Which startup has the Best Culture? Vote now!

It’s our first year taking note of the vibrant, talented teams in our midst. The ones that somehow have an abundance of fun while also getting results. They made it this far, now they need your vote to deem them the best place to joyfully lug long hours.

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It’s our first year taking note of the vibrant, talented teams in our midst. The ones that somehow have an abundance of fun while also getting results. They made it this far, now they need your vote to deem them the best place to joyfully lug long hours. Voting ends this Friday, August 15.

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VOTE NOW FOR BEST CULTURE

Join us for the Silicon Prairie Awards: We have an exciting evening of community celebration planned for Aug. 21 at the Midland Theatre in Kansas City. Tickets are still available for the event, which includes an opening reception, keynote talk by N3TWORK co-founder Erik Lammerding, awards ceremony and closing party. Purchase your tickets today.

Meet the Best Culture finalists

The startup everyone wants to work at, that has the best benefits, the best leadership, the best environment.

Bulu Box

Bulu Box is a discovery ecommerce platform for health, nutrition and fitness. (Lincoln)

Benefits: 10% employee equity pool and all the samples of bars, protein shakes, vitamins and supplements you can handle

  • Environment
    -Flexible work schedule
    -No set “day start” time
    -Kids are welcomed
    -Dogs are welcomed
    -Vacation policy: “don’t f*ck it up for everyone else”
    -In general our office policy is “Use your best judgment”
  • Office
    -We all work in the same small area, there are no offices.
    -One time we had a Customer send us flowers because they were so happy with our customer service
    -Everyone gets a set of keys and are welcomed at anytime to use the office for whatever they want
    -We have a game room with Original Nintendo, Sega Genesis, Nintendo 64, Playstation, Xbox, etc.
    -We have free washer/dryer/laundry
    -Our space is (intentionally) a converted apartment so we have a full kitchen, showers, etc.
  • Team Bonding
    -We all share Gallup Strengthfinders
    -We all share our Personality Profile Color test
    -We participate in things like Bootcamps together, we’ve also attended Crossfit together.
    -We have puzzle nights
    -We have movie nights
    -If we hit goals we celebrate with everything from Mimosas in the morning to a Free Day Off at the Cabin.
    -We hold bi-weekly one-on-ones to help people solve challenges and develop as leaders.
    -We’re going camping soon…
  • Adventures
    -We have a Bulu Box RAP “song”… Did I mention we have a BULU BOX RAP!!!!
    -We all decided to help start a half marathon together called “The Good Life Halfsy” after we all ran in the “Market-to-Market” race
    -We have an annual Bulu Box birthday party at a cabin on the lake
    -We have an annual Bulu Box talent show
    -We have an annual NBA JAM tournament
  • Food
    -We have a magical refrigerator that has all sorts of unending free beverages (use your imagination)
    -All the samples of bars, protein shakes, vitamins and supplements you can handle
    -Free dinner if you work past 7pm
  • From an employee: “It’s the late night and long hours. It’s almost like a badge of courage around startups of who can burn the most midnight oil and who can miss out the most on real life because they’re working. Having worked a few long nights I realize that a lot of that is just bluster and really doesn’t hold much weight. Late nights are a necessity. At Bulu Box there’s no reward for late night, there’s no prize to who pulls the most of them. They happen out of necessity. They happen because someone had a “holy shit this just might work” idea and there’s no way we’re going to wait till tomorrow to try it. Late night are where the diet soda starts flowing and the ideas and free thinking discussions go down. Late nights aren’t some badge of honor at Bulu Box, they just facilitate the ideas that move metrics, which to us is the real badge of honor.”

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MindMixer

MindMixer builds better communities by involving people in things they care about. (Kansas City)

Some of the benefits:

  • Dental insurance
  • 401(k)
  • Health insurance
  • Daily catering
  • Casual, spacious work environment
  • Ping pong tables
  • Free snacks and drinks

SquareOffs

SquareOffs is the world’s first voting platform that truly values your opinion. Through user-generated debate on any topic, on any website, SquareOffs takes voting, commenting and sharing to the next level. (Kansas City)

Benefits

  • Friendly, fast-paced environment in a growing young company
  • Freedom within the business to make an impact
  • 9 Things of Awesomeness (http://www.squareoffs.com/about)
  • Great neighbors – 15 other companies in the KCSV to work around
  • Field Trips – we like to work outside the office once in a while (Think Big Partners, Sprint Accelerator, coffee shop)
  • Events – SquareOffs is home to many different events for those touring KCSV, such as international delegates, community leaders, and entrepreneur programs
  • Working on a top-of-the-line technology stack
  • Boulevard beer on tap
  • Unlimited coffee and Bawls energy drink
  • Organic Snacks
  • Tasty debates
  • Justin Miller’s jokes
  • Dance contests
  • Google Fiber (coming soon)
  • Star Wars door keys
  • Fantastic advisors & mentors, including Rocket Fuel Partners
  • Close to the Country Club Plaza, Westport, Oklahoma Joe’s and not far from downtown KC
  • All of the EyeVerify beta testing your eyes can handle (our office neighbor)
  • Environment
  • Colorful, creative environment
  • Lots of natural light
  • Whiteboards everywhere you look
  • Hard stand-up desks or soft couches, your pick
  • Take initiative and ask for forgiveness attitude
  • Motivational Quote wall
  • We don’t “Keep Calm and Chive On.” We “Get Excited and Build Things.”
  • We’re Part of the Community

We give back by working with the many young entrepreneurs that come to KCSV tours and workshops.
We regularly attend SPN events, 1 Million Cups, iKC, CityCampKC, local meetups, 1WeekKC, Global Entrepreneurship Week, SXSW and more.
We hosted a welcome party for the Sprint Accelerator Teams.
We take the time to Sporting Park to drink beer out of the MLS Cup

Our social media rocks. Who else has a #MeetTheIntern rap?

https://twitter.com/SquareOffs **THERE ARE A TON OF GOOD PICS HERE
https://www.facebook.com/squareoffs

We’re quite the participator’s in #ThrowbackThursday. Example – “Your poll is so old … it should have a Huxtable sweater.”

Character

Smart Ass Team. Kick Ass Product. Big Ass Market.

We only hire smart people that believe in our mission to give people a voice and deliver the collective truth. Opinions Matter.

You could call us the United Nations. We have quite the mix of heritages at SquareOffs, which makes for a good mix of opinions, just like our product promotes. We have people from or in Kansas City, Austin, New York City, Portland, Boston, North Carolina, India, and France.

We are an extremely motivated and very goal-oriented team. Attention to detail, communication, and data-driven decisions are important to this company. We are laser focused on creating value, shipping code, and gaining customers. We are not shy about getting feedback about our product and learning each step of the way. When our customers succeed, we succeed. We intend to build a legendary company with great decision-making, drive, and pride.

Team Bonding

We enjoy a good BBQ, routing on our fellow entrepreneurs, trading the office DJ role, improve on our terrible singing skills at OffKey Karaoke, munch down on Taco Tuesdays, catch a Friday Foosball game, and thoroughly enjoy filming SPN Award videos.

We take field trips to places like Hallmark’s Innovation Leap Lab, Kauffman Foundation, First Fridays, Tumml Accelerator and Facebook.

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Dewsly

Dewsly is a safe and secure online community that brings together schools, teachers, parents and students to stay up-to-date on important activity updates.

Why we call Dewsly home:

  • We have flexible work hours! Some of us early birds are here by 6 am, while the nightowls prefer to knock out their work later in the day. Some members even work from their homes in Nashville and San Diego
  • There’s always an arsenal of food at arms reach
  • Every Friday, we’re treated to a team lunch by the company
  • FREE beer – nuff said
  • Participating in philanthropic events, such as hosting a Red Cross blood drive in our office
  • Team building dodgeball at Sky Zone: nothing encourages bonding quite like throwing a ball at your co-workers face
  • We just recently built a “treehouse” for additional workspace
  • If you take a bathroom break, you do so with the knowledge that, when you return you might be pelted with nerf darts
  • You can always find a great cup of Artisan coffee in the kitchen
  • On any day our Front End Developer, Patrick will gladly use his aeropress coffee maker to
  • demonstrate the process of making ‘the best’ cup of coffee
  • Neal, our web architect and botanist, grows a small garden of sunflowers, succulents and cacti on our windowsills
  • If you’re ever in need of a tan, our rooftop patio always allows naked sunbathing at night
  • Team meetings are held in “the beanbag district”
  • We have a 50 foot whiteboard wall
  • Our workspace is open to allow for collaboration
  • Mimosa Mondays
  • We find balance with Dewsly yoga, which takes place every Tuesday and Thursday at 2
  • Wellness is a priority, during lunch, most of the team can be found at Freight House Fitness,
  • working up a sweat
  • Rosa, the dog
  • The developers can be found playing ping pong most afternoons (beer pong on Friday)
  • Everyone works hard because we believe in what we’re doing

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Pack

  • Pack is a place to discover the magic of everyday dog moments. (Omaha/San Francisco)

  • From John Hobbs, developer:

The number one perk of working at Pack is that of all our work centers around making people happy through their relationships with their dogs. The constant link to happiness makes the work naturally enjoyable.
As far as the more “material” perks go, there are many. Remote work has the wonderful perk of no commute, which is fantastic. We work flexible hours, which is great because, with the exception of Paul, we all have kids and being able to take some time out of the day to spend with them is a huge plus.
We work distributed. Megan and John Henry are in CA, while Alex, Paul and myself are in Omaha. We don’t have an office, so everyone works from home or coffee shops. The Omaha group tries to co-work at least once a week, and the Californians meet up often as well. On most Wednesdays you can come to Aroma’s in Benson and we’ll make room for you at our table.
Every few months we all meet in one place. Sometimes in CA, sometimes in Omaha. One of the best adventures we’ve had was when we split the difference and met in Colorado. We spent a few days in an amazing cabin on the side of a mountain just outside of Boulder. During the meet up we took turns cooking, made important calls on bananas, hiked a mountain together and built our first iOS app.
For the times when we can’t be together, we spend much of our time in Campfire. We’ve also got an internal tool called “Pack Faces” which takes snapshots occasionally so we can see one another during the work day.
A core component of our culture is silliness. We have a points system in Campfire where we can award one another points for excellent jokes or puns. We embrace the visual medium of comedy as well, and have a tool to capture animated gif’s in Pack Faces, the best of which end up on http://dance.packdog.com/
Autodidacticism is key to pushing ourselves forward. Everyone is encouraged to learn, all the time. We all get better together, and try to share what we learn. We share articles, books and book recommendations regularly.
We are a group of tool builders. If someone needs something to do their job better, we just build it. Anyone who has the needed knowledge and time to help is always happy to pitch in. We also build fun things in our extra time, which streamline our joke workflows (I’m a big fan of Automating Inefficiencies), an example of one such tool we made is DUN, DUN, DUH!
I know it sounds like we screw around a lot, but it’s an amazing way to create camaraderie remotely. All joking aside, we are responsible adults and we get our work done. The best perk of all in knowing you can depend on your team, and that there is genuine affection. These people are my best friends.

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VOTE NOW FOR BEST CULTURE

This story is part of the AIM Archive

This story is part of the AIM Institute Archive on Silicon Prairie News. AIM gifted SPN to the Nebraska Journalism Trust in January 2023. Learn more about SPN’s origin »

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3 responses to “Which startup has the Best Culture? Vote now!”

  1. natelowry Avatar
    natelowry

    This is an awesome showcase of what the Midwest has to offer for folks looking for a great place to work. The best thing is that this type of culture is getting to be the norm. The passion of the people is what makes all of these places and others what they are. People should share this post like mad to help bring folks from the coasts in to our party.

  2. […] Which startup has the Best Culture? Vote now! By Fred Bauters (8/11) […]