Feedback is a gift.
We value intellectual humility and acknowledge the limits of our own perspectives, welcoming both positive and constructive feedback with open arms. We believe in frequent and specific that results in fewer surprises, a more collaborative environment, and a space where we can make mistakes and learn.
There are many examples of our feedback-rich culture, some of which include:
- Feedback surveys after meetings. After all-hands meetings, engineering meetings, and weekly updates we send surveys to help us pulse-check and continuously improve our meetings as we grow.
- Nova Credits. After all-hands every week, we go around and give thanks to someone for demonstrating one of our company values. We also regularly use our #thanks Slack channel to give credit throughout the week.
- Feedback training. We host feedback trainings regularly to provide each employee with the tools to have productive conversations. Because 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.
Impressive Team Members
There is no shortage of people to learn from at Nova.
We are only as great as the sum of our parts and believe that every individual at Nova makes a meaningful contribution in knowledge, expertise, skill, personality, and/or perspective. We go above and beyond to find talent from diverse places. At Nova, you'll find people coming from not only top schools but also non-traditional backgrounds.
We’re on a mission to help immigrants gain representation in the financial sector, and no one understands the problem better than our founders. Loek, Misha (CEO), and Nicky (COO) met and started Nova while they were at Stanford. As immigrants themselves, they were excluded from the financial system in the U.S., which made it incredibly hard to do things like build credit and sign a lease. For all of us, working at Nova is more than a job – we believe in the mission, and many of us have also felt firsthand the pain points we are working to solve. As one example, Damira shares her story as a former lawyer and refugee, and why she’s at Nova.
Since Nova’s founding, we have assembled an amazing team of investors and advisors. Current and former coworkers have brought experiences from Adobe, Bain, Carta, Credit Karma, Docker, Dropbox, Goldman Sachs, Google Ventures, Kiva, McKinsey, Zenefits, and more.
As a Novan, you’ll be able to advance your career by connecting with experts through our community of industry leaders and investors, including Y Combinator, First Round, General Catalyst, Index Ventures, NYCA, Moderne Ventures, Core Innovation Capital, CFSI, and SVAngel.
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.
One great example of start-to-finish ownership is Annie spearheading our Admin Dashboard. She started from scratch, studied mocks for dashboards from Dribbble, worked with Product to design initial features, and built the full stack. Throughout the project, other team members helped with brainstorming, knowledge sharing, code reviews, and QA. Annie also hosted a team-wide “bug bash” on her own initiative to ensure releasing the best product.
Another example is our NovaConnect widget, screenshotted below. In 2018, we completely re-designed the widget linked below and this project required start-to-finish ownership led by Ian. Since it was such a noticeable consumer-facing change, all team members were involved in getting this overhaul deployed at varying phases. Let us know what you think!
Creative + Innovative
“If there are no shoes, be a cobbler.”
We're a small team solving a huge problem in the credit reporting world. We want to share credit across the world, and it requires a special combination of creativity to do it. As pioneers in our field, we highly value resourcefulness and often find ourselves challenging “conventional tracks” or ideas. When there isn’t an existing solution to a problem, we build one ourselves. We’re the first company to take on the task of moving credit data from around the world with seamless and consumer-friendly technology, so every integration we do means paving a new path.
Engineers at Nova have ample opportunities to put their ideas and creativity to work. There are always improvements to be made in our codebase and many in-house npm packages to publish. For example, James is spearheading our in-house UI library so that we can have more control over our front end design. Ian has been working on GraphQL-ing our API to make it simpler, and Zak wrote a mapping interpreter that will streamline our data mapping process for both engineers and non-technical folks.
We are always looking to hire new team members who can provide new perspectives, find contingencies in different approaches, and doggedly pursue answers to their questions.
Radical over-communication, please!
Everyone has access to the same information, and no one is left in the dark about important company decisions.
The founders set a great example by encouraging us to speak freely about questions and concerns. At the end of every all-hands, they hold an AMA where no question is off limits, encouraging us to speak freely about concerns. Their transparency with the rest of the company about board meetings (they always share slides and documents presented), timelines, and dissenting opinions create a culture where Novans feel comfortable speaking up about any topic, which is why one of our core values is 'Challenge Without Ego'.
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 towards giving too much information rather than not enough.
In additional to the internal groups and brown bag lunches we have at Nova, we extend our open communications to those outside of the company. We host fireside chats with industry professionals, bringing in amazing, high-profile individuals into the office for open discussions on various topics, like our recent chat about leadership and hiring for diversity with Ken Chenault, former CEO of American Express.
Results matter more than how many hours you work, or where you work from.
We recognize that everyone has a different life outside of work, and that life can change. We have multiple distributed engineers as well two offices, so we strive to honor flexibility for different time zones, working styles, and individual commitments.
Employees are free to step out for appointments when needed, and it’s common for folks to take breaks during the day or opt to WFH. For instance, sometimes Loek, KSuh, and JT go running to Alcatraz in the middle of the work day. Parents like Stache often WFH to care for their babies, and it’s perfectly fine if you want to take Pokemon Go raid breaks throughout the day with Jaime.
In the spirit of being an international company, Nova encourages employees to take vacation with our Nova anniversary gift. On your Nova anniversary, you get a roundtrip ticket to anywhere in the world! People have used their anniversary flights to visit the Maldives, Thailand, and Greece, just to name a few destinations.
In terms of personal development, Nova invests in professional events, tools, and resources and provides access to an extensive network you can tap into, including Y Combinator and First Round. You can leverage our network by having matcha 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.
New and expecting parents can expect to receive 16 weeks of paid parental leave. You can see a full list of our benefits here.
Actively Practices Inclusion
Inclusion is one of our OKRs in 2019 because we truly want to build a team 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 an important way to make the best product for the people we serve. Our initiatives are led by our CEO, Misha, which means that Nova has executive buy-in for enabling a diverse range of people to succeed. We invest a lot of resources in our internal committees dedicated to sourcing talent from under-represented groups and fostering more inclusive norms.
Some improvements we are making are our employee onboarding program (which includes succulent workshops, assembling desks for each other, brown bag lunches, and 1:1’s), unconscious bias training, and revamping our onsite interview practices to be more inclusive. We’re also doubling down on internal employee resource groups.
For example, [email protected] now has quarterly meals together, either at a restaurant or hosted at someone’s home. At recent [email protected] lunches, we broke into small groups of 3-5 people. Each group had a moderator with a list of questions to stimulate discussion, and this led to intimate, deep conversations that we probably wouldn't have had otherwise. Many of us left feeling extremely proud to be working alongside such talented, interesting women.
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.
Wears Many Hats
Engineers at Nova are full-stack and have their hands on more than just code.
Engineers rotate to different pods and projects, most of which are cross-functional. Initially, our job postings were divided into frontend and backend roles, but given that Nova engineers often work across the stack and have varied interests, we’ve since changed our open roles to “Software Engineer.” When you join Nova, you won’t be pigeonholed and 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." Team members often wear multiple hats, and sometimes this means doing maintenance tasks like (un)loading the dishwasher or building desks for new hires.
For engineers interested in getting involved in other kinds of work, we also have internal initiatives and task forces that welcome new ideas and members. You can join or participate in our inclusion committee, help to plan our next offsite, sit in on BD meetings, or contribute to sourcing and recruiting efforts.
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.