Versa Networks

Versa Networks

Santa Clara, CA

www.versa-networks.com

Grade: A

SummaryGreat tech pedigree and a start-up culture which believes in cubes, not open spaces. Free lunches, charitable focus, importance placed on worker satisfaction, personal development, focus on speed in development and network transformation.

Intro: When transitioning from large companies to startup vendors, employees mainly look for stable growth potential. Because most of Versa Networks employees are engineers, candidates are attracted to the company’s cutting-edge technology and the pedigree of Versa co-founding brothers Kumar and Apurva Mehta.

Prior to launching Versa, the Mehta brothers were top engineering executives at Juniper Networks, where they were responsible for the creation of Juniper’s multi-billion-dollar MX Series routers during the last decade. Upon assessing the industry landscape during their final years at Juniper, the brothers saw a need for a truly software-based approach to the $30B+ networking market. Versa’s SD-WAN and SD-Security offerings provide an industry-lasting, scalable solution that offers various methods of support for both service providers and enterprises, as compared to other SD-WAN vendors. In fact, Versa has already been recognized as a 2016 NFV Pioneer by TMCnet.

Because the SD-WAN market is growing extremely fast ($6B by 2020), employees find a strong opportunity for stable growth potential in both Versa and its products.

Impact statements:

  • Candidates are attracted to Versa’s cutting edge technology and the pedigree of Kumar and Apurva Mehta.
  • Prior to launching Versa, the Mehta brothers were top engineering executives at Juniper Networks, where they were responsible for the creation of Juniper’s multi-billion-dollar MX Series routers during the last decade.
  • For those who have been in telecom and networking, this softwarization of networking is so big, exciting opportunity. In fact, Versa has already been recognized as a 2016 NFV Pioneer by TMCnet.
  • The Versa office is designed for and by the team members themselves. In addition to our dedicated ping-pong space, the office layout includes cubicles. Versa put the office design to a company vote and most team members said they did not want an open office floorplan.
  • Versa Networks executives are very involved in charity work and are constantly giving back to their local communities.
  • Versa offers flexible hours to encourage time for family and self-development.
  • Versa knows that people need downtime from work for a healthy work-life balance. They believe in compensating employees for when they spend days working far beyond what they should be doing.
  • Here at Versa, employees have the opportunity to get real hands-on experience to drive both personal and company growth. The company culture implements transparency provides leadership opportunities for all individuals and supports each employee’s needs for work/life balance and benefits.
  • Leadership is committed to providing regular, real-time updates on customer status and sharing all news, progress and momentum as it happens.

Advancement Opportunities:

Versa provides team members with a unique opportunity for personal and professional development that they would not find in a larger company. Given that the company is largely engineering-based, Versa requires all employees to interact with customers on a weekly basis.

This method of ownership not only speeds each Versa engineer’s advancement as he or she develops into a management role but also continues to help engineers better understand their end users’ requirements for success. Here, teams work alongside customers to solve real problems, allowing them to work faster and smarter.

In addition, unlike other larger networking companies, Versa also gives employees opportunities to speak with the media and analysts to help raise their industry visibility.

Medical benefits:

Versa offers great medical and retirement benefits similar to those of larger companies. The founding brothers realized early on that these benefits, which can also be extended to spouses and children, mattered to the most experienced engineers from legacy vendors.

Community service/charitable causes:

Versa Networks executives are very involved in charity work and are constantly giving back to their local communities. Versa executives volunteer their time and donate to educational institutions as well as to charities for underserved communities and for the blind. For example, chief marketing officer (CMO) Mark Weiner is on the board of the Bill Wilson Center, a 38-year-old nonprofit community-based organization serving over 5,100 foster and homeless clients in Santa Clara County annually.

Measuring satisfaction:

Versa management prides itself on being actively involved with every team and aspect of the businesses. Face-to-face interaction between team members and management keeps the company aligned on company goals, progression and satisfaction.

The Versa office is designed for and by the team members themselves. In addition to our dedicated ping-pong space, the office layout includes cubicles. Versa put the office design to a company vote and most team members said they did not want an open office floorplan.

Per the direction of the team, the company’s office layout is designed with cubicles to allow engineers their own spaces for the best productivity. However, the business and customer-facing teams have lowered walls for accessible face-to-face communication with colleagues.

What’s more, Versa also has an outdoor greenspace where employees frequently get fresh air and a change of scenery.

Creative meeting places:

Versa replaces traditional staff meetings with a happy-hour social with wine and cheese tasting twice a month. Here, employees are encouraged to take a break and spend time with each other in a casual setting. We found that this has developed a sense of camaraderie within the team. We’ve help team events at local parks and played a variety of team sports together, done bocce tournaments and other creative outings.

Perks:

In addition to bi-monthly happy hour socials, Versa provides lunch for the team twice a week. In true Versa fashion, team members have a say on what food will be served via a company vote.

Fun:

Versa team members participate in frequent ping-pong tournaments. The largest space in the office was dedicated and specially designed to encourage employees to take a mental break every so often.

How corporate vision is communicated:

Leadership is committed to providing regular, real-time updates on customer status and sharing all news, progress and momentum as it happens.

Empowering employees:

The Mehta brothers believe that effective change should be at Versa’s core. As a result, the company’s culture revolves around a collaborative approach to everything, where team members are encouraged to develop as leaders by providing their input. When all team members feel they have a stake in the company, we can effectively accelerate the company’s growth.

Leadership commonly acknowledges individuals who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in two ways:

  • In-person recognition with internal team members during weekly, company-wide staff meetings
  • Digital communications to customers highlighting their particular efforts

One example is how the engineering team works closely with external partners – such as hardware equipment vendors – to design and validate the platforms that Versa software runs on and our customers deploy. Most traditional networking companies have very large hardware teams that tell software teams how to integrate with them. At Versa, the software development team gets to tell hardware partners what they need to build for providing optimal solutions for customers using our software.

Ensuring well-being:

Versa does not have a company handbook. However, the company believes that employees should be open to manage highly flexible hours. This method allows and promotes family time for team members. What’s more, we’ve found that flexible hours also improve office morale.

Team members can set their own schedule and their own hours. Versa has a typical PTO policy. However, the company rewards employees with additional comp time for going above and beyond the call of duty. A good example is the Christmas/New Year holiday period, where the Company has given employees a free week off each of the last two years.

  • Versa knows that people need downtime from work for a healthy work-life balance. They believe in compensating employees for when they spend days working far beyond what they should be doing.
  • Just as in 2015, the company will give everyone the Christmas week off in 2016 without taking vacation time from them.
  • Another well-being example is the regular wine and cheese tastings that we have been running throughout the year to introduce Versa’s tech-focused engineers into the subtleties of fun wine and gourmet snacks (led by one employee who brings his homemade wine to work).

Along the lines of work/life balance, Versa grants all employees flexibility to coordinate their work schedules around the needs of their families or even their preferences for time, which many engineers use to spend with their young children in the morning before coming to the office.

Longevity:

Versa has a large retention rate for its team members, both its engineers and its executive team. In fact, nearly all of the company’s original engineers hired at the company’s founding are still present nearly four years later.

Closing company statements: Because the networking market, which is expected to hit more than $30B, has a need for a truly software-based approach, there is great opportunity for growth and stability at Versa Networks. Versa’s technology tackles big networking problems with the use of SD-WAN and SD-Security.

Here at Versa, employees have the opportunity to get real hands-on experience to drive both personal and company growth. The company culture implements transparency, provides leadership opportunities for all individuals and supports each employee’s needs for work/life balance and benefits.

The employees are the backbone of the company, and as such they also contribute to the progress of Versa Networks.

Back to the entire list of TMCnet 2016 Tech Culture Award winners.

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