DiscoverOrg’s People & Culture: Where We’ve Been and Where We’re Going
With our roots still firmly planted in the power of world-class data, DiscoverOrg is celebrating the beginning of a new chapter. We’ve rebranded, launched a new website, and are gearing up to introduce a ton of new products!
We’re not ashamed to boast about our growth. Since 2007 our company has experienced massive year-over-year growth, we’ve expanded our team immensely (with big plans to keep growing), we’re offering new products, and have moved to our current home in downtown Vancouver, Washington.
From a 2,000 sq. ft. office to a 27,000 sq. ft. office in less than 7 years, we always knew that we were going to build a great company, but we’re all floored at how quickly it happened.
Yet, even with all of this rapid growth and change, we wanted to take a moment to remember where we came from. So we sat down with one of DiscoverOrg’s first employees, Michelle Brewer, now the Director of Operations and Talent, and took a walk down memory lane.
Q: Give us a brief history of DiscoverOrg:
Michelle: Henry Schuck and Kirk Brown started DiscoverOrg in Columbus, Ohio, in 2007 out of Henry’s apartment while he was in law school. Within a few months Andy Brewer (currently the Director, Client Success) joined the company.
In 2008, the company moved from Ohio to Vancouver, Washington and into their first office space on Fourth Plain. The entire office space was about 2,000 sq. feet and we thought that we’d never grow into the space. It wasn’t in a great neighborhood – we were on the street with the highest crime rate in Vancouver. We often had homeless people wandering into our offices. There was also the shadiest convenience store next door, which was only open for two hours a day.
In 2010, however, we maxed out our space and had to buy the space next to us, which at the time was a massage parlor. Six months later, we filled that space too.
In 2012, the Fourth Plain office caught on “fire”. Or so we thought. Henry smelled a fire and freaked out and called the fire department and sent everyone home. It turns out it was just an old electrical wire that sparked.
In 2012, we bought a new 8,000 sq. ft. building that we REALLY thought we would never fill. One year later we had to lease another 6,000 sq. feet to accommodate new hires. Then 6 months later we had to lease another 4,000 sq. feet. In under 2 years we went from not being able to fill one office to being at capacity in three. It was like having a DiscoverOrg campus.
When we moved to the 95th Street office, our company culture changed a bit because we finally had some extra space. We got a corn hole board, had impromptu chair races, and started what we now affectionately call “Prank-tober” (we think that title is self-explanatory).
Everyone frequented Da Kine’s café – the Hawaiian food place down the street that sadly no longer exists. To celebrate our hard work, we went on a booze cruise, went bowling at Big Al’s, and did quarterly potlucks.
In 2014, we took on an undisclosed amount of growth equity funding from TA Associates, and in April of 2015 we signed one of the largest leases in downtown Vancouver’s history and moved to our current 27,000 sq. ft. location.
Q: Tell us a little about yourself and your role at DiscoverOrg (how has it changed over the years?)
Michelle: I started at DiscoverOrg as a research analyst. Henry took a chance on me and saved me from managing tanning salons in the area. I had just moved up here from California and had no idea what I was doing. In the next couple of months between me, Robert, and Brent we started building the datasets.
While I worked as a researcher, I also started doing a lot of operational things and as our company grew, I grew with it. I became the manager of mid-market and took on responsibilities for new hires and onboarding. I started taking on more and more HR responsibilities so I studied like crazy to become SHRM certified. In the last few years I’ve grown into the role of Director, Operations and Talent. From five people in an office to 150 people, I’ve been a part of every stage of this company’s growth.
Q: When Henry and Kirk started the company – where do you think they hoped the company would go? How does that compare to where the company is now?
Michelle: This is exactly what they were thinking when they started the company. They wanted to create a product that would become the best tool in the market. They wanted to be the industry leaders. They knew they had an awesome idea and that nobody else was doing it. They took exactly the right steps to get us here. They didn’t overshoot anything, and they let the company grow as they grew. They had the backing and belief of every employee. We have an incredible company, and it’s all because of the way that Henry and Kirk started, and grew the company.
Q: What are some of the BEST moments in DiscoverOrg history?
Michelle: There’s too many to say! There are a million stories I could tell that involve Elvis, employees dressing up as Henry, doorbells hidden in the ceiling, the epic snowstorm of 2014, breakdance battles, and pie eating contests.
Q: Where do you see the company going in the future?
Michelle: I see us continuing to expand. We currently have 150 people on staff, are well on our way to hiring another 150 this year, and we have no intention of slowing down. Our product is incredible and the data really sells itself. We’re investing in our researchers and the company is only going to get bigger and better.
Q: What HASN’T changed at DiscoverOrg over the years?
Michelle: The culture. We’ve all stayed true to the company. We still act like there’s 10 of us in the office. Even for the people who haven’t been here for very long, we’re all in this together. It’s just as fast-paced as it was in the beginning, if not, faster. Our definition of a “busy day” is 10 times as busy as anyone else’s “busy day”.
Oh, another thing that hasn’t changed…
…Henry still says “just do it really quick, it will just take 5 minutes” – 3 hours later you’re still working on the project.