The Growth Culture: Why Sustainable Startups Default to Transparency 


The Growth Culture: Why Sustainable Startups Default to Transparency 


The Growth Culture: Why Sustainable Startups Default to Transparency 
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When I first met Mike Townsend, the Co-Founder and COO of HomeHero, the team was nine people working out of Science Inc., Mike Jones’ startup studio in Santa Monica.

His co-founder Kyle Hill and him joined us from separate computers to minimize the noise and shared their goals to transform the senior care industry.  

Nine months later, the team’s doubled and is working in a beautiful office across from the Santa Monica Pier. Today they’re announcing a $20 million Series A, bringing the company’s total funding to $23 million.

Whether it’s the teams eight culture credos or their weekly Idea Teams, I deeply admire Kyle and Mike’s commitment to make HomeHero a company individuals are proud to work for. 

When I asked Mike about how the culture had evolved since October, he simply said, “It’s an awesome energy. I love everyone here.” 

As the team prepares to expand deeper into San Diego and to San Francisco, Mike and I got together to highlight the values responsible for their sustainable growth. 

Always default to transparency. 

Whether it’s openly discussing company metrics and upcoming projects or encouraging team members to participate across departments, Mike cites transparency as the foundation of HomeHero’s culture. 

The team works in an open space where sales, marketing, and engineering team members can easily share ideas.

They also use project specific channels in Slack to encourage constant communication and enable individuals from every department to contribute to the conversation. According to Mike, the feedback serves as a catalyst to move projects forward, with one individual’s response saving another hours of research. He personally reviews each of the channels and shares comments every night. 

Define your culture and own it. 

HomeHero’s mantra is “Dream it. Plan it. Do it.” Kyle and Mike established the credo to enable team members to completely own their roles and constantly initiate new projects. Even if it’s a desire to learn Portuguese, Kyle and Mike are adamant about helping their team members feel fulfilled.

Mike suggests asking “Are you as happy as you possibly could be here?” to get the conversation started. 

Build Idea Teams. 

Despite proximity, cross-functional collaboration doesn’t evolve on its own. To ignite it, Kyle and Mike created Idea Teams: Groups of three HomeHero team members working in different departments. 

The groups meet every week to share current projects, challenges they’re facing, and new apps, products, and hacks they’ve learned. The 45 minutes not only nurture a more social environment but allow the team to constantly optimize their processes. For example, an engineer can quickly build software to streamline a sales process. 

Praise the execution, not the output.

“We appreciate, respect and give credit to the execution of ideas,” Mike shared. 

Whether the results are positive or negative, the HomeHero team focuses on the effort placed rather than the results.

The most telling aspect of a new project is what the organization learned and how they can improve in the future. This is crucial for cultivating team members confidence. 

Additionally, Mike encourages founders to recognize and celebrate incremental progress. 

Recognize Your Team Members Uniquely.

While it’s important to acknowledge team members for their longstanding contributions, recognition is only as deep as the way it’s received. As a founder, you’re responsible for understanding what makes individuals feel valued. 

Whether it’s a donut and balloon on somebody’s desk, a quiet thank you or an announcement at your weekly meeting recognition is most meaningful when it resonates. 

To learn more about HomeHero’s culture tune into Mike’s 33founders episode and read a detailed list of their eight culture credos here