Last year, we asked ourselves: "What will happen if we gather 100 Vainu employees from five Vainu offices - Helsinki, Stockholm, Oslo, Amsterdam and New York - in one place for team-building activities, workshops, and meetings?” We decided to find out, and the answer to the question is: "a lot."
This January, everyone in sales, marketing, finance, HR, and management roles in Vainu got together in Lisbon, Portugal, for a company-wide 2018 kick-off. However, to quote the great Carl Sagan: "You have to know the past to understand the present." And to be well prepared for the future, we at Vainu are confident you'll have to both know the past and understand the present. Therefore, we spent quite some time in Lisbon looking back at Vainu's earliest days, celebrating 2017's achievements and learning from those things that we could have handled differently.
Last year, we grew from a 75-people strong team to a company of 150 talented and motivated colleagues. And we opened three new offices, including the first one outside of Europe - in New York. We were also fortunate to win some prestigious awards. Among them, "Best Bootstrapped" (companies who haven't received external funding) at the Nordic Startup Awards. We were also named "B2B sales tool of the year" in Sweden.
This trip was the first time the whole company got together like this. What a fantastic four days!
Our key takeaways from the Lisbon trip:
Day 1 - Starting out strong
Once everyone had made their way to our hotel in Lisbon and received a branded Vainu hoodie, our co-founder Mikko Honkanen went on stage and and held a presentation about the company's journey from its earliest days to where we’re at today. The audience laughed hard at video clips from when the first sales calls were made from his apartment in 2013 - before Vainu’s software was even built. Needless to say, a lot has happened in less than five years! After that, Vainu’s other co-founder and CTO, Tuomas Rasila, presented the technology behind Vainu and a number of exciting product updates to come in 2018. This ensured us that the growth rate of our company and sales intelligence tools won’t slow any time soon.
Day 2 - Unlocking creativity and value during workshops
It’s said that two heads are better than one.then how great are 100 creative minds? During day two we divided our team of 100 strong into smaller groups for workshops. We discussed what type of atmosphere we want at Vainu and what we have to do in order to keep a welcoming, warm and high performing mentality in every office.
Day 3 - Lisbon Sightseeing and Vainu Gala
After two intensive days mostly spent in conference rooms, Saturday was dedicated to sightseeing and team building. On rib-boats, trams, tuc-tucs, busses and on foot we moved around the city and took on different team challenges.
Jeans and comfortable walking shoes were traded for high heels, cocktail dresses and nice suits in the evening when it was time for Vainu’s International Gala. An award ceremony was followed by a three course dinner with a number of spontaneous speeches. The party then continued until late on the streets of Lisbon.
Day 4 - Sunday is funday ...
… at least for some countries. While the Swedish team went to Estádio José Alvalade watching soccer in the evening and team U.S. had a tasty dinner in the city, other teams went to the airport. Having offices around the globe and arranging a company-wide kick-off like this means an advanced flight schedule puzzle.
Looking back at the four days in Lisbon
With a video of when Vainu’s co-founders screwed together IKEA furniture in Vainu’s first office (not counting Mikko’s apartment) fresh in our memories, it’s equally fascinating and encourraging to understand how much we’ve achieved during Vainu’s four year long history.
While the reasons for Vainu’s success and rapid growth so far are many, one thing is for sure - the people who build up this company are the greatest assets we have. Hence, in order to continue to grow we have to continue to recruit motivated and talented colleagues.
To quote co-founder Pietari Suvanto: “We’ve achieved a great deal, but Vainu has only reached about 5% of our planned journey.”
In less than a month, we’ll open up our seventh office in Tampere, Finland. In a hyper-growth company where new offices are opened - and new markets are entered - every year the opportunities of advancing fast within the company are endless.
Last year, we went from 75 to 150 employees. In 2018, we plan to double that figure. If you’re interested to join our team, have a look at our open positions here. We look forward to hearing from you!