We run toward hard problems.
At Ribbon, we’re on a mission to simplify healthcare. If you’ve ever tried the seemingly simple task of searching for a quality provider that’s in-network and conveniently located, you know it’s often anything but straightforward. In fact, data shows that basic medical provider information such as addresses and phone numbers are only 48% accurate and provider information churns 30% year-over-year. Trying to find the appropriate providers becomes time consuming and leads to delays in getting much needed healthcare. We’re solving this massive problem by building flexible, modern APIs that provide accurate data on doctors, including detailed information on accepted insurance plans, cost and quality of care delivered, demographics, and affiliated locations.
As a small but quickly growing startup, we all share a “get-it-done” attitude and thrive on solving the toughest challenges that have the most impact for our users. Everyone has a say in our objective and key result (OKR) planning process, and from there we empower engineers to drive solutions from end-to-end. Shaila, a software engineer on the team, is a great example. One of our core products parses through data to figure out a doctor’s unique provider number (called an NPI), so that if you’re searching for a cardiologist named John Doe, for example, you’re finding the correct one out of hundreds. Within her first year at Ribbon (and as a new grad to boot!), Shaila owned an overhaul of the service. Through a mixture of data engineering, machine learning, and help from the data science team, she was able to move the needle from 93 to 98% accuracy. Giving customers the most up-to-date provider information makes an outsized impact on the care people receive, and it’s these types of thorny, real-world problems that serve as our North star.
Safe Environment to Fail
‘Stay hungry, keep improving’ is a motto we live by.
While mistakes are inevitable, we have a thoughtful, humble culture that always puts the focus on what we can learn from failures to make us better. Innovation requires risk taking, and if something doesn’t go as planned, we view it as a system failure, not the fault of any one person. Even if you break production or make a mistake that costs $30K in extra AWS costs (true story, it’s happened), we won’t point fingers. Instead, we’ll look at why something happened and how we can better design cost controls, for instance, to learn from that lesson.
We practice blameless postmortems and find that building stronger safeguards against future failures helps bring the team closer. Ultimately, it’s this safe environment to fail that ensures folks aren’t afraid to openly speak up and share a mistake in real time. It’s safe to say we’ll always rally behind each other to jump in, help solve any issue, and learn from it together.
We build with empathy.
As a company, we have six core values (you’ll notice many of them throughout our profile) and we all share a passion for building the best healthcare experience for our users. Our founding story is deeply personal; both Nate Maslak (co-founder and CEO) and Nate Fox (co-founder and CTO) experienced firsthand how flawed the healthcare system can be. Nate M. witnessed how his mom was left in the dark when she searched for a joint pain doctor and instead landed at a back pain doctor. Endless tests, imaging, and referrals resulted in countless medical bills and made it even harder for her to get the proper care. Fox was born unable to hear, but luckily thanks to his family’s efforts, found the right care team to quickly address the problem. When the two met at Harvard Business School, they bonded over their stories and founded Ribbon Health with the vision of empowering people to make healthcare decisions that are accessible, affordable, and high-quality.
All of this to say, building with empathy for the patient experience is paramount. We’re proud that our engineers are incredibly product-minded. When you join the team, you’ll never get handed a tech spec and be expected to execute on it blindly. Devs who thrive at Ribbon ask the right questions and collaborate closely with product leads to make sure that everything we build is delivering on the intended goals and providing the most value to our users. To that end, we share tech specs openly and invite anyone to comment.
When faced with a difficult decision, we do what’s best for people’s lives. We’ll actively turn down revenue opportunities if use cases threaten our users’ best interests. For example, hospitals often want to prevent “patient leakage” (patients leaving and seeing providers in other networks) in order to maximize revenue. However, we believe the data around pricing and care quality should be transparent, so that everyone can make informed healthcare decisions. Thus, powering patient leakage analysis is a use case we won’t support. At the end of the day, we’ll only work with clients who we believe are using our data to positively help patients.
As a healthcare company, we practice what we preach.
Given that what we’re building is aimed at improving the health of millions of people, it’s no surprise that our employees’ health is equally important. We cover 100% of medical, dental, and vision insurance for team members, and 70% for their dependents. We have company-wide rejuvenation days to rest and recharge and encourage folks to take vacation and make time for the hobbies and commitments they’re passionate about outside of work.
If you’re expanding your family, we offer fertility benefits through a partnership with Kindbody and 14 weeks of gender-neutral paid leave. We also have a dedicated Slack channel for parents (fun fact: 20% of the team are parents!) and we totally get it if you need to leave early for school pick-up or take time off to care for a sick child. There are also several pet parents on the team, and you’ll often see dogs at our New York City office or other furry friends popping up on Zoom calls.
We’re remote-friendly, but for those in the New York area, we embrace a flexible, hybrid approach where folks can come into the office or work from home. At the office, we make sure to find time to relax and have fun during the day, too, whether that’s gathering for catered lunch or celebrating wins with a unique awards ceremony. For the tech org, we have a creed – we will help patients make smarter decisions by being Focused, United, and Nimble – aka FUN. At our monthly tech all-hands, we shout out someone on the team who has exemplified being Focused (and award them a miniature telescope), United (they’ll receive a wooden bridge for helping bridge gaps), and Nimble (this award is a metronome to symbolize being a pace setter). Whoever wins an award that month then nominates another person and hands out the prize at the following all-hands! Not only is this a lighthearted tradition, but it also exemplifies how we practice habits of excellence, another one of our core values.
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to career growth.
We invest in our talent. Whether you want to level up as an IC, move into management, or take on an entirely new role and expand your skill set, we support multiple paths to advance your career. Even as an early-stage startup, we codified this with a formal program where teammates can request a transfer within the org. Akash, a member of the product team, was previously a forward deployment lead for a customer-facing product. After a couple of years, he was looking for a change, and we helped carve out a different role for him as Director of Product, API Platform.
Another way we support career development is with workshops through LifeLabs for both ICs and managers. Nicole, one of our data scientists, says, “These trainings were extremely helpful to learn how to give better feedback, have more effective one-on-ones, and communicate career goals and other soft skills.”
If you’re interested in moving to another team, product area, or learning a certain skill, we encourage you to keep an open dialogue with your manager and we’ll help you get where you want to go!
Do what you say.
We’re honest with and accountable to each other. Having the autonomy to own high-impact work means that when we commit to accomplishing our goals, we make it happen. This can only succeed if we’re transparent with one another. We’re not afraid to speak up when we have a differing view, need to ask for help, or simply want to celebrate each other’s accomplishments. Leadership sets a great example when it comes to transparency – company financials are openly and regularly shared and no questions are off limits. During onboarding, you’ll meet with everyone you’ll be working with to share your working norms and preferences. This isn’t just about how you like to give and receive feedback; we also care about foundational preferences such as how you like to solve problems (whiteboarding vs. thinking through it alone) or how you like to structure your work week (batching meetings in a single day vs. spreading them out). Teammates can ask any clarifying questions if needed and we find this sets everyone up for effective communication from the start.
Heavily Team Oriented
Put your team first.
While we all have a great degree of ownership, it’s impossible to work in a silo here. As a healthcare data platform, the technologies we use are inherently intertwined. We’re pulling data from thousands of different sources, so it’s imperative that different products talk to each other, which in turn requires public collaboration and strong communication. Take scheduling for instance. Unlike sites such as Kayak.com, where you can search every flight option, there isn’t one place to search for every bookable doctor (even Zocdoc only offers 0.7% of overall visibility for U.S. doctors). We’re working on an API to aggregate scheduling data and make it possible to accurately see doctors’ availability and make an appointment. This means we need an agreed upon framework for all data aspects and it requires close collaboration with the data acquisitions team. Tech leads have to ensure they’re in sync with other tech leads across the org.
Our pod structure is inherently cross-functional. Pods range in size from 3-8 people and include folks from engineering, data science, and product. Each pod is then responsible for owning a project start-to-finish. Engineers regularly rotate pods every 3-6 months and share best practices between different pods, from code quality (linting, pydantic, architecture) to team ceremonies (sprint planning, retros, docs). Not only will you get exposure to all different parts of the product based on the project, but you’ll get to change up who you work with, too! We find that pairing happens organically and touching each other’s code helps us share knowledge, keep our quality bar high, and execute faster.
Everyone at Ribbon shares a sense of humility and eagerness to help succeed as a team. We iterate on, add to, or create new pods as needed, so there are always exciting challenges to work on. Recently, we held our first hackathon. Over two days, members across all levels of the tech org innovated around external customer-facing needs and internal business priorities. Our CTO joined a team and it was also open to all Ribbonites across the company, with protected time to be able to fully participate. With fun prizes, swag, and an awards ceremony, it was a great opportunity to bond and get creative as a team, and we plan to do it annually!
Committed to Personal Growth
Our people are the most important part of Ribbon.
Folks at Ribbon have a wide range of backgrounds, interests, and talents. Some of us have CS degrees while others are self-taught. Some are just starting their careers, while others bring years of experience from small startups and public companies alike. We deeply value having diverse identities and perspectives. In addition to focusing on DEI efforts through recruiting, learning, celebration, and awareness, we’re committed to helping grow our talent internally. Unlike many small startups, we have well-defined core competencies that are openly shared, so you’ll never have to wonder how you can get promoted. Reviews (including raises and promotions) happen twice a year and we also support career development with Individual Development Plans (IDPs) and encourage ongoing conversations with your manager. If you want to attend a conference, buy a work-related book, or expense coffee while meeting with a co-worker, we’re always open to that! For example, Samantha, one of our software engineers, recently purchased this book to learn about data design systems and is exploring a Spark Udemy course.
It’s an exciting time to join the team. We raised a $43.5M Series B in November 2021 and are expanding our reach across health plans, provider organizations, and digital health solutions. That means there are plenty of opportunities not just for new grads (hear what one of our interns turned full-time employees, June Kang, had to say here), but also for senior software engineers who will have the chance to mentor others and help define the roadmap and tools we use to solve real-world problems. As Arik, VP of Engineering, says, “While our next stage of growth is all about scale, it requires investing in a world-class tech team. This means creating an environment where mentally healthy, happy people enjoy the work they’re doing.”
We want to make Ribbon your best career decision, so if you’re passionate about transforming the status quo of healthcare, we’re excited to connect!