite as inspiring as Renew, and I think it’s in large part due to the laser focus the founding members of our team have had on our values and “walking our talk.” Having leaders you respect and admire at the helm of your company — and also on the ground, working directly with the rest of the team — makes it easy to maintain excitement for the work you are doing on a daily basis. 

Beyond being encouraged to grow professionally, we are also incentivized to pursue personal growth via a monthly gym/wellness benefit, catered (healthy!) lunches three times per week, team bonding events and more.



 

Los Angeles company Redgate on their company missions
photo via redgate

Redgate makes simple tools for the Microsoft Data Platform that more than 90 percent of Fortune 100 companies use. We caught up with Jason Young, a senior sales manager, and Jake Sigrist, an SDR manager, to hear more about how their teams — and the company proper — hone in on a unified mission.

 

Few companies are going to say they don’t have a strong sense of mission. What sets your company apart? What drew you to Redgate’s mission in the first place? 

When Jake and I are interviewing, we’re often asked what our favorite part of working at Redgate is. We always laugh at this question, because we know how the other is going to answer: “It’s simple. It’s the people that make Redgate such a great place.”

We have both seen colleagues come and go, but the family-like atmosphere is always evident. Through the years, we’ve evolved together, grinded together and enjoyed success together — always with the notion of getting better and finding ways to progress.

 

It can be cliché to say it starts at the top, but it really does at Redgate. Transparency is a core value of our executive team.

 

What values are most important at your company? 

The fun answer is to reference the “Don’t be an asshole” value. 

But really, it’s all about getting the right people in the room and making sure we’re working toward our larger goals. The question is — once we’re in the room, then what do we do? This is where our “We do our best work in teams” value resonates. Sales is no longer an individual sport, like it was in the Glengarry Glen Ross days. 

How we collaborate daily, across all functions, is how we produce consistent success and see continuing growth. And as we work better together, the other core value I see as important here comes into play: “When our customer succeeds, so do we.”

 

How do you see proof of those values in your daily work? 

It can be cliché to say it starts at the top, but it really does at Redgate. Transparency is a core value of our executive team, and it allows the rest of the company to understand our direction and what we need to do in order to reach our goals. 

As that understanding flows downward to each employee, it naturally creates a flat structure, encouraging employees at every level to work across functions and on a variety of projects to achieve that common goal.

 

simplepracticeteampicbuiltinLA.jpg
photo via simplepractice

SimplePractice is in the business of helping people — specifically, helping health and wellness professionals grow their practices so those practices, in turn, can help more patients. The company’s cloud-based, HIPAA-compliant platform helps with processes like integrated billing, client intake, online payment and more. SimplePractice’s lead visual designer, Emily Okada, unpacked their mission for us in greater detail. 

 

Few companies are going to say they don’t have a strong sense of mission. What sets your company apart? What drew you to SimplePractice’s mission in the first place? 

Our mission is to empower health and wellness professionals to start, run and grow their businesses. Along with tackling the administrative burden our customers face in their practices, we provide the tools and resources necessary to help them become independent and effective business owners.

I was drawn to the idea that, through tech, I could contribute to a project that is more meaningful than social media, games or designing location filters — this company is making the world a better place. It’s gratifying to know that every day, even in a small way, we support health and wellness professionals to make a difference and transform lives for the better.

 

SimplePractice has aided not only in developing my career, but also in my personal growth — I am more engaged and challenged than ever before. 

 

What values are most important at SimplePractice?

Our leadership team holds tightly to core values of freedom and responsibility, quality over quantity, and flexibility. While these are generally valued by all companies, my previous jobs didn’t empower their employees in the same way.

SimplePractice has aided not only in developing my career, but also in my personal growth — I am more engaged and challenged than ever before. 

 

How do you see proof of those values in your daily work?

You see proof of these values in the people who work here. Everyone is thoughtful, hard-working and passionate about life. It’s not a huge team, but we get things done. We have fun every day but it’s also not a madhouse — we have an open office, and it could be super loud and distracting, but everyone is working. We have weekly all-company meetings where people are proud to share their progress, leadership has an opportunity to encourage us, and we share a free meal.

 

Tala team
Photo via tala

Tala’s mission is to bring financial access to millions of underserved people the world over. The company’s mobile technology offers instant credit scoring, lending and other financial services for folks in emerging markets, and leans heavily on data science to do just that. Tala’s product lead, Sam Sibley, filled us in on the details.

 

Few companies are going to say they don’t have a strong sense of mission. What sets your company apart? What drew you to Tala’s mission in the first place? 

I was drawn to Tala for the problem we’re trying to solve, and the culture we’ve created to solve it. Mobile technology puts us at a unique point in history; we have a new ability to reach historically underserved populations around the world. Tala leverages emerging technologies to create a new financial system that understands and serves groups that were previously shut out of the critical financial services needed to build the lives they want. 

Although we’re headquartered in Santa Monica, Tala has built a global team and designed practices that keep us close to our customers, and puts their needs first. I truly think we’re unique at our stage because we don’t make tradeoffs with growth and mission; we don’t focus on scale and let our user research muscle atrophy.

 

I was drawn to Tala for the problem we’re trying to solve, and the culture we’ve created to solve it.”

 

What values are most important at your company?

We have a set of values that play out on a day-to-day basis, all centered around keeping people — both our customers and our teammates — first. The main one is #RadicalTrust, which captures my core values of believing in people and practicing good intent, operating with transparency and maintaining a growth mindset. 

I’m also a huge believer that the mission and culture of the company is 100 percent driven by our CEO, Shivani Siroya. When I was interviewing with Shivani, I was sold by the humility she displayed by candidly sharing that she didn’t believe she was the best CEO in the world, but was committed to growing with the team and helping us all become the best version of ourselves. For the record, Shivani is absolutely a world-class CEO, but I hadn’t heard that before. That humility and ingrained growth mindset plays out throughout our team and across our offices.

 

How do you see proof of those values in your daily work?

People join startups because they want to have real impact on something novel and to do so with a group of people that energizes them. Our team is currently in hyper-growth mode, and that comes with growing pains and transitions. Amazingly still, we haven’t lost the energy and value for having fun and growing together. We keep weekly, non-siloing structures like Ask-Me-Anythings and staff gatherings to make sure information stays free-flowing. We continue to cultivate our team and practices to optimize for speed, and opportunities to better understand our customers and impact their lives.

 

Los Angeles based Matchcraft on being driven by a mission
photo via matchcraft

One of the pillars of LA’s adtech scene, MatchCraft has been partnering with resellers and digital agencies around the world for more than 20 years. The company’s adtech platform helps companies manage and scale hyper-local search, display and social solutions for their advertisers. Avni Agrawal, senior marketing specialist at MatchCraft, filled us in on how the company stays true to its mission. 

 

Few companies are going to say they don’t have a strong sense of mission. What sets your company apart? What drew you to MatchCraft’s mission in the first place? 

In our CEO Sandy Lohr’s words, what sets us apart is that we always look at our products and services from the customer’s perspective. We value authenticity above all else, so instead of offering our customers our latest or greatest product, we offer them solutions that are the best match for their business needs. 

We tell our clients that we are going to do everything we can to make sure our platform helps their businesses succeed, and that we’re going to give them the good news and the bad, as we figure out what works together.

It’s transparency that has helped us earn our clients’ trust and repeat business over the years. And that is one of our key differentiators. 

 

We still have a startup mentality. We’re constantly looking to innovate and stay ahead of the curve.

 

What values are most important at MatchCraft?

Even though we have been a successful business for over 20 years (we celebrated our 20-year anniversary in August!), we still have a startup mentality. We’re constantly looking to innovate and stay ahead of the curve when it comes to new products and services. We may not always be the first, but our goal is to always be the best.  

Also, our company has offices around the world — in the U.S., Brazil, Netherlands and India — and many remote employees as well. Having such a wide global presence gives us a competitive advantage for our clients but also offers a unique challenge (hello, multiple time zones!) when it comes to ensuring all employees work together in symphony. To solve this, we make extra efforts to provide a collaboration-friendly environment, including global all-staff meetings — even global happy hours! 

 

How do you see proof of those values in your daily work?

1. High-performing digital tools. Everyday, we provide high-performing digital tools to our clients in the form of our platform, AdVantage, and our taxonomy AdVisor, an expansive library of keywords and ad copies available in 23 different languages.

2. A fair and impartial digital ecosystem. We promote a fair and impartial digital ecosystem within our platform by offering our clients and their merchants the ability to have their campaigns run agnostically on both Google and Bing.

3. Growth for all participants. Growth for all participants is a big one. Internally we ensure growth by continually encouraging all employees to not just find new ways to excel in their tasks, but to explore their personal interests as well. For example, we recently introduce employee-led clubs at MatchCraft. Externally, we thrive on customer feedback and constantly evolve our products and services to ensure that our clients are able to provide the best value to their merchants. 

4. Integrity, authenticity, and transparency. Our unwavering integrity is a product of our authenticity while selling to our customers and transparency while managing their campaigns and accounts. 

5. Innovation. For 20 years MatchCraft has prided itself in being a front-runner in the craft of matching buyers and sellers of ad technology. From designing our first prototype, Alpha, to being the first global technology company to successfully implement the ETA (Expanded Text Ads) format for both Google and Bing, we have come a long way. 

6. Collaboration. We constantly strive to increase team collaboration by using tools such as Slack, GoToMeeting, etc. To celebrate our 20th anniversary, we flew our entire global team to our HQ in Santa Monica. It was a blast!

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