Do work that matters: How missions motivate 6 Chicago tech companies

by Michael Hines
September 12, 2018

Whether it’s simplifying the process of sending money abroad or curating cool stuff for people who like to fish, a company’s mission plays an outsized role in what it’s like to work there. So to get the inside scoop, we spoke to six Chicago tech companies to learn more about what drives them.

 

Catch Co. Chicago tech company mission

Catch Co. is an e-commerce company that makes it easier for anglers to discover new tackle, rods and reels. According to COO Andy Timko, the company’s mission guides every move it makes, and can be boiled down into just a few key words.

 

What is your mission, and how does it shape the products you make?

Our mission is to unite curious anglers in happier fishing experiences. When we sit down to dream up a new product, whether it is a physical piece of tackle, a digital experience or content, we make sure it matches our mission. Is there something unique about the product, or is it plain vanilla? Will it bring our customers together directly or indirectly by creating conversation? Can it make people happy by helping them fulfill their personal goals, whether that’s learning something new, spending time with loved ones or simply catching more fish?

We believe that creating products for curious customers requires curious employees.

How does your mission shape your culture?

We encourage people to expand their definition of a customer to include their colleagues. This results in a very collaborative and collegial culture in which members of our team form meaningful personal relationships. They genuinely care about delivering output that will surprise and delight their colleagues the same way we aim to surprise and delight our end users. We believe that creating products for curious customers requires curious employees. We filter for curiosity in the interview process and, as a result, have a very curious team that generates very lively office chatter.

 

SPINS Chicago tech company mission

SPINS provides data analytics, consumer insights and consulting services to retailers and brands working in the natural, organic and speciality products industry. Chief People Officer Rosemary Haefner said the company’s mission to help people lead healthier lives make a direct impact on team culture  — and the offerings in the office kitchen.

 

What is your mission, and how does it shape the products you build?

SPINS’ mission is to grow the natural products industry and increase the accessibility of better-for-you products that help consumers live healthier and more vibrant lives. Our company is a passionate advocate of brands and retailers that promote healthy living. At the end of the day, we’re aiming to arm our retailer and brand clients with in-depth information about their products and equip consumers with an unparalleled understanding of how products impact their well-being.

Our company is a passionate advocate of brands and retailers that promote healthy living.

How does your mission shape your culture?

The beauty of our mission lies in the fact that we’re impacting all consumers to live healthier and more vibrant lives, and this transcends to our own team members. We support them in living their best lives. We help them learn more about the natural products industry. Our wellness program, Vibrancy360, features opportunities for employees to partake in chef-led healthy cooking demonstrations, make use of our fully subsidized in-house gym and massage services, and take personal training, yoga and meditation classes. Our kitchens are stocked with natural and organic foods, which increases our employees’ access to better-for-you products.

 

Collective Health Chicago tech company mission

Collective Health’s platform is designed to give companies a simpler way to provide and administer healthcare benefits. Director of Engineering Izi Aviyente said the company’s mission impacts everything it does, right down to the choice of words it chooses for site, mobile app and communications copy.

 

What is your mission, and how does it shape the products you build?

Our simple, but challenging, mission is to make people love their health insurance. This ties into our goal of creating a healthcare system that is affordable and effortless, and that makes us healthier. Our platform helps companies run their health insurance in a way that helps them optimize their investment while taking better care of their people. It has been designed with this mission in mind, and you can see this across every touch point in our products. For example, to make sure healthcare terms are understandable by all, we use language written at a third-grade reading level.

One of the key things we look for in candidates is genuine interest in our mission.

How does your mission shape your culture?

Mission is a big part of our culture and hiring process, and one of the key things we look for in candidates is genuine interest in our mission. Everyone here is proud of our mission and we all have a very clear line of sight on the impact of our work. We’re strong believers in trust and transparency. We have weekly all-hands meetings where we discuss wins, both big and small, and updates from all parts of the organization. This reinforces the strong alignment of the overall team — which is now at about 450 people — with a shared sense of purpose, and it also boosts the progress we’re making towards our goal.

 

Pangea Chicago fintech company mission

Pangea Money Transfer’s technology makes it easier for people to send money to countries around the world. General Manager Joshua Gordon-Blake said the company’s mission and the impact of its product has helped it gain an edge over the competition in more ways than one.

 

What is your mission, and how does it shape the products you build?

Our mission is to give everyone the power to move money effortlessly, starting with those who need it the most. We are part of the fintech revolution happening across banking, and we understand that the winners will be those who offer a compelling customer experience. This spirit shapes Pangea’s product in two key ways: We must use technology to remove costs from the process, and we must create an intuitive user experience that welcomes customers who have traditionally been overlooked by the financial system.

Our mission is to give everyone the power to move money effortlessly, starting with those who need it the most.

How does your mission shape your culture?

Pangea’s culture is built upon two parallel premises: Software will eat banking, and we can do good for others while doing well for ourselves. We are product-led, make decisions based on analytics and testing, and we have the team and the technology to scale quickly. The second premise is shown in our strategic path. Instead of targeting mainstream customers with countless banking options, we have built a product for immigrant communities and those excluded from the financial system. This strategic path has the dual benefits of making a social impact and attracting a customer base in need of multiple financial services.

 

Payformance Solutions Chicago tech company

Payformance Solutions builds technology to enable healthcare payers and providers to transition from a payment model focused on volume, to instead measuring the quality of care provided. While changing any aspect of the healthcare industry is an uphill battle, CTO Kevin Mehta said the company’s mission helps keep his team engaged and focused on their larger goal.

 

What is your mission, and how does it shape the products you build?

We are dedicated to advancing payment transformation in the healthcare industry, shifting from volume to value. Leveraging our affiliation with the non-profit research and consulting organization Altarum Institute, we launched the TrustHub suite of services to equip payers, providers and employers with the technical tools and resources required to design, negotiate and measure value-based reimbursement contracts while aligning financial goals with quality goals.

We are dedicated to advancing payment transformation in the healthcare industry, shifting from volume to value.

How does your mission shape your culture?

Everyone at Payformance is passionate about some aspect of the company, and that is what allows us to keep each team member engaged and highly effective. Our goal is to combine subject experts across various fields, from healthcare to data science and software development, to create a new and innovative product for the marketplace. We encourage the team to bounce ideas off each other, mentor and learn from one another and passionately demand the best, no matter how innovative.

 

NowSecure Chicago tech company mission

NowSecure provides fully automated security testing services for mobile apps. The company’s clients run the gamut from large banks to consumer retailers and include Capital One, Home Depot and Kaiser Permanente. CEO Alan Snyder, VP of Customer Service and Success Katie Strzempka, and Chief Mobility Officer Brian Reed all weighed in on the company’s commitment to security and the impact it makes on both product development and team culture.

 

What is your mission, and how does it shape the products you build?

Snyder: We are focused on increasing the use of mobile apps by making it easy and cost effective to secure them. We combine the best in automation with cutting-edge mobile application security testing technology and services. We hire the best, work as a team and deliver a superior customer experience.

Strzempka: NowSecure has always focused on driving efficiency and speed in mobile app testing without sacrificing quality. Our unique approach to securing mobile applications differentiates our products and services from others. We recruit individuals who are pioneers and team players, and we all have a common interest of helping our customers achieve success in their mobile security mission.

We hire the best, work as a team and deliver a superior customer experience.

How does your mission shape your culture?

Reed: Our relentless pursuit of integrated mobile app security drives everything we do — from who we hire to how we build products, who we partner with and how we service customers. Developing mobile apps is hard, and there are so many ways to screw up security. We hire the best and brightest to build advanced mobile application security testing solutions that test every corner of every app to ensure they are safe.

 

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SPINS LLC
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Payformance Solutions
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Collective Health
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Payformance Solutions
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Catch Co.
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Pangea Money Transfer
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Pangea Money Transfer
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Pangea Money Transfer
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SPINS LLC
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SPINS LLC
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