Vecna Technologies

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Vecna Technologies Reviews

Updated March 2, 2015
Updated March 2, 2015
70 Reviews
2.9
70 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
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Deborah Theobald
53 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • great work/life balance, especially flexibility of work hours and option of working from home (in 8 reviews)

  • The culture of community service is great (in 9 reviews)


Cons
  • The paid-community-service must be spent 4 hours per week, they are not open to 8 hours every other week, making it very difficult to schedule (in 3 reviews)

  • First of all, the time-tracking is horribly stressful (in 3 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1. 9 people found this helpful  

    Quirky company that wants to do the right thing

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Business Analyst in Cambridge, MA
    Former Employee - Business Analyst in Cambridge, MA

    I worked at Vecna Technologies full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    Vecna has its heart in the right place. Its employees give back to the community. They have instituted quality improvement programs to reduce product defect rates. There are some people there who are very smart. They have typically hired from the top technical schools in the country. The culture is quirky and fun. Nobody there takes themselves too seriously. People are there to make a difference in the world. Work life balance was good.

    Cons

    Things had gotten pretty politically charged with turf battles between different groups. This happened a lot as it became apparent that the company was not closing the deals that it expected to. Department re-orgs happened so often that people stopped paying attention to formal reporting structures and role definitions. There was a lack of leadership and no willingness to make hard decisions to help focus the company.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep the culture. Focus more. Understand what you are good at.

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  2. 18 people found this helpful  

    Lost its way

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Cambridge, MA
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Cambridge, MA

    I have been working at Vecna Technologies full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    Free T pass
    Free healthy lunch offerings
    Convenient location on Red Line in Cambridge
    Fully paid health care and 401K

    Cons

    Vecna has lost its way. It is no longer a happy place to work. When I joined, the company was actively hiring across the board, although many of the positions seemed to be expensive luxuries and not needed for a company of its size, for example a company masseuse. Vecna squandered millions on ill founded projects and bad decisions. While it had a leading position in certain areas of healthcare software, it wasted its lead due to arrogance and poor management.

    Vecna managed to hire and still has many good people. But they have been frustrated and poorly managed. Today very few are happy and confident about the prospects of the company. If you visit the company you will see signs that state that the company is building transformative technologies to empower humanity. Ok, nice idea, but the company has trouble delivering software or hardware products that actually work and are not totally buggy. The quality issues are the result of convoluted legacy code and poor management plus employees are losing their motivation.

    This is not a happy well-run company today. Any optimistic glowing reviews that I read on the site don't seem to have been written by employees as I doubt many still feel this way. Perhaps Vecna was worthy of being a 4 star rated company a couple of years ago but no longer.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Shrink the company, get rid of unrealistic pet projects and focus on what the market really wants and will pay for. Stop relying on Goalmind as your management system. Cut out the arrogant "we are the market leader"attitude, its not true, and actually go to the market and listen and learn what they want, then deliver it on time and without bugs.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3. 19 people found this helpful  

    Spectacular company culture with abysmal management decisions. It's a gamble.

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

    I worked at Vecna Technologies full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    The people at this company are great. They really do ensure that the people they hire not only have the skills, but also the attitude and personality for success. Everyone is willing to help and it’s a great team atmosphere. It’s easy to make friends. And if you’re unhappy for any reason, they will work with you to resolve it.

    The benefits are also amazing. Full medical and dental, and cheap vision coverage. 401k with matching, which I had thought didn’t exist anymore. Free monthly T pass. Flex time and lots of paid time off. Clubs to join. Food trucks for lunch every day.

    And I learned so much. I was exposed to so many different kinds of projects (most of them really cool) and got to try my hand at a number of different skills. I became a much better engineer, and they’ve boosted their training efforts to help people build their skills more quickly and easily.

    Most of all, they actually do legitimately care about making the world a better place. That’s refreshing given the current selfish corporate trends you normally see. I participated in the community service program and it’s really nice to feel like you’re doing something good for someone. In addition to technical skills, I also learned a lot about how to be more conscientious and how to foster an environment where people actually want to work together. That was pretty cool.

    Cons

    The “formal layoff” mentioned in a review from a week ago happened this week. Literally 20% of the employees gone, without warning, in a single day. Most of us were completely blind-sighted because we thought the company was doing well; good news is shared enthusiastically, but bad news is downplayed or kept hush-hush until it’s too late. 76 people came in (including many who probably previously left positive reviews on this site, and many of whom had been there for years and years), not knowing that it would be their last day of work.

    This happened because the company has long relied on one primary business partner whose funding depends on Congress. Efforts have been made to diversify and acquire income from other sources, and have been somewhat successful, but not enough to prevent catastrophe. Valuable people are gone, but that cause is still present. That does not put the company in a good position to move forward.

    Many of those gone had particularly amazing potential for bringing in new ideas and sources of funding which is clearly desperately needed. The field of Robotics in particular is going to explode in coming years and one of Vecna’s greatest assets was being at the forefront of that...until they just decimated the team and got rid of the person who had been previously successful at marketing the robot.

    Those are all great ways for a company to shoot itself in the foot. It will take Vecna a long time and a lot of effort to recover from this, and it could have been avoided with better planning. I’m sure HR will post a response, as is their right, but ultimately there is no viable excuse for a tech company with marketable products to have to lay off 1/5 of its employees in one go. That truly is unacceptable.

    I also noticed that the same day this happened, someone posted a new review here praising the new head of HR but suspiciously lacking any mention of this even though it shook the whole company. HR is generally wonderful and there for the employees, but I have to admit I was a little disconcerted by that.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Management has a great vision of what the company could and should accomplish, but even after a few years of slowly pulling it together, is still too disorganized to fully realize that vision. The immediate outlook is grim. We were joking that the layoff felt a bit like the Red Wedding from Game of Thrones, and morale among the survivors is low.

    This was truly a great company to work for, seriously unparalleled by any I’ve seen before...when things were going well. Obviously things are not going well anymore.

    Management needs to balance its idealism with practicality and make sure that things like this don’t happen, and if they do, that they don’t stem their greatest opportunities for growth and recovery in a panicked attempt to stay afloat. I enjoyed my time there, and if these problems were fixed I'd want to go back, but management needs to gain some better business sense first.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Vecna Technologies Response

    Jan 29, 2015Director, Talent Acquisition

    Thank you for all the nice things you said. Clearly you made a real effort to emphasize both your positive and negative impressions.

    For many people this is their first job right out of college
    ... More

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  5. 20 people found this helpful  

    Great team. Terrible, terrible management.

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

    I have been working at Vecna Technologies full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    I worked with some awesome people who really tried to do their jobs as best they could. I made friends, I liked my work. The hours were flexible. Work was interesting.

    Cons

    There's no loyalty. There were people who had been with the company for 7 years, in high level positions, who'd built the company up. They were shoved out the door with only what they could carry.

    The management is sloppy at best and skirting illegality at worst. We would get money from contracts to do work, then shift the money elsewhere; when it came time to work on the project, we were told there was no more money. We'd have months left on the project, and the money had just disappeared.

    They'd hire tons of people and then suddenly realize they couldn't pay them. HR was a joke - they'd screw up everyone's job and benefits; tell you something in an email, and then rescind that because they either didn't know what they were doing, or were told the policy had suddenly changed. We hired a PhD, then cut him a few months later because he was too expensive. There was a virtual ban on anything but open-source software; industry-standard tools were rare. No one but biz dev was allowed things like MS Office.

    The CEO claims to have a wealth of knowledge and experience. I didn't see evidence of that, and neither did the other engineers. His approach seemed to be "tell people what they want to hear, throw up smoke and mirrors, and then blame the employees when they can't deliver on ridiculous overpromises."

    The worst part was the lectures on ethical practices, and the ever present lie of "open door policy" It was an open secret that if you were to actually go complain about something, you'd probably be fired; they'd find a way to write the just cause into the employee handbook that night so you couldn't claim otherwise.

    Bottom line: all the negative reviews here, whether they seem bitter or not, are entirely true. The overwhelming positive ones are either astroturf from Talent Development, or kids out of college who don't know they're getting the shaft. You could have work to do one day, and nothing the next, but if you didn't, you'd have to use your vacation time. The pay was substandard; they sell you on benefits and profit sharing, but don't tell you it's unlikely you'll ever see that profit sharing.

    I loved, loved my coworkers. I would recommend working here if that were the only decision to make. I'll probably never find better ones. The company, there are so many better ones. I can't recommend working here.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Do better. At everything.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Vecna Technologies Response

    Feb 15, 2015Director, Talent Acquisition

    We agree that the people at Vecna are wonderful. The people here really care and are top notch. Unfortunately, so much of the rest of what is said here is easily shown to be completely false or such ... More

  6. 9 people found this helpful  

    Not as advertised

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

    I have been working at Vecna Technologies

    Pros

    The company is in Cambridge, so it's nice working somewhat in the city. People don't care much about their work so if you want to be able to work at a slow pace this place is great.

    Cons

    They have mislead employees about their financial state, the company just went through a massive layoff.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Provide more transparency about how the company will keep from sinking.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Vecna Technologies Response

    Feb 18, 2015Director, Talent Acquisition

    Nice back handed "pro" there. Very classy! People care and work hard and are incredibly talented here. They do amazing things to make the world a better place. They are leading the way in ... More

  7. 24 people found this helpful  

    Was a good Company at first.

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

    I worked at Vecna Technologies

    Pros

    They offer a Very flexible work schedule.

    Cons

    Never received any negative feedback and was laid off for lack of work.
    Was told you were getting a bonus and never received it.

    Negative Outlook

    Vecna Technologies Response

    Feb 6, 2015Director, Talent Acquisition

    We apologize that things didn't work out for you, and that there was a misunderstanding regarding a bonus. Here, if the company isn't profitable (only has happened a couple of times in company ... More

  8. 15 people found this helpful  

    Lacks integrity and leadership

    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Vecna Technologies

    Pros

    The company has lot of really smart, capable and fun people and I thoroughly enjoyed working with and getting to know the vast majority of my coworkers.

    Good health benefits.

    Cons

    LACK OF INTEGRITY
    The CTO (who is the cofounder and acting CEO) requires every new hire to write an essay on integrity. Ironically, the CTO/CEO himself fails to display any amount of integrity. For example, recently a meeting was called on a Friday so that executives could give a presentation about how great the company was doing. On the following Monday, a considerable percentage of the company was laid off or furloughed due to lack of sales and new contracts.

    Furthermore, over the past 6 months executives have vaguely alluded to exciting new opportunities that will soon be finalized. However, no such opportunities have come to fruition nor have any new contracts been signed. Even in the midst of the recent hardships, the CTO/CEO continues to preach about how great the company is doing without publicly recognizing the obvious challenges that lay ahead.

    LACK OF LEADERSHIP
    The company doesn’t have a CEO. Instead the CTO/Cofounder serves as the CEO but refuses to devote the necessary time or focus required of leading a mid sized company. He is a talented engineer but unfortunately a really bad businessman and leader. Even in the current state of instability the CTO/CEO seems equally concerned with personally delivering ergonomic mice to employees, as he does with increasing revenue and growing market share. Many employees have lost faith in his leadership abilities. He talks a lot about transforming health care but is unable to articulate a strategy that will allow the company to do so.

    Inexplicably, even with the recent round of layoffs and the the worsening financial state of the company, the executive team has remained completely intact.

    COMPENSATION
    The CTO/CEO preaches that although salaries are lower than competitors, the health insurance package makes up for it. With the majority of the company being single, healthy people in their mid-20’s, the healthcare value does not make up for the salary gap. Profit sharing helped but that is on hold for at least the next year.

    INFRASTRUCTURE
    The company does not provide its non-engineering employees the tools to do their jobs efficiently or effectively. Every new hire gets a desktop running Linux. The CTO/CEO strongly prefers that everyone - finance, design, project management, legal, business analysts - use open source software. If you are willing to jump through enough hoops it is possible to get Mac/Windows machine but it takes a lot of effort and time.

    Furthermore, a lot of the office tools are frustrating to use. The monitors in the conference rooms frequently do not work, and the open source screen sharing software used for client presentations is buggy. All of this makes client interactions difficult at best. Time tracking and internal meeting invites must be made in the company’s self developed tool which is buggy, inefficient and universally hated.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Recognize the hardships that the company is facing, and articulate a strategy to overcome them to your employees.

    Appoint experienced advisers to help guide the company.

    Hire a CEO with experience and a concrete strategy.

    Remove obstacles for your employees instead of creating them.

    Stop defending the company’s shortcomings on sites like this and instead make the necessary changes that will make your employees effective, efficient and happy.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  9. 16 people found this helpful  

    Culture of incompetence.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Human Resources in Cambridge, MA
    Former Employee - Human Resources in Cambridge, MA

    I worked at Vecna Technologies full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    Location right off the red line.

    Cons

    Hiring unqualified people that make even the easiest task completely unbearable.
    Wasted two years of my life being brainwashed by the false positivity at Vecna only to realize I was being underpaid by about 75%.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    No one knows what they are doing from day to day. HR, Finance, Legal, the "top" executives, all walking around like chickens with their heads cut off. I give Vecna a max of 5 years to be sold or out of business. Competitors have an incredible leg up on Vecna from a management and technological standpoint and it's only a matter of time.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Vecna Technologies Response

    Feb 18, 2015Director, Talent Acquisition

    Since Vecna has no debt, and is a market leader in both healthcare and robotics, to of the highest growth industries, the long-term future for Vecna is bright. The technology and the people are top ... More

  10. 16 people found this helpful  

    Don't be fooled by the company-sponsored positive posts below. Vecna is in serious trouble.

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

    I have been working at Vecna Technologies full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Flexible schedule and 100% paid health

    Cons

    Poor management and low company morale. Those of us left after the recent layoffs have already started looking for employment elsewhere. There is no end in sight for this downward spiral.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    It isn't what you say, it's all about what you do. The constant e-mails and meetings about great things to come are getting old. None of the exciting things promised since last year have come to fruition and things continue to get worse. It has become almost impossible to do our jobs now that everything has been restricted. How do you expect us to continue to work effectively when I can't even get hours approved for my projects? Instead, I have to go through a checklist of justifications to perform work we've already been paid for and convince a contract manager who has no clue what we're doing that I really do need the hours to do my job. Frustrating doesn't even begin to explain to atmosphere here. The open door policy pertains only to positive feedback. If you have complaints or concerns, they fall on deaf ears or you become one of the casualties of the next round of layoffs. In addition, Deborah Theobald has nothing to do with Vecna anymore yet we continue to market the company at a small woman-owned business. Maybe she saw the writing on the wall when she walked out years ago.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Vecna Technologies Response

    Feb 18, 2015Director, Talent Acquisition

    This posting is probably by the same person as many of the other easily verifiably inaccurate postings. Please find another hobby and move on.

    Reader, don't put stock in anonymous reviews. A
    ... More

  11. 11 people found this helpful  

    Worst place on earth

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Project Manager in Cambridge, MA
    Former Employee - Project Manager in Cambridge, MA

    I worked at Vecna Technologies

    Pros

    Profit sharing pays out twice per year (if they have they decide they want to pay)

    Cons

    Creepy cult-like atmosphere. low pay. management ignores all feedback while insisting they are open to all feedback

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    start over. This company needs to be razed to the ground so they can start again anew.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Vecna Technologies Response

    Feb 18, 2015Director, Talent Acquisition

    Numerous mechanisms for feedback are available. Discussion with or responses to the person around the feedback generally happens within a business day. All this is logged in the company's quality ... More

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