Many people hesitate making a career change in the interest of waiting for the right time, but in Austin’s tech scene, it seems the best time is always now.
Over the past year, more than 150 companies either moved or expanded their base of operations within the city limits, leaving opportunities abundant and demand for jobseekers high. Tech companies are also increasingly aligning their values and growth aspirations with the work they take on, and it’s important that the people who make up their teams have similar mindsets.
“Our mission to give people tools to save money and build credit was something I personally identified with as my family struggled with rebuilding credit growing up,” Ale Fautsch, a lead software engineer at Self, said.
Built In Austin sat down with employees at nine of the fastest-growing companies in the Silicon Hills city to discuss what drew them to their current role and what exciting possibilities are on the horizon.
QuotaPath automatically tracks quota progress and commissions in real time and allows for personal customization to keep sales teams motivated.
Earning what’s due: “What excited me most about joining QuotaPath was the opportunity to help solve a problem that’s very personal to me as a salesperson — compensation,” Rodriguez said. “Most sales reps today still have little to no visibility into their commissions, and don’t even fully comprehend their compensation plans. QuotaPath makes compensation easy to understand, automated and motivating by helping sales teams identify how they can be earning more. On top of that, the entire QuotaPath team brings experience, excellence and a ‘can-do’ attitude, which makes every day at work rewarding and motivating. Our new office in East Austin features a neon sign that says ‘good vibes,’ and the QuotaPath team truly brings that feeling all around — to each other, to our customers and to the market.”
Qualifying user experience: “I’m most excited about putting sales compensation software — and QuotaPath specifically — at the top of every company’s sales tech stack. I have the opportunity to help do that by leading our customer success and account management teams to ensure our customers have an amazing experience working with our team and product, and that we’re helping them to solve their unique business needs. We’re on a mission to help companies have fewer spreadsheets and more time back to close sales.”
Self helps underserved people save money and build and establish their credit.
Finding personal connection: “I wanted to work at Self for one primary reason: impact,” Fautsch said. “Our mission to give people tools to save money and build credit was something I personally identified with as my family struggled with rebuilding credit growing up. I was given the opportunity and resources at Self to build data infrastructure from the ground up, and I believe my work helped directly impact our customers in a hugely positive way.”
Expanding product impact: “We’ve been trusted by millions of customers to guide them toward financial wellness. Using our talented people and the power of data, I’m excited to help build even more personalized products and tools to help our customers reach their goals.”
An ecosystem of businesses, rex serves people across three primary verticals: technology, investments and real estate.
Seeing a clear future: “For me, the deciding factor was the potential for growth at rex, both for myself and the company as a whole,” Carroll said. “It was obvious that joining this team would mean being a part of building something, and I was invigorated by the idea of what that impact could be. In my interview process, I could see that there was a collaborative spirit that allowed people to learn about all aspects of the company, and that there would be room to move around if I ever wanted to find a different fit for my skill set. As someone coming from a completely different field of work, this was comforting to me, and I knew that this was a team that prioritized keeping their people happy and challenged. The deal was sealed by how positive, hardworking and motivating every person I met on the team was. That remains true to this day.”
Growing the next generation: “There is so much possibility ahead of us right now at rex. Specifically for me as director of university relations, I am so excited to help recruit the next generation of talent for our company. After spending years working in higher education, I know first hand that this generation of students is not only extremely intelligent and hardworking, but thoughtful, well-rounded, empathetic and motivated. The interns we recruit are going to have a massive impact on our company, both from a technical perspective and culturally as well. I can’t wait to work with them, and I can’t wait to make their experience here as fun and meaningful as possible. I have no doubt that the future of rex will include being one of the top internship programs, and I look forward to working with my team to make that happen.”
SparkCognition catalyzes growth with artificial intelligence and machine learning technology to help clients adapt to a changing digital landscape.
Southern possibilities: “I joined SparkCognition as an intern while in the midst of completing my Ph.D. in Computer Science at The University of Texas at Austin,” McDonnell said. “What first drew me to the company was the nature of the work — forward-looking research in the field of AI is hard to come by outside of the West Coast. But I came to find that the research project I was working on at the time was only the first small dose of the broader culture of innovation and opportunity at SparkCognition. I ultimately decided to put my graduate studies on hold and join SparkCognition full-time. I’m glad that I did: I still get to learn every day from professors and leaders in the field of AI, but I also get to feel and see the real-world impact of my work.”
Expanding accessibility: “What excites me most is creating impact at scale. As long as I have been at SparkCognition, we have been working with some of the largest Fortune 500 companies, applying cutting-edge AI to solve some of the most difficult problems in the industry.
“When I look at how we can increase our impact as a company, the answer is to make AI as accessible as possible to as many people as possible to solve as many problems as possible. I see that reflected every day in our work at SparkCognition. We frequently develop novel AI technologies to solve real-world problems, and while that’s an interesting challenge in itself, it’s just as exciting — and oftentimes just as difficult — to generalize those solutions. We strive to extract the core components of our AI and make them easy to understand and intuitive to use so that our customers can use them to solve new problems, especially those we hadn’t thought of initially. That’s a difficult task, but that’s the scale and the impact that we’re chasing.”
Identity platform CLEAR transforms fingerprints and face recognition into a secure, biometric customer experience in nearly 40 U.S. airports and venues.
Real-world impact: “Watching my code being used by tens of thousands of people every day is an exciting and rewarding experience,” Klaser said. “I have watched the company go from kiosks in the airport to helping open the world back up after COVID-19 lockdowns. What we have accomplished as a company thus far is something most people dream of getting to be a part of, and I am so excited to be a part of it.
“Due to our rapid growth, there are so many good problems to solve. CLEAR is very open to innovation, even outside our bi-annual hackathons. If you have an idea or a proof of concept, anyone from your peers to the senior leadership team is ready and willing to listen. I have never worked somewhere where my ideas are as valued as they are here at CLEAR. There is so much potential to be impactful.
“At the end of the day it comes down to the people and the leadership. It’s very rare to find a company that truly cares about their employees the way CLEAR does. From free meals to our CEO forgoing her 2020 salary to set up the One CLEAR Fund to financially support field employees impacted by COVID, I am proud to be on her team!”
Personal evolution potential: “It’s extremely exciting to see all the growth. There are new faces at every happy hour. CLEAR is in this exciting time where we are making the transition from a small company to a large company. The concerns began to shift from moving quickly to get features out the door to processes and scalability. These are good problems to have, but more importantly, they leave so much room for employees to step up and grow into a desired role. For example, I have been working on a server that would allow us to deploy UI code significantly faster. It’s great to have an idea and be given the opportunity and support to lead something from a simple documented idea to a demo of a proof of concept.”
Billd is a payment and finance solution for the construction industry, allowing organizations to acquire the materials they need upfront and pay suppliers later.
Believing in the mission: “One of the biggest reasons I have been at Billd so long is because I believe in what we are doing,” Catlin said. “We are trying to solve a problem and provide a solution that makes way too much sense in the construction space. With different ideas and a new way of thinking, there are always going to be early adopters and a bit of an uphill battle in spreading the word about a new solution, but I’ve seen our product help hundreds of contractors grow their businesses. I wouldn’t be at Billd if I didn’t believe in what we were doing and the why behind our product. Also, the leadership, professional growth and surrounding talent all make for pretty compelling reasons to make yourself at home among the Billd work family.”
Customer-centric solutions: “I wake up every day excited about the future ahead for Billd. Billd has developed a new idea, product and way of thinking in an otherwise broken payment cycle within construction. I might be biased, but I believe I have one of the best roles at Billd in that I have the privilege of speaking to our customers, new and existing, day-in and day-out. I hear the struggles and pain points our customers face while running their businesses, and I am able to provide a solution where frankly there hasn’t been one before. I am excited about the partnerships we have in place and every conversation I have with a new customer knowing that we will help them take control and empower their business. But I am most excited that we are truly just beginning as a young company. The growth and future ahead for Billd, our customers and the construction payment chain is as bright as ever to anyone willing to listen.”
MongoDB offers a document database management system on which developers can build and and applications can run.
Creating immediate connections: “MongoDB’s interview process really wowed me,” Sullivan said. “I found they spent less time selling me on MongoDB and more on uncovering what mattered to me and how I wanted to shape my career. Instead of pitching to me, they listened to me. The rigorous interview process showed me that they care deeply about the caliber of their candidates, and it inspired me to work harder to meet their standards of excellence. In my interview they told me that they would shape the talent that I already possessed, and that’s a promise they’ve delivered on. MongoDB is meticulous in its hiring so that the company can enter into mutually-beneficial relationships with its employees. I will always be better for having worked here, and for having worked under people who push me to be the best version of myself.”
Standing by the work: “Part of what attracted me to MongoDB was the product market fit, and the more time I spend here, the stronger our position in the market becomes. It’s evident that MongoDB’s commitment to excellence and customer understanding applies not just to the sales process, but to the product department as well. We continue to develop features that make our customers’ lives easier and make their businesses more successful, like search and data tiering. With deep understanding of customer challenges, our product team delivers on meaningful enhancements to the platform at just the right time. It’s exciting to work with customers on a product that is intimately tied to crucial parts of their business and one that even dictates what’s possible for their own product and sales teams.”
Literati is a literature technology company and subscription service for readers of all ages.
Team driven: “I am always in awe of the people whom I work with on a day-to-day basis,” McLennon said. “Beyond the generally friendly nature of their personalities, they all bring with them a level of passion that has a visible impact on the work they bring to the company. This translates to both dedication to improving the product and being great people to work with. We are a company that is utilizing great technology to support an amazing product focused on innovation in the book industry. I am so proud to be a part of it and to work with such amazing and talented colleagues.”