THE SCIENCE OF STARTUPS
Cogo Labs: The Science of Startups
Originally founded in 2005, Cogo Labs is the technology-driven venture accelerator behind some of the Boston area’s fastest-growing web companies.
We combine entrepreneurial business leadership with a unique platform of proprietary technologies for algorithmic marketing, data mining, and quantitative business analytics. Our fast-paced and innovative approach enables us to guide start-ups from inception to profitability and beyond.
Cogo Labs is part of the Link Ventures family of companies.
- Our employees are passionate and driven — not just about their work, but about their hobbies and projects outside of work.
- We build things fast and use the best tools for the job.
- Every employee at Cogo Labs has a direct impact on the bottom-line of the company. No silos or widget-making here.
- We believe in data. We love debating different theories, but when we're faced with a choice, it's the data that will guide our decision-making.
- Being part of an incubator, and having a number of different projects in the works, means that every day brings new and interesting challenges to solve.
- No egos or attitudes here — just talented people who are good at what they do, open to new ideas, eager to learn from each other, and excited about data-driven entrepreneurship.
- Competitive salaries and company equity that actually means something.
- Comprehensive benefits plan, including health, dental, and vision.
- Discounted gym & Hubway memberships.
- Monthly T-pass paid for by the company.
- Three weeks vacation per year, plus 10 paid holidays, plus sick days. AND you get an additional day off every year for your first 5 years.
- You pick the type of laptop you want to use here. (For most people this means a Macbook Pro or Air, but hey, feel free to surprise us.)
- Fully-stocked kitchen with everything from fresh, organic fruit to non-fresh, non-organic Fruit Gushers.
- Coffee, espresso, and seltzer machines on-site, plus a veritable conveyor belt of growlers from CBC, right next door.
- A big company-wide catered lunch every Friday (favorites include Thai, BBQ, Anna's, hot dogs & burgers).
- An ever-expanding games library (current favorites: Ticket to Ride, Blockus, Munckin, Pandemic).
- Frequent company outings (karaoke, harbor cruises, brewery tours, sporting events, and other fun stuff).
Cogo Labs Photos
- Work/Life Balance
- Culture & Values
- Career Opportunities
- Comp & Benefits
- Senior Management
I have been working at Cogo Labs full-time (More than a year)RecommendsPositive OutlookApproves of CEORecommendsPositive OutlookApproves of CEO
(1) Brains! Everyone's ridiculously smart. Most people are a pleasure to work with. The two HR people are a pleasure to work with, in contrast to some of my prior corporate experiences!
(2) Be a better programmer / learn to code. For the analyst roles, it's easy to become a rather sophisticated programmer at Cogo. You learn the Linux/Unix command line, SQL, Git and Python just to start with opportunities to learn Go, Hadoop, and just about any other language you're interested in (every employee gets a MacBook that they can install any software they want. As someone who has been frustrated waiting for huge bureaucracies to reject small software install requests, I can't tell you how AMAZING this is).
(3) Culture and perks. The company culture focuses on (1) keeping you comfortable and (2) getting work done. The perks are great... cold-brew coffee kegs, comfortable chairs, standing desks, Friday lunches, free soda, and many snacks. Managers tend to care more about their direct reports getting work done than showing up at a particular hour or other appearance-keeping measures.
(4) Learn about other businesses while not being a consultant. For those business-minded folks, Cogo employees are exposed to the broader business world quite often. As a startup incubator, we have other companies that get spun out, acquired, IPO, etc. We routinely get updates from senior management about the status and performance of those outside businesses. Additionally, it's common for analysts to do "tear-downs" of existing businesses. That is, an analyst will use public data and Cogo databases to shed novel insight into existing businesses. Cogo can later use those insights into its own projects.
(5) Company sponsored food + drinks. Oh, and one more mention of perks: the bi-weekly Thursday events. Between our monthly company-wide meetings and our monthly team-wide meetings, expect to have free food and drinks available every two Thursdays. I can say that potentially hostilities between me and some of my co-workers have been thawed just by hanging out and having a beer with them!
(1) Politics. Cogo consists of multiple teams vying for senior management attention. The politics aren't so much on an individual level, but on a team level. That means that junior management is routinely thinking about ways to rephrase and present projects for approval.
(2) Technical complexity. This problem is primarily for analysts and engineers, but could impact other teams. Because Cogo is a tech company and because so many people code, it can become difficult to understand codebases and to keep up with codebase changes. The complexity issue is particularly acute for analysts, who are generally have quantitative backgrounds and computer science experience, but for whom software engineering wasn't the focus of their training.
(3) Egos. When you're working with tons of smart people and you're inevitably going to have to deal with some large egos. When asking questions of coworkers, you may find a surprisingly high number of condescending replies. Similarly, during meetings, some employees may make attempts to "shoot down" ideas in a way that indicts the speaker rather than the idea. This problem is irritating, but it's manageable. The important part to remember is that it's not you, it's them.
Advice to Management
Talk about failure more often! We try so many new ideas that don't work out. When ideas fail, it seems that most team leads will simply bury the project. Instead, failure should a regular component about meetings so that we can learn from past mistakes.
Also, it's important to minimize incentives to over-promise and underdeliver! Don't create a culture where, internally, the truth is obfuscated by marketing jargon. For our business to be successful, frank discussions are critical. We can be optimistic, but we should never be in denial about our business and technical problems.
Getting an Interview
Getting an Interview
Helpful (2)No OfferNegative ExperienceAverage Interview
I applied through other source. The process took 1 day – interviewed at Cogo Labs.
They are looking for Einstein im guessing, even if you have experience on linux, nagios, and what they ask for they will reject you, I would say that the person conducting the interview by phone does not even know what they are looking for...
This person, I wont mention names, even seemed tired not wanting to even talk on the phone, seemed not even interested since before he called.
- do you have any questions ? like 50 times. 5 Answers
Let us know if we're missing any workplace or industry recognition –
Cogo Labs is a technology-driven venture accelerator in Kendall Square. We generate ideas for web-facing startups, and then turn those ideas into successful companies.