Bonded by Love for Product
We are on a mission to power a fair and inclusive financial system for the world.
Nova Credit believes that every person must be allowed a fair chance to improve their economic condition and that access to credit is a critical tool in accelerating that improvement. When unexpected circumstances arise, credit can put food on tables, roofs over heads, education into impressionable minds, and support critical healthcare needs. It can allow those born into less-privileged circumstances to unlock the goods and services they need to live a more prosperous life. For many of us, this mission is deeply personal – a majority of Novans are first or second generation immigrants, so they’ve experienced these same challenges and are ready to help solve them. In fact, Nova Credit was born when our co-founders Loek, Misha, and Nicky met at Stanford and as immigrants themselves, had a hard time building credit or signing a lease.
We’re solving a problem that has been felt by generations, and it’s a thorny one. It’s this passion to make the US financial system more accessible for immigrants that bonds us. We’re excited to be creative and innovate in order to help our consumers. To that end, we’re constantly working to learn more about the people we’re helping and their pain points. We read their feedback and stories during our company-wide all-hands meetings and do extensive user research to understand who we’re building for and how we can make their lives better.
Heavily Team Oriented
One of our company values is “Tie your neighbor’s shoes.”
Everything we do is a team effort and our culture is centered around collaboration. One great example of this is our Technical Docs process. Before starting a new project, engineers are encouraged to write up their project plan. This includes any required architectural changes, pros/cons of various options, and the rollout strategy. The project plan is then shared across the entire Engineering org to encourage cross-team feedback and knowledge sharing.
We value intellectual humility and acknowledge the limits of our own perspectives, which is why we welcome both positive and constructive feedback with open arms. We host feedback training regularly to provide each employee with the tools to have productive conversations. Because another one of our core values is ‘Challenge Without Ego,’ it's important for us to give feedback to one another in a way that is professional and respectful, keeping team interests top of mind instead of our own.
Finally, we make it a priority to acknowledge and thank people for their contributions and for going above and beyond. Our #thanks Slack channel is very active with shoutouts and we end our weekly all-hands meeting with a few folks giving a “Nova Credit” to someone for demonstrating one of our company values.
You’ll start with product brainstorming with cross-functional team members, eventually deploy your work to prod, and do everything in between.
Engineers not only get the opportunity to fully own our work, but also are expected to. We value engineers who want ownership and step up, no matter how small or large the task. Many projects are cross-functional in nature (with stakeholders in legal & compliance, biz dev, and/or customer success), so engineers need to be proactive in facilitating discussions so that our projects succeed. Ted is a great example – he dove into product analytics and worked closely with our Data Engineering team (among many others) to integrate the new Eventing Platform into our products and to make sure it met our analytics requirements. Today, he’s known as the go-to for product analytics thanks to his hard work.
Similarly, when Cameron first started, he worked on a tight-knit team owning the design, build, and roll out of an entirely new application that we call “Ellis” aka the consumer dashboard. Ellis allows immigrants to view their credit history from their home countries, get credit and financial product recommendations, and more.
From implementing design specs to spinning up a new database and organizing a bug bash before rollout, Cameron worked closely with our legal, QA, and customer success team to ensure this huge project was a success. If you’re willing to roll up your sleeves and take ownership to help problem-solve, you’ll fit right in!
Radical over-communication, please!
Everyone has access to the same information, and no one is left in the dark about important company decisions. The transparency our leaders have with the rest of the company about board meetings (they always share slides and documents presented), timelines, and dissenting opinions creates a culture where Novans feel comfortable speaking up about any topic, which is why one of our core values is 'Challenge Without Ego'. At the end of every all-hands, there’s the opportunity for anyone to ask questions live, via zoom chat, or our #questionsforallhands channel.
Almost all of the work we do requires cross-functional expertise and teamwork, which is why we rely on open communication about details, requirements, deadlines, and processes. We are heavily biased toward giving too much information rather than not enough.
An example of this is our blameless and cross-functional Post-Mortem process. Incidents are unfortunately inevitable, but they are great opportunities to learn as a team. We use PMs as a tool for documenting incidents, analyzing root causes and outcomes, and identifying action items to prevent the incident from occurring again.
Another way we over-communicate is through our internal groups and brown bag lunches, where employees share in depth about a topic or experience they're passionate about. At Nova, open communication extends to those outside of the company, too. We host fireside chats with industry professionals, bringing in amazing, high-profile individuals into the office for open discussions on various topics. For APA heritage month, we hosted community organizers from API Equality – Northern California to discuss the Asian-American experience and how to support fellow Novans and API members.
Committed to Personal Growth
The growth of the company is directly correlated with every Novan’s growth.
Novans can leverage their professional development budget for personal, long term career growth. For example, Jaime used a part of his budget to attend JSConf in Hawaii and Dave, Jinting, and Rafa are in a tech book club together. Nova also invests in manager training, professional events, tools, and resources and provides access to an extensive network you can tap into. You can leverage our network by having matched 1:1s with peers and mentors or joining community events, where we've met many new friends, accelerated our professional growth, and discussed hot topics.
In the spirit of being an international company serving an international community, Nova encourages employees to take a vacation and explore the world with our anniversary gift. On your Nova anniversary, you’ll get a roundtrip ticket to anywhere in the world; we believe traveling can be one of the best ways to grow as a person, (emotionally, spiritually, and professionally) through being exposed to how different people in the world live and seeing things. People have used their anniversary flights to visit the Maldives, Thailand, New Zealand, and Greece, just to name a few destinations! During the pandemic, we also made the anniversary gift available as a bonus or as an Airbnb booking credit, for those who prefer not to fly.
You can see a full list of our benefits here.
Actively Practices Inclusion
Inclusion is part of our company strategy because we truly want to enable a world where everyone can be their best selves.
Financial inclusion is one of the main parts of our mission, and we see inclusion at the company as a critical way to make the best product for the people we serve.
New and expecting parents have 16 weeks of paid parental leave, and those of us who are pet parents are always encouraged to take breaks during the day to take our furry friends on walks. If you have a doctor or therapy appointment you need to schedule meetings around, that’s A-OK, too. We survey the entire company every year to make sure the company’s benefits cater to what our team members need. For instance, based on employee feedback, we recently refreshed our medical benefits so that they were better for those based outside of California.
We invest a lot of resources in our internal committees dedicated to sourcing talent from under-represented groups and fostering more inclusive norms. We’ve structured our interviews to help reduce unconscious bias and once a candidate becomes a member of the team, we evaluate compensation every year based on demographics, too. We cherish the various perspectives people bring to the table and have several ERGs that have budgets to spend on events like an imposter syndrome workshop and a training led by a negotiation coach.
To get to know one another better, we’ll lovingly put you in the “hot seat” on your birthday or another special occasion (if you agree to it, of course). It’s a fun opportunity to answer silly questions like “What type of influencer would you want to be?” or ”If you were a talking doll, what would you say?” New hires are encouraged to ask questions in our #onboarding-eng Slack channel and you’ll also find friends in #skincare, #tv-club, #doggos, #build_memes_not_walls, #foot, and #nova_minis to name a few.
We genuinely want everyone at the company to feel like they belong at Nova, and we’re committed to providing equal opportunities to succeed for everyone, regardless of who they are. Ultimately, by fostering a diverse and inclusive environment, we’ll be able to better serve our diverse customer base.
Wears Many Hats
Engineers at Nova are full-stack and have their hands on more than just code.
When you join Nova, you won’t be pigeonholed. You’ll have the option to fluidly move across our stack (and even do non-engineering tasks if you want). Because we're a small company trying to accomplish big things, we take every opportunity to "tie each other's shoes," even if it means taking on projects outside of our day-to-day responsibilities. There are various engineering and company-wide initiatives that welcome new ideas and members. You can join or participate in our inclusion committee, help plan our next offsite, sit in on BD meetings, or contribute to sourcing and recruiting efforts.
For example, Gervonte and Sophie worked on getting our Engineering Blog launched. James worked with a few other engineers to organize a company-wide hackathon. Addy leads and improves our documentation efforts. Marissa and Sam also took part in a DEI Task Force and organized a resume-review event for students from various universities.
If you’re interested in learning more about our team or talking to one of us, we’d love to hear from you! You can apply to jobs here or message any one of us on LinkedIn.
There are countless opportunities to grow your career here.
Whether it’s the projects you work on or where you’re based (we have offices in San Francisco and New York and are remote in various cities across the U.S.), there’s a lot of room for growth at Nova Credit. As a company, we’ve had several folks like Tuvia, who was promoted from Corporate Counsel to General Counsel, move into leadership positions.
On the product and engineering team, we similarly want to see you succeed in developing your career, especially as we continue to grow. Several of our team members, such as Jinting and Binh, started as individual contributors and became engineering managers. If you want to move from team to team to work in a new area or learn a new skill, we support that too! For example, Maureen moved from the data team into product, James H. moved from a product development focused team to Infrastructure, and Marissa moved from the Newcomer team to the Credit Passport Supply team.
We encourage folks to speak with their manager and keep an open dialogue about career opportunities they’re interested in. Helping our fellow team members grow only helps us as a company better serve our customers and build the best product possible.