Neato Robotics

  www.neatorobotics.com
  www.neatorobotics.com

Neato Robotics Reviews

Updated November 3, 2014
Updated November 3, 2014
10 Reviews
2.6
10 Reviews
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Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Neato Robotics Chairman & CEO Giacomo Marini
Giacomo Marini
6 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1. 3 people found this helpful  

    Great Product Concept but Company Needs to Improve

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Neato Robotics full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    The product itself is extremely innovative, and it appears that those who have a good experience with are happy to share when given the opportunity to do so.

    The unlimited amount of snacks, sodas, coffee, tea, and the daily catered lunches are a bonus.

    Expansion of larger cubes and a new space for Engineers is near completion.

    Company is making an effort for improvements as CO appears to genuinely care.

    Cons

    As for work-life within the organization goes, there seems to be a low level of morale. Whispers of this manager being a horrible person to deal with, and that manager not having a clue rise above the dead silence of the mundane work day.

    Just as the review "Political Mess with Low Morale and Little Leadership” pointed out, there is appears to be a high turnover in both Engineering and Marketing especially. Marketing tends to hire highly experienced individuals. Then tasks them outside their scope of skill-set, micromanages, won't listen to their input, then fires them (or they are asked to leave) as quickly as they are hired with no mention or explanation. I have not seen one last more than a few months.

    Marketing appears to spend more time cleaning up messes or making snap decisions without putting thought or planning into it. There are many issues with the vacuums (just read the Facebook page, Tweets, or Amazon reviews). Customer service points the finger at the customer for poor maintenance, accuses customers of lying, or is simply just unresponsive (read the reviews and company responses).

    Engineering is a mess with poor development cycles, no communication, and no support for ideas or innovation. Leading to just about as a high turnover as Marketing.

    There seems to be no accountability for Engineering, QA, Product, and Marketing with regards to performance.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Begin by holding departments accountable for the work they do. Engineering report on efficiency, Marketing share plan and report data on successes. Use a secret shopper program for Customer Service to evaluate how customers are managed.

    Next provide a review process frequently in which employees can rate their managers anonymously (for CEO eyes only).

    Allow an open forum for suggestions and ideas to be heard throughout the organization by other departments.

    Look to other ways of bringing people together than free lunches, birthday cards, or forced retreats. These are smart people that don't fall for the "moral boosting" obvious efforts.

    Lastly I recommend that the company get a legal and HR representative to be there for the staff.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    A company with a genuinely novel start destined for an unremarkable end

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior Mechanical Engineer in Newark, CA
    Former Employee - Senior Mechanical Engineer in Newark, CA

    I worked at Neato Robotics full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    The people who designed the original product designed an unprecedented navigation and cleaning robot. It was, for a long time, without equal.

    Free Lunches

    Abundant free snacks and soda

    Cons

    There are many serious problems with this company. Terrible pay is not the worst of it. My personal experience included a supervisor that would answer my results with profanity. The VP, who hired me, lost a great deal of my respect when he picked up this habit of speaking to me in the same fashion. I have never been in a workplace where I was spoken to in this way. These were people who should have conducted themselves with so much more polish. I took maximum effort to not become belligerent or just as profane. When you are beholden to a mortgage and personal expenses, you cannot always take the principled stands you would prefer to take. I just didn't expect, with the skill and education I have, to take the kind of abuse I would expect if I was a teen working in a retail job. Shame on them!

    In other instances, I could be in meetings with my supervisor and peers and utterly disregarded. I would speak and literally not have my spoken words acknowledged. I know I was not inaudible or invisible. It was the paramount of rudeness. I accepted that I was not respected. I did my best to care about the issues that kept this product in jeopardy in spite of the way I was held in such low esteem. Later, what I had cautioned would surface as valid, but never with the acknowledgement that I had clearly stated it. It was not my place, as an engineering professional, to tell them what they wanted to hear. It was my job to report how it was. It was their loss that they would not heed what I told them. It was not a compliment to their wits that they could not fathom that I had warned them about each of these matters. I owe them some thanks in fostering indifference in me. It surely preserved my sanity.

    Aside from the unconventional feedback I got in chiding and profanity, there were more serious issues to the health and success of the company. As an engineer, it's an alien concept to be charged with fixing a part that doesn't work but being forbidden to change the shape of the part. It would be akin to seeing a doctor who has diagnosed a patient with an operable cancer, and forbidding the doctor to use chemo or surgery. The doctor cannot affect a cure when the means to cure are taboo. In my case, I could not exact a cure to a mechanism without changing the shapes of failing parts. It's so obvious I don't think i should have to explain why that's a problem. A design had been created and not advanced past a prototype. That prototype, not having been fully tested, was put into production tooling. The mistakes of any design are expected to be resolved in prototyping, not production. Issues with design were being put to production staff to remedy. Of course, these were design issues, and outside of a production remedy. Redesign was required. That also meant that tooling, no matter how expensive it is to be made, would have to be discarded because it was implemented prematurely.

    I sympathize with the pain of the expense of making new tooling. I also can't comprehend how a design was put into production before it was tested. Moreover, if it had been tested, and issues like these surfaced in spite of testing, redesign was still a requirement to make a successful run. There is a culture, at Neato, where suggestions become dismissed. And, in my case, I withdrew from the process of offering insight and investing myself in the struggle to advance the product forward. I was hired to help with engineering issues. It became clear my job was to absorb harsh criticism and take abuse. I started interviewing for a new position a month after I started work there. Always hoping along the way I would insinuate some good. I learned to stop looking for those opportunities. I had to stop caring because caring became too expensive for my spirit.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    All of the engineering staff that designed the product, when I arrived, was no longer with the company. All of the people who interviewed me had left in less than 3 months of being in the company. Some of them were dismissed. Most left. It is not reasonable to say that people leave for better opportunity in pay and benefits. You must take ownership for your errors because anyone else who can be blamed has been replaced. Some of the people blamed have been replaced repeatedly. So, you have to look at who has been at the company the longest and ask yourself if those people are really the people you should be trusting for the this company to work. You need a mirror for this process too.

    People are leaving in response to the state of misery they feel at work. It takes an inordinately bad situation to drive people out of a company where people love the product and dream of its potential. There were amazing accomplishments made by the people who created the first generation of this product. Since then, there has been no real effort to advance the product and keep it relevant. The time the company has existed has been long enough to accept that it is no longer "a start up". It's time to make difficult decisions about what should be happening next.

    There's something rotten in Denmark... It's the king.

    To address matters of morale will require a complete restaffing of the management. It's an indictment of poor management when the person with the immediate charge of morale resigns for a new position.

    On my last day, I was told in my exit interview that 32 people had left in the course of that 8 months. Imagine, in so small a company, what that says. You cannot point a blame at the employees when so many can't bear to be there.

    People there know that dismissal is what awaits anyone who takes a stand about what needs to be done. We know because we've seen it happen so often. The roster changes so frequently that we were often unaware that people had left or been dismissed. Often, unanswered emails prompted going to a colleague's desk. And arriving at that desk all of that person's effects would be missing

    Small measures and blame have been the theme in keeping the company moving. Small measures are destroying the company. Blame is elevating the worst in the organization and filtering out the talent that could help you to succeed.

    If people are penalized or fired for telling you what you don't like to hear, no one will be bold enough to keep your company afloat. It's a shame because you pushed away people who wanted so much for your company to succeed. A lot of great people were pushed out or fired. People, who in retrospect, you couldn't afford to hire but loved the potential your product had.

    If parts need redesigning, people need better pay, or management needs replacing, then you must meet these needs to succeed. If these are places you can't deliver, you are conceding you're not able to maintain the minimum requirements to keep the business viable. It would be better to accept failure, or belly-up-to-the-bar and make the needed expenses. But, drifting between will only cost more money and damage the brand. Accept failure or commit to success.

    Have the humility to know you are not equal to the task and step down for one who is. OR, accept that you have failed.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Neato Robotics Response

    Nov 6, 2014Chairman & CEO

    I will be brief.

    Pay: Our pay is competitive. We are attracting the top talent we need and are compensating appropriately.

    Profanity: we do not tolerate inappropriate behavior. We
    ... More

  3.  

    Run away... a terrible place to work!!!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Newark, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Newark, CA

    I worked at Neato Robotics full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Free lunch
    Free snacks
    all the stress you could every want...
    oh and all the backstabbing you would need in a lifetime

    Cons

    Oh where to begin...
    Terrible management
    Tyrannical environment
    Poor quality product
    Crummy benefits
    No salary raises / no bonuses

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The overwhelming incompetence of the C-level positions is mind boggling! The CEO is a dictatorial jerk with "short-man's syndrome". He makes horrible decisions and fires the good people while keeping the terrible ones who like to blame others for their own failures and short-comings. What was an opportunity for a company to grow has turned into an absolute joke thanks to Giacomo. The revolving door of employees who get fooled into joining the hidden cesspool is astounding, the management decisions are horrendous and the inability of upper management to accept very bright individuals' wisdom/input for change toward better quality and process is mind numbing.

    Without a doubt Neato Robotics is the worst place I have ever worked and their runway is very short. If the company is around after the 2014 Holidays I'll be shocked. The only way to save it is to fire Giacomo and for the smart people to be allowed to do the work.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Neato Robotics Response

    Nov 4, 2014Chairman & CEO

    Dear Anonymous Former Employee,

    You must be big and tall, because between us short people we normally don’t notice the “short man syndrome”. And remember I am Italian not French.

    I am
    ... More

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  5. 3 people found this helpful  

    'The death of innovation' or 'Another robotics company consigned to the history archives'

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Neato Robotics full-time

    Pros

    When Neato came out with its first product, it was way ahead of the competition. Truly the first affordable, fully autonomous, vacuum cleaner. SLAM technology was new and Neato figured out how to use it in a affordable consumer product. When I first joined, I was hyped about what this company had done, and thinking about where it could go.

    Cons

    Unfortunately, Neato has made no advancements in robotics technology since the first version of the product. From the old timers, you hear the stories of how they bungled production and had very high return rates. Consequently, they have never been profitable. They have also never had enough money to advertise. Now the market has other competitors with smart technology and Neato doesn't stand out anymore. They still have money problems, salary freezes and large turnover rates.
    The current CEO (who is also chairman of the board) has no vision at all. He runs the company as if the next model of the product will be a silver bullet for the company, but the next model is pretty much always the same product as before. In the meantime, all innovation and infrastructure building is put on hold to finish the next model. I waited for years to get out of the nose-to-the-grindstone mode and into the innovation mode, but it never came.
    The current CEO is a true tyrant with no leadership skills. He talks only to his executive staff, and his favorite phrase is "from 30,000 feet'. He makes wild statements that contradict the facts, and has no interest in investigating or verifying anything. He pretty much employs only two management tools; bullying people, and firing them.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Put some money into advertisement, and stabilize the quality of the product. Then instead of chasing the next model, go back and do something innovative. Your staff is not big enough to compete with Dyson, even with a better product. You will not survive if all you do is follow everyone else.
    Get rid of the current CEO. Find someone who has a vision and will proselytize it to ALL employees. Someone who has leadership skills.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Neato Robotics Response

    Oct 8, 2014Chairman & CEO

    Innovation at Neato is to develop and deliver to our customers new, leading edge, competitive, compelling products that, through the magic of robotics, free them from household tasks and make their ... More

  6. 1 person found this helpful  

    Brilliant! Great products and people.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Neato Robotics full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    You are working on a new category trend. This is early in the lifestyle and the runway for continued success is very long. Very strong leadership.

    Cons

    It's a start-up. As is always the case, there are hick-ups and challenges. You have to be willing to roll-up your sleeves and make things happen.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7.  

    A great company with great potential

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Newark, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Newark, CA

    I have been working at Neato Robotics full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    The people are all top notch, friendly, professional, and very good at what they do. The product has great potential, and is loaded with high technology. The management team is well seasoned and responsive.

    Cons

    Turnover seems a little high in some departments. Sometime short-term goals get in the way of long-term vision. Not much in the way of formal, periodic performance feedback.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Management should pay a little more attention to improving retention rate. Invest more in future vision.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8.  

    It was a great Experience

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Neato Robotics

    Pros

    Great management, great team, great benefits

    Cons

    Not much in terms of cons

  9.  

    Great place to work if you want to work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Software Engineer
    Former Employee - Software Engineer

    I worked at Neato Robotics full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Great products/projects and people. Some of the smartest people I met so far work(or worked) here.

    Cons

    Limited appreciation for your efforts. Low salaries.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10. 3 people found this helpful  

    Paranoid and political culture

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Engineering in Newark, CA
    Former Employee - Engineering in Newark, CA

    I worked at Neato Robotics full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    No doubt about it - there were once brilliant engineers at Neato. Of fifty employees, maybe two are more than a couple years old - and they will spin you tales of the old days... The tech left behind is awesome, quirky, and completely undocumented.

    Cons

    There's a reason the original team is gone. The culture is paranoid, political, and dysfunctional. There are more managers than workers, so the workers are overloaded beyond the point of caring, while managers power grab and backstab. Occasionally, people are fired randomly, hired randomly, promoted randomly. Nothing is based on merit, and the churn is ridiclous.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    Neato Robotics Response

    Jun 26, 2014VP Marketing

    It is too bad that you did not have a great experience at Neato. It has been a while since you have left and there have been many changes. We have steadily been building a very talented and ... More

  11. 4 people found this helpful  

    Cool technology - but lots of issues

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Neato Robotics

    Pros

    Robots are cool to work on - no doubt about it. These are real consumer leading edge robots, not toys or one-of-a-kind industrial robots. Those employees that have stuck around are great to work with (but some of the brightest are long gone).

    Cons

    Low pay, lack of resources, and too many manufacturing "partners" and vendors that change things then don't get it. As a result there's lots of thrashing to work on mfg or field issues rather than new products. Neato is a revolving door where most people get burned out after 1-2 years. CEO is sales savvy but very technology challenged and a fish out of water (East coast exec running a silicon valley start-up)

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Improve regular communication - don't gloss over the issues. Hire so issues can be managed. Eliminate all of the bad manufacturers.

    Doesn't Recommend

    Neato Robotics Response

    Jun 26, 2014VP Marketing

    We are sorry that you did not have a positive experience at Neato. Many things have changed in the years since your departure – new CEO, new product line launch, and growing market share. We are ... More

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