- Category Advice for Employers Leadership Waterloo Tech Women In Tech
- Writen by Nivedita Gajiwala
Samiksha Khanna recently joined Mattermost in May as their Head of Operations. Mattermost is an early stage company headquartered in Palo Alto that is growing the team remotely - with a heavy focus in KW and Toronto. They develop enterprise messaging solutions that are a secure and private cloud Slack-alternative.Can you tell us about Mattermost and what differentiates your enterprise messaging platform from the competition? Mattermost started in mid-2015, it came from a need we had when our subscription expired from another messaging software. We had to pay to access our own data and hated being locked in, so we decided to build our own. We are named Mattermost to emphasize the importance of communication. We believe that 1) internal messaging–across PCs and phones, with file sharing, archiving and search–is a vital layer of IT in a “post-email” world, 2) the platform for internal messaging needs to be open, and 3) that we wanted Mattermost to be the leading project to serve as the open layer for internal communications. Why did you choose to join the team? I had worked at a start up before and really saw the benefits of starting in early and building an amazing company from scratch. I was really impressed by the customers Mattermost had already acquired through their reputation in the open source community. We have some Government and Fortune 500 companies using Mattermost. What has your experience been like since you joined Mattermost? I get up every morning and fasten my seatbelt getting ready for the amazing ride! There is a strong feeling of accomplishment at the end of the day since you are literally doing 50 different things and every small change makes a big impact. The team is great, we all really enjoying working together and even though we're all distributed and work remotely I don't feel like I'm missing out. Operations roles can have very different meanings depending on the organization. How would you define your Head of Operations role? And why was this a critical role at this stage of the company's growth? One of the best descriptions I read was the Operations role is there to help make the CEO's vision a reality. The CEO only has so many hours in a day to not only develop the vision and strategy of the company, but also to ensure it's executed on at every level. That's where the Head of Operations role becomes critical. I'm essentially an extension of the CEO and focused on the operational details necessary for success today and in the future. What are some of the most challenging and rewarding aspects of what you do? As I mentioned earlier, being in a start up you're working on 50 different projects and the challenge is knowing what projects take priority over one another knowing that the priority list will change every few days. It's challenging but it's also the part I love, everyday is new and there's nothing boring and repetitive! What are the key learnings you've had in terms of how a company can successfully scale? Since I'm in Operations I'm a little biased here. I'm a big believer in setting a strong foundation for growth. The last thing a company needs when it starts ramping up people and customer growth is for the momentum to be interrupted because tools and process are broke. A solid operational foundation avoids the wasted time making a strong band aid and fixes the issue so we can turn the focus back to supporting our customers and community. What motivates you and keeps you excited about helping early stage companies grow? It's the impact you can make in a short period of time. We're under 20 people and growing and every small improvement makes a big difference. I also love that I have the autonomy to find a problem, fix the problem and then move onto the next challenge. A year from now I'm going to look back and feel so encouraged by everything we've accomplished.
- Category Advice for Employers blog Leadership Tech Events Uncategorized Waterloo Tech
- Writen by Nivedita Gajiwala
Letter from Kristina - Founder, Artemis CanadaIn today's blogpost I talk about how values-based organizations are winning the war for talent. As tech leaders focus on speed to market, increasing valuations and wooing investors, it can be tempting to sacrifice the best interests of great employees for short term delivery goals. We Canadians have a reputation for being nice - polite to a fault. In markets where customer and employee experience are critical, our inclusive and caring nature is starting to set our tech companies apart. When companies that proudly uphold values, it is this that motivates employees to delivery truly exception results. This month our update is filled with stories of these great Canadian tech companies and the leaders who are making a difference. Enjoy! Kristina McDougall Founder, Artemis Canada
WHO'S ON THE MOVEBart Piwowar formerly a Product & Innovation Lead at the Deloitte Innovation Lab recently moved to post of Director, Analytics at the CIBC Innovation Outpost. Oliver Fisher previously Director of Engineering at Shopify recently moved to the post of VP Engineering at Freshbooks. Ian McDonald former AVP at the TD Innovation Lab is now the Managing Director, Strategy & Marketing at InFlight. Simwave announced that Steven McCartney, former VP of Strategic Growth at Communitech, will be joining the company as President. Greg Barratt, former strategic sales leader at Miovision will fill in McCartney’s role at Communitech. Barratt formerly served as president of Communitech between 2000 to 2003, and has acted as an entrepreneur in residence.
INDUSTRY UPDATECongratulations to our partner companies that are featured on the Top 250 Canadian ICT Companies of the Branham Group Inc! Waterloo health tech company Medicalis has been acquired by the health-care unit of Siemens. Thalmic labs recently expanded into a former furniture store and has grown from 40 people in 2013 to over 200. They are working on products that "reinvent how humans interact with technology". After a “record-breaking year of growth,” VarageSale has added Kijiji founder Janet Bannister—now a partner at venture capital firm Real Ventures—to its board. SweetTooth has rebranded to Smile.io and has added a new dimension of rewards to the existing point based loyalty solution. Microsoft has announced a partnership with Waterloo's GainX to deliver a platform so that large enterprises can monitor and manage their innovation investments. Messaging app Kik will be the first mainstream application to integrate a Bitcoin-like cryptocurrency. Shopify announced that it is bringing “A Day with Shopify” to five cities in five countries later this year including Vancouver. The company is looking for speakers who want to share advice and insights with other Shopify Partners about industry related topics. Vector Capital is set to acquire Sandvine for $483 million. In March 2016, Sandvine received $15 million from the Ontario government, which it used to expand R&D and grow the team. Shortly after, Sandvine partnered with TextNow to power the company’s wireless services in the US. SaaS North is returning for the second year in a row to celebrate all things SaaS on 29-30th November.
MEET THE LEADERBrad Bierman is the Manager of Security Engineering at Arctic Wolf Networks. As a technical security consultant with deep experience in the industry, Brad is now responsible for a team of 11 security engineers at this California and Waterloo-based startup. We caught up with Brad recently to hear about their growth and the ever-evolving security industry…which is top of mind for everyone these days! Read about it here
ARTEMIS CANADA CONNECT
The Artemis Canada Connect program is a confidential and curated introduction service aimed at connecting returning tech talent with innovative tech companies in Canada. By flipping traditional recruiting upside down, we help individuals return to great jobs in Canada by giving our partners a first look at the best returning talent.Here's a preview of the senior talent looking to come home. Sign up to be a part of our hotlist and subscribe to candidate profiles!
#1 This VP, SaaS Operations led the AWS migration strategy, drove product automation and managed 30 engineers internationally. He has previous experience as Director of Data Operations for an online gaming platform with 1M simultaneous users. Strong in scaling data systems, analytics redesign and managing teams. I'd like to learn more
#2 This Group Product Manager has grown his career at a software company (web and mobile based) in the financial space that sells into the SMB segment. He’s played a pivotal role in helping them define their go-to-market strategy for new markets to shift from a US-centric company to a major global player. He currently manages a team of 4-7 product managers. I'd like to learn more
#3 An accomplished Senior VP, Sales & Business Development who has experience raising over $75M from VCs and strategic investors and is familiar with creating partnerships and managing complex ecosystems. He’s been the CEO of a startup, and has experience across ecommerce, IoT, financial technology, media & entertainment and security. I'd like to learn more
#4 SVP Engineering/Product who has built and managed distributed engineering teams of 125, budgets of $25M and grew operations of a yearly run rate of $200M. He has been through IPOs/acquisitions and has experience across content delivery, media and telecom. I'd like to learn more
ACTIVE ARTEMIS SEARCHES
Here are a handful of the roles we're currently working on:
Head of Marketing – Enterprise Messaging Learn MoreDirector of Customer Experience Learn More Engineering Leader – GTA Scale-up Learn More Data Savvy Marketing Manager – Toronto Learn More If you have any updates or insights you'd like to share with us, e-mail us at email@example.com You can Subscribe to future monthly newsletters here.
- Category Advice for Employers blog Leadership Uncategorized
- Writen by Nivedita Gajiwala
- Category Advice for Employers blog Career Planning Leadership
- Writen by Nivedita Gajiwala
I’ve had many conversations lately about organizational values and how they can improve or impede growth in tech. It seems that many companies, both in Canada and the US, are being torn between being values-focus (respectful, kind and trusting) and being delivery-focused (fast, effective). In the eyes of many, these are at opposite ends of a spectrum.
We Canadians have a reputation for being nice - polite to a fault. In markets where customer and employee experience are critical, our inclusive and caring nature is starting to set our tech companies apart.
With our focus on talent, we know that the success of a tech company is tied directly to the ability to attract and engage the best people. While these people all want to be part of a winning team, and one that is moving quickly down the path of success - they also really want to be respected.
The most talented people we talk to want to work with leaders who create an environment where it is safe to innovate and learn - where they are trusted and given both autonomy and direction. Great people know how to get results, and they’d rather deliver those results for a company that shows them respect.
As it turns-out, a values-based organization is most likely to attract the best people. When inspired with the right mission, great people will care about customer and will deliver great solutions with speed and efficiency.
- Category blog Leadership Waterloo Tech
- Writen by Nivedita Gajiwala
What was it about Virtek Vision and this role that drew you in?Virtek is a company that helps manufacturing organizations automate some of their processes. We help with cost quality and efficiency - wherever there is high complexity low volume manufacturing. If you get into high volume like cars, robotics are really what you need at that point. What we do is we help humans do things in a much more effective and efficient way. I came from a manufacturing background originally, so I'm very familiar with the challenges that most manufacturers face. Our technology addresses an important challenge. I have an unusual background and this was like a perfect fit.
What's your experience been since joining Virtek?In the 5 months that I’ve been here it's been a fantastic, busy, whirlwind experience. I came into the company and immediately started working on next year's sales plan. It was a real challenge, as I was still getting to know the company, but a lot of fun. I continue to be impressed with the people here. They are fantastic and very dedicated. We have very, very low employee turnover, which is highly unusual in the KW tech industry. This is a real testament to how much people enjoy working here. It's a very team oriented, fast-paced atmosphere. We work with blue chip companies which is exciting. The young people who work here love it because there is opportunity for global travel, as we have to be on site often to help our customers solve new problems with our product. I see that as a great opportunity for most people who are starting out in their career. The experience is invaluable.
What are you looking forward to as the company continues to grow?I'm really focused on modernizing our sales team - giving them the tools they need and the methods that are reflective of today’s B2B buying environment. The industries that we sell into have changed and our sales team has to keep pace by employing modern techniques. This is a challenge that really excites me. We’re also developing and releasing new products at a very fast pace, setting the pace for our industry. In an industry that hasn't changed much in the last 10 years, we've now released technology and products that are changing the game. We can see our competitors scrambling to keep up. I'm looking forward to Virtek continuing on this path and staying ahead of our competitors. We’ve already positioned ourselves ahead of the curve, so it’s an exciting challenge to keep in the disruptive mode. From a sales point of view, it’s important for us to capitalize on all that hard work from engineering.
How would you describe the culture and team at Virtek?It’s one of loyalty, dedication and teamwork. It’s really top notch people who are very, very focused. We do an awful lot of traveling which requires time away from your family and friends and is a big personal commitment. In order to do that kind of travelling you have to be dedicated and loyal - and we have those people. I find it amazing that this is kind of a sleepy little company in Waterloo that nobody talks a whole lot about. But I was pleasantly surprised when I walked through the doors and found the most amazing people here. And they don’t leave the company so the culture must be fantastic. Do we have ping pong tables and hammocks? No we don’t, but we’ve got awesome people that are excited to work here everyday and contribute to really helping customers solve problems.
Virtek has been part of the local tech scene for a long time - why would you say that they are now one to watch?In a traditional sense, I don’t know if we’re "the one to watch". However I’m excited about what we do because what we do, we do very well. We have huge market share in our space. I’m excited that we’re leading the way with new technology in engineering and it’s great to watch. When demo our new products for our best customers, it is amazing to watch their faces. It’s the equivalent of saying you’ve been driving a car your whole life and somebody pulls up with a car that can fly - and you go "whaaat" - that is kind of the equivalent. We've brought technology into the space and big companies see this and their jaws drop to the floor - "wow, this is fantastic". That makes me really excited. I know that we are onto something that is really, truly game changing. As a sales leader that makes my job so satisfying.
What are some of the most challenging aspect about what you do?Because of the way people buy today, they’ve got more access to information than they’ve ever had in the history of the world. With information so easy to come by, gaining mindshare when they’re doing their research is by far the biggest challenge. It’s a very busy world out there on the internet. I’m confident, because we’ve got really good, passionate people here and that’s the prime ingredient. There’s nothing they can’t do.
Why do you do what you do? What motivates you and makes everything worth it?At the end of the day if you’re in sales or engineering, you generally just want to help people succeed. That’s what it comes down to. If you can somehow help somebody solve a problem with cool technology that’s a great motivator. When they turn to you and say "wow, this is great. This is fantastic and we couldn’t have done this without you." - That’s gold.
Any words of advice for companies looking to scale globally?I would suggest that they need to get their feet wet - lean in. You may be right or you may be wrong, but the more you hesitate the more you lose your opportunity. Time is always a competitive weapon. Get started and learn by experience. The depth of complexity when you work on an international scale is something that you really just have to experience yourself. Don’t delay. The more you delay, the more opportunity is lost and time is the ultimate currency so do it now - do it today.
We're a high performing team working towards a common goal: building a kick-ass online cloud SaaS application to help small businesses. Known for extraordinary customer service and based in Toronto, Canada, serves customers in over 120 countries.In this key leadership role, you will be responsible for leading a highly talented and versatile software development team to develop a world-class SaaS application. Working closely with the CTO, you will ensure that the growth and development of our product is powering the strategic direction. You will mentor the senior leaders of the Development team and focus on the continued enhancement of the development process to drive speed, innovation and scale across existing and new product lines.
Specifically this position includes:
Owning and evolving the architectural vision
Collaborating with the Product and Operations teams to ensure our technology platform drives business objectives and takes advantage of technology trends
Identifying and addressing gaps in the technical process to drive continuous improvement
Owning the SDLC and supporting tools
Building your leadership team by working closely with the Development Managers to develop their skills and careers
- Category Advice for Employers blog Career Planning Leadership Waterloo Tech
- Writen by Nivedita Gajiwala
- I’ve worked outside Waterloo for the majority of my career - for Toronto, Ottawa, and New York based companies. During this time I’ve seen the Waterloo tech community evolve tremendously. There’s now a rich ecosystem of tech companies that I find very exciting. The region is exploding with opportunity and I always knew I wanted to get back at some point when the timing and opportunity was right. Bridgit checked all the boxes - great local reputation, the vision and early stage execution of the co-founders and the team, and solving an actual problem. When I look at local start-ups, they stand in a unique category - they have clients, have successfully cracked the US market, have strong recurring revenue, and have great internal/ external support. With all the checkboxes, I was really excited to help scale and grow a company in my own backyard.
- It’s been great! The culture is awesome, everyone works hard, and everyone is committed to Bridgit’s success. No politics, no BS - just an overall desire to make Bridgit an even greater company and leader in the space. I have felt very empowered and supported by the co-founders and team in general - and we’ve accomplished a lot over the last 90 days. We’ve hired some great people, have had a record Q1 in terms of revenue/ sales growth and feel very excited for what lies ahead.
- In short, really looking forward to scaling across the board - revenue, team, market position, product etc. We’ve got some aggressive corporate objectives but with the foundation that we’ve been able to create, I’ve got a high degree of confidence in our ability to execute collectively. I want to be able to look in the rearview mirror one day, and say, “I was a part of that”.
- Generally speaking we’re looking for bright, tenacious, and experienced people to help us scale to the next level. We’re looking for the A-players. Culture fit is important to us at Bridgit - we’re looking for people who can collaborate internally, be methodical in their approach and can think strategically. More specifically on the sales side, we’ve structured the team with Business Development who focus at the top of the funnel and Account Executives who have experience advancing and closing the sale. In terms of Account Executives, ideally individuals who have 2-5 years early-stage SaaS experience and who have demonstrated success. Looking to build a team without ego's where everyone (regardless of title) works together to achieve the goals.
- Bridgit has created a very strong foundation across the board which is awesome. Now it’s all about scaling and executing. We have disruptive technology, and validation in the marketplace that we do solve a problem that exists, which in turn gives us a strong sense of purpose and commitment.
- In terms of challenge, I think of it more as an opportunity. Generally speaking we sell into a non-tech savvy industry and often times our clients are either unaware that solutions like ours exist, have invested in clunky ERP solutions that do average job solving the problem, or have been exposed to lower-end solutions. So it’s up to us to articulate the value that we can provide and challenge these companies so that they understand both the personal and corporate win. Our client retention (and expansion) is extremely high which is a testament to the value that we provide.
- It’s not for everyone, but I love being able to scale teams and revenue in early stage environments. Targets are often times aggressive, but the reward and sense of accomplishment when you look back is incredible. When you see a team, product, market position, and revenue scale exponentially in a relatively short period of time it’s pretty awesome.
- Really understand the market that you’re going after. Where do you fit, how big is it and create a plan that you can measure against. Everyone needs to know what their role is and needs to be accountable. In early stage companies, it’s important to set goals, measure, and most important adapt accordingly. Best technology does not always win, so if you’re serious about scaling revenue/ sales, invest accordingly!