Source | LinkedIn : By Glenn Leibowitz
Besides great technology, boatloads of cash, and some of the most rigorous hiring practices on earth, Google has become what it is today thanks in no small part to the unique culture it has developed.
Many startups emulate Google’s culture in an effort to figure out the secret sauce to scaling up fast while building a company that attracts and retains great talent.
Brett Crosby, a 10-year veteran of Google, is adopting some of the best bits of the internet giant’s unique culture for his startup, PeerStreet. Based in Manhattan Beach, California, PeerStreet is an online marketplace that gives qualified individual investors, funds, and institutions the ability to invest directly in high-quality real estate loans. PeerStreet is giving investors access to real estate backed loans that otherwise would have only been available to large institutional investors.
PeerStreet currently has over 60 employees and last year processed investments in loans worth nearly $200 million, after only its first full year of being open to the public. Last November, PeerStreet closed a $15 million Series A funding round led by Andreessen Horowitz, which they’re using to hire more people to support their rapid expansion.
To get the company to the next stage of growth, Crosby and his co-founder Brew Johnson are fashioning much of their startup’s culture after Google, a company that he’s intimately familiar with. Before starting PeerStreet with Johnson, Crosby worked at Google for a decade building up Google Analytics, a highly successful product that he had developed before Google acquired it from him and his co-founders at Urchin Software in 2005.
“Google is famous for its awesome culture. You’ve gotta give credit to Larry, Sergey and Eric for their healthy disregard for tradition, willingness to try new stuff, and gravitation toward having fun. They are also very accepting of exceptional people no matter their eccentricities. We’ve adopted a lot of that culture here.”
I recently spoke with Crosby about some of the elements of Google’s unique culture that he’s trying to graft onto his fast-growing startup, particularly the ones around continuous learning. The following are edited excerpts from our conversation:
What elements of Google’s famous culture are you adapting to PeerStreet, and how is that playing out so far?
I worked for Google for nearly 10 years and saw the business when they had just gone public with 2,500 people. I interviewed and built teams, and helped Google grow from 2,500 people to north of 100,000.
We went from a fairly local company in a single geography to a very global company in that time. I saw a lot of the best practices Google maintained in terms of hiring, how it thinks about hiring, and how it adapted over time. I saw how they worked to have an open and transparent company, both internally and externally, which I think is an important part of what we’re doing at PeerStreet.
One of the things I’ve adopted from Google is the idea of tech talks, which are great for a number of reasons. In a company like PeerStreet we have four major pillars to our business: technology, real estate, finance, and law. But most of these pillars don’t intersect with each other very often, and it’s rare that any individual we hire has experience in all four areas.