Versa Networks 10FOLD

Versa Networks 10FOLD

San Jose, CA

http://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. What’s more, board member Pankaj Patel and current CEO Kelly Ahuja are both legendary figures from Cisco Systems who have helped change the networking landscape.

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 bother 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:

  • Versa provides team members with a unique opportunity for personal and professional development that they would not find in a larger company.
  • Team members are sent to weekly technical trainings and developmental conferences to hone their skillsets and ensure the company is always on the cutting edge of technology.
  • Versa Networks executives and individual contributors are very involved in charity work and are constantly giving back to their local communities.
  • The Mehta brothers began a culture where they instilled the mantra that effective change should be at Versa’s core – this has continued today with the expansion of the company and executive team.
  • Versa replaces traditional staff meetings with a happy-hour social with wine and cheese tasting twice a month along with frequent outside-of-the-work place gatherings at local establishments.
  • 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 and an open-break area.
  • Leadership is committed to providing regular, real-time updates on customer status and sharing all news, progress and momentum as it happens. 
  • Versa has broken traditional siloes that exist in most legacy companies because we believe that bringing together complimentary skillsets for a project will most likely have the best results.
  • Versa is proud to share that the company has a better gender balance than most Silicon Valley companies. This is especially true when it comes to women in advanced engineering and technical roles.
  • 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.
  • Versa has a large retention rate for its team members, both its engineering and its executive team. In fact, nearly all of the company’s original engineers hired at the company’s founding are still present nearly five years later.
  • 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.

Advancement Opportunities:

Versa provides team members with a unique opportunity for personal and professional development that they would not find a larger company. Versa requires all employees to interact with customers on a weekly basis, and given that the company is largely engineering-based, to this provides a unique experience for our engineering teams to truly understand how their efforts are to be utilized and how best to understand actual customer requirements and pain points. 

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 user’s requirements for success. Here, teams work alongside customers to solve real problems, allowing them to work faster and smarter.

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

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, management and executive staff 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 and an open-break area. 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:

Happy hour socials with wine and cheese tasting twice a month

Outside-of-the-work place gatherings at local establishments

Team building events at local parks and team sports with bocce tournaments

Perks:

Bi-monthly happy hour socials

Lunch for the team twice a week. Team member have a say what to order via company note.

Fun:

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.

Daily walks together after breaking bread every day

Partake in healthy activities both physically and mentally

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:

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.

The Mehta brothers began a culture where they instilled the mantra that effective change should be at Versa’s core – this has continued today with the expansion of the company and executive team. The company is focused on “Getting Stuff Done” while waking up every day striving to be challenged and amaze our customers. 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:

1. In-person recognition with internal team members during weekly, company-wide staff meetings

2. Digital communications to customers highlighting their particular efforts

Ensuring well-being:

1. 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.

2. Just as in 2015, the company will give everyone the Christmas week off in 2018 without taking vacation time from them.

3. 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 o fun wine and gourmet snacks (led by one employee who brings his homemade wine to work).

4. Along the lines of work/life balance, Versa grants all employees flexibility to coordinate their 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.

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 a great opportunity for growth and stability at Versa Networks. Versa’s technology tackles big networking and operational problems by software-defining the enterprise infrastructure experience with SD-WAN and SD-Security.

Here at Vesa, employees have the opportunity to get real hand-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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