Recent News from the Incubator and Beyond
We're still recovering from our annual Boston harbor cruise last week (pics forthcoming, rest assured) so in the meantime we thought we'd catch you up on some Cogo stuff that's been happening elsewhere around the web.
SmartSavings on Simple Innovative Change
Chris Lustrino from Fintech discussion hub Simple Innovative Change stopped by our offices to chat with Derek Bennewies, co-founder of SmartSavings. Derek spoke about his experience as an entrepreneur in our incubator, the iterative process of refining a successful product, and what the future holds for SmartSavings:
Our product vision is to enable you to sign up, connect your bank accounts, and then we will tell you how much you can spend every week. That's it. Just one number. Spend less than this number, you're fine. Oh, you want to save for a vacation? We'll automatically change your budget so that you'll have enough money for your vacation whenever you want to go on vacation. Stay within that one number every week and you will save what you need. There are plenty of tools for creating budgets and they do very well but they're very heavy duty tools. That's great for the power users that love to manage their personal finances, but there are plenty of people who are not nearly as sophisticated. Our mission is to make this process as simple as possible for the non-power user that is looking to budget.
How we hack
Recently there have been a number of teams in our family of companies holding hackathons. Cogo's parent company, Link Ventures, wrote about some of the things our teams have created in these events, and offered some advice for holding a successful hackathon:
Some teams use hackathons to build new, “outside the box” products for their business, including Link Ventures portfolio company CareDash. In fact, the only rule CareDash implemented in its most recent hackathon was that projects had to relate to the business in some direct way. The winning project was the Daily Wellness Challenge, a product that boosts user well-being and engagement via daily notifications. Other resulting hackathon creations included a quantifiable measuring tool for physician/practice reviews, an all-inclusive SEO instance, and a real-time CareDash.com portal that displays current healthcare laws and patient rights, with an emphasis on how low-income communities are affected.
Kelly McDonald, our Senior HR Business Partner, wrote some job-search advice for the Northeastern University Graduate Programs blog. Her topic was standing out (in a positive way) when contacting a hiring manager:
If you have a personal connection to the company, whether a current employee or reference from one of the company’s investors, mention it in the first paragraph of your email. Any hiring manager will give those applicants special attention. But beware: You could stand out for the wrong reasons.
Click through to read How to Properly Reach Out to a Hiring Manager.
Collaborating & Growing
We are all about hiring amazingly talented people and giving them the tools and support they need to launch successful entrepreneurial careers. We recently spoke with our friends at Lever about how collaboration and communication are key to hiring top talent and scaling successful teams:
We have to be really fluid and collaborative with our hiring process. Our teams are in constant communication within Lever on a daily basis. I remember that recently, a really promising candidate came into Cogo's pipeline for an engineering role - someone looking to do web-facing development. We were excited about him, but we only had back-end engineering roles open on our Cogo teams. But hiring managers across teams - not just within Cogo but also from companies under incubation - can communicate in Lever. I could immediately alert the different teams that we had a great candidate, and we were able to find the perfect role for him at Contrast, one of our incubated companies. Contrast already knew which questions the candidate had been asked in previous steps of the process, so they could eliminate steps and get an offer out to him more quickly.
And speaking of hiring...
...Cogo is most definitely hiring. If you're energetic, optimistic, self-directed, and technically-minded, please check out our careers page and send us a note. We'd love to hear from you. Thanks!