3 Years of Airkit: The People Behind the Product
For 3 years, the Airkit team has been busy building the world’s first low-code platform for customer engagement. In the midst of engineering a first-class product, many young companies would find it near impossible to simultaneously engineer a first-class culture. Not Airkit. From day 1, the founding team has prioritized employees and the organization’s core values of team, impact, moments, and excellence.
In honor of Airkit’s 3rd birthday, we want to introduce you to some of the teammates responsible for building and maintaining the company’s one-of-a-kind culture: Alice Meyer, our Workplace Experience lead, Engineering Manager Irvin Zhan, Frank Golden, Airkit’s first Business Development hire, and Jenn Raffard, Head of Customer Success. Read on for the inside scoop on life at Airkit.
What made you join the Airkit team?
Whether or not these teammates had officially met Co-Founders Stephen Ehikian and Adam Evans in person prior to joining the team, one thing was clear: Airkit was most definitely a horse you wanted to hitch your wagon to.
Alice originally met Stephen and Adam while working in a coffee shop in downtown Palo Alto. When she saw their new startup was looking for Workplace Experience help, she applied. “The fact that Airkit was hiring for a role focused on creating culture and community at such an early stage and with so few employees was a huge indicator of the company’s priorities,” Alice explained, and she was eager to get in on the culture-building efforts.
Frank also knew Stephen, Adam, and a few other Airkit team members prior to coming on board. From his previous experience working with the founders, Frank was confident that this was shaping up to be another championship organization. He had a feeling Airkit was bound to achieve some big results, and he certainly did not want to miss out.
Jenn felt similarly confident in the founding team. She’d worked with both founders at their first startup, RelateIQ, as well as at Salesforce. Jenn believed in Adam as a product visionary and in Stephen’s sincere focus on team. “We’ve done a really great job of leveraging our individual networks to bring in the best of the best talent wise,” Jenn adds. “Quite a few people have worked together at prior companies and both know and trust each other’s work styles.”
Irvin, on the other hand, had heard praise of Adam Evans from a mentor but had never met him in person. When Irvin learned Evans was building out a new technical team at Airkit, he reached out directly to ask about front-end engineering positions. Upon arriving at the Airkit office for in-person interviews, Irvin discovered that Stephen’s mother was the interior decorating mastermind behind the space. There were themed rooms and pictures of team moments all over the walls, and he immediately felt that he’d found his work family.
What makes Airkit’s culture unique?
According to Alice, working at such a fast-moving company requires a deep investment of time and effort on all teammates’ parts. “That being said,” Alice clarifies, “our teammates’ success is our success. When one team wins, so does all of Airkit.”
Irvin is particularly proud of the Engineering team’s culture. “Airkit gives a lot of space and respect to engineers,” he says. “In terms of space, you never feel like you’re being micromanaged. Your team trusts you to get your work done. And you feel respected as an engineer because you’re more than just your code. This mentality allows us to feel valued and recognized beyond our coding ability.”
On the Business Development side, Frank loves the team’s competitive but supportive nature. “When we bring on new teammates, it’s important that they can keep the pace, but it’s more important that they can help push the pace.”
How do Airkit teammates prioritize team, impact, moments, and excellence?
Every Friday, Airkit leadership hosts demos to showcase the team’s work for the week. On top of this weekly spotlight, there are several other deliberate efforts to build culture virtually. There is a #moments slack channel, which highlights fun and interesting employee moments, ultimately providing glimpses into everyone’s lives outside of a Zoom window. Jenn’s team even starts their weekly meeting by sharing their highs and lows, ensuring folks are connected on both a work and personal level.
Irvin gives kudos to Alice for her team spirit and support during the current remote work environment. “Alice does an amazing job of creating informal routines to ensure that all existing employees and new hires have the opportunity to form relationships outside of work. She’s pretty incredible and has hosted hack days, happy hours, games nights, and murder mysteries just to name a few events.”
There’s also a focus on bringing everyone’s home team along on the Airkit journey. “Our founders could name our partners, kids, roommates, friends, and even pets,” Alice jokes. “When working long hours and spending so much time with coworkers, it’s wonderful that Stephen and Adam make such a concerted effort to introduce our Airkit family to our home family.”
What does the Airkit team need to keep in mind as we grow?
As we reflect on the past three years, it’s important to note there’s still a lot of growing to be done. Alice, Irvin, Frank, and Jenn have some ideas for how to continue building enthusiasm both for Airkit employees and customers in the years to come.
Irvin advises a mindful attitude. “We’re at a very interesting and exciting inflection point as a company. Every small action we take is going to affect us for many years to come.”
Alice agrees with Irvin, pointing out that “from a people perspective, it’s imperative we continue building a diverse and inclusive organization.”
On the hiring note, Jenn is proud of how well we’ve recognized and welcomed new hires to this point. “As we grow faster, however,” she warns, “this process will likely get harder. We’ll have to double down on our efforts, especially if we’re still operating remotely.”
True to the world of Business Development, Frank is focused on spreading the word about the Airkit platform. “Airkit is so exciting to employees because we’re in it all the time and know what it’s capable of. We must remain committed to enabling others to build within the platform so that they too can realize Airkit’s potential. I look forward to the day when I, as a consumer, run into Airkit powering my daily interactions with a business.”
What is your favorite Airkit memory so far?
It wouldn’t be a true 3rd birthday celebration without looking back on some favorite Airkit moments. Here’s what a few teammates had to say.
Alice: “Quite a few big company moments occurred in January 2019, and everyone got together at an arcade to celebrate. I remember looking around and seeing so many happy faces. There’s something great about getting a group of usually serious adults to let loose and play games.”
Frank: “My favorite memory would have to be when we added a Fortune 50 insurance company as a new customer right after the pandemic hit. It was awesome to see the entire team rally behind a project many people said couldn’t be done all while delivering quick value to a marquee customer.”
Jenn: “SkipTheDishes was the first account I owned from Sales hand-off through deployment. When we reviewed Airkit’s performance with Skip’s SVP, he was amazed that we delivered such strong ROI and subsequently asked to expand the workflow. It was incredibly rewarding to see everything the team had worked toward on a daily basis pay off.”
Airkit shows no sign of slowing down. The fact that not only executive leadership but all team members are invested in the company’s values and culture bodes well for Airkit’s growth. We look forward to sharing more examples of life at Airkit on future birthdays.