Cogo Labs Reviews

Updated Aug 2, 2020

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3.6
69%
Recommend to a Friend
51%
Approve of CEO
Cogo Labs CEO Rob Fisher
Rob Fisher
4 Ratings
Pros
Cons
  • "Design at Cogo could benefit from more organization(in 13 reviews)

  • "Cogo could also be a bit more upfront about their business model which is more advertising focused than is initially apparent(in 8 reviews)

More Pros and Cons
  1. Featured Review
    Helpful (6)

    "Lots of Oppportunities; Excellent Mentorship"

    5.0
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Cogo Labs full-time

    Pros

    Cogo Labs is, without a doubt, the greatest professional opportunity I have been afforded in my career. I feel lucky to work on such interesting business and technology challenges with such amazing people every day. The best thing about Cogo is every employee's ability to step up to the plate and deliver on projects with huge impact. Since we're staring dozens of companies concurrently, the organization is ripe with opportunity - all you have to do is choose an important problem and go after it. From big data to digital marketing to employee engagement, you define your own personal story for success in a rapidly-growing organization. The other best thing about Cogo is its people. From exec to entry-level, the people possess expertise, humility, empathy, and are a genuine pleasure to work with. Everyone is a leader at Cogo; the organization has instilled the value distributed ownership at all levels. Additionally, the high degree of accessibility of top-notch mentorship allows employees at all stages of their career to learn from world-class talent as well as one another. I cannot recommend it highly enough for those who have an appetite for creative problem solving and a positive attitude!

    Cons

    I'm not sure I could name any!

    Continue reading

    Cogo Labs Response

    July 1, 2020HR Generalist

    Hey there – thanks for your response, I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed your work during your time here at Cogo and were able to find success in growing your career! Cogo’s mission and values consistently attend to our employee’s career development and the development of new incubating companies and overall growth. We agree that a welcoming culture that celebrates diverse groups of people is incredibly important and we are taking active steps towards building and implementing programs to help drive belonging within the organization. That being said, we recognize there’s still a lot of work to be done and acknowledge we are far from perfect, especially when it comes to getting everything right in this work.

  2. Helpful (1)

    "Energy and Opportunity"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Cogo Labs full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Cogo Labs has a lot of energy and enthusiasm around building companies that keep things fresh and new every day. The company has a "start up" vibe that encompasses innovation and a strong culture that makes work less like "work" and is continually striving for and supporting its employees to help them advance within the company. It's truly a choose your own adventure type of company with many opportunities to learn new skills and grow your career.

    Cons

    A con of start up culture is that strategy can change quickly and it can sometimes feel like a lot of work went unnoticed when priorities change.

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  3. Helpful (1)

    "Email Marketing, not an incubator"

    2.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Analyst 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Cogo Labs full-time

    Pros

    - Good people and fun partying culture - Great place to learn quickly if you're just starting your career

    Cons

    - Not really a startup incubator, more like a bunch of email marketing teams doing the same thing differently - If you're not okay with email marketing, you will not mesh morally with the day-to-day operations

    Cogo Labs Response

    August 3, 2020HR Generalist

    Thank you for the feedback. While email remains an important component of our Performance Marketing Suite for Startups, and Customer Relationship Management and Customer Acquisition are critical for growing any business, we have also added Facebook, Display, and Native Advertising to our marketing technology stack since your tenure. Our origination model allows us to fund new incubating companies and generate best practices to help our early-stage ventures stay focused and accelerate their success. We have a portfolio of both current incubating companies and exited companies that are thriving off of this model (https://www.cogolabs.com/incubation) and our strategies have been further validated by partnerships with external incubators and institutional investors. We really appreciate your time with us and wish you the best in your next role!

  4. Helpful (4)

    "Great place to work if you fit in"

    4.0
    Former Employee - Senior Analyst in Cambridge, MA

    I worked at Cogo Labs full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Challenging problems that are fun to work with. Great place to start your career and learn a ton.

    Cons

    The culture is welcoming at first, but then the company tends to find groups like school. Company direction is unclear to the employees but advertised by recruiters as clear and promising.

  5. Helpful (5)

    "Good place to start, not to stay"

    3.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Data Analyst in Boston, MA
    Neutral Outlook

    I worked at Cogo Labs full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Smart, mostly nice people, quick ramp up to production coding, good snacks/benefits and the hours aren't crazy.

    Cons

    Most of the work is just 3rd-party marketing, so no real mission to the place. You'll quickly learn enough that you could work somewhere more interesting and for more money, so get your learning in and then start interviewing to work someplace else. In the meantime, enjoy the snacks!

    Cogo Labs Response

    June 29, 2020HR Generalist

    Hey – thanks for taking the time to share your experience at Cogo, I’m glad to hear that you were able to develop your skills and launch your career with us here! Cogo is devoted to our mission to be the absolute best place for early-career entrepreneurs and to provide them with the tools and resources necessary to launch their careers. This includes driving the expansion of our Learning and Development initiatives, compensation strategy, and project management to empower everyone to take big swings, harness ownership of their work, and create as much impact as possible. If you would like to discuss further, please don’t hesitate to reach out on LinkedIn!

  6. Helpful (8)

    "Good Place to Get Your Footing, Limited Growth Opportunities"

    3.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Analyst in Cambridge, MA
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Cogo Labs full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    - Great work-life balance. No pressure to bring work home. - Aspirational goals - Most entry-level employees are great - friendly, competent - Self-directed work allows you to choose what you want to specialize in. Good for people looking for very rapid growth out of college

    Cons

    - Shaky business model. The entire concept of funding startups relies on a steady stream of revenue from third party marketing revenue, which is very unstable. More than half the time is focused on maintaining that revenue, not focused on incubating startups. - Severely undermarket comp: HR has tried to address this by saying that they benchmark against independent third-parties. If these assessments were accurate, people wouldn't be getting such big pay bumps when they leave. - The business model clearly doesn't work. It relies on an inherently unstable source of revenue - Cogo almost entirely promotes from within (good), but since the main source of entry-level employees are college grads, you have people 1-2 years out of school trying to manage projects with no training (bad). - On that note, L&D was essentially cut out of the business. If the hiring model is based on hiring out of college, it is shortsighted to have such limited L&D - Constant re-orgs. By the time one re-org is complete, the next has already begun. This isn't "good re-org" where you are getting exposed to working with new people or business units. Rather, it is driven by a belief that the lack of success is due to something wrong with the structure of the organization, and not the underlying business.

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    Cogo Labs Response

    May 12, 2020HR Generalist

    Hey there, thanks for your response, I’m glad to hear that you had such a positive experience with your career growth and the incredibly talented people you were able to work with during your time at Cogo. Cogo is determined to be the absolute best place for early-career entrepreneurs and to provide them with the tools and resources necessary to launch their careers. The business model has been a proven success as we’ve created well over $1 billion in enterprise value across our launched portfolio companies including Everquote, CourseAdvisor, and Autotegrity to name a few. We remain highly invested in our L&D and recruiting initiatives consistent with the mindset to hire and develop the best. This includes competitive market-rate compensation, project management structured around individual ownership, impact-driven career development, and a supportive and transparent culture.

  7. Helpful (8)

    "Nice people, but lots of turmoil in structure and management"

    2.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Cogo Labs full-time

    Pros

    - Smart, friendly people - Flexible work environment - Interesting company mission of being a startup incubator

    Cons

    - We get further away from incubating startups as time goes on. In my time here we have lost more companies than we have started. - The business model is centered around email marketing. Since that is such a volatile business it needs a lot of maintenance and other projects are rarely prioritized. - This can be a great place to start your career and learn and advance quickly if you are an engineer or analyst. Unfortunately, the more unique your position is, the less opportunity there is for learning and growth. - Many new policies have been put in place and they have drastically decreased transparency across levels of management and teams. - Individual contributors are often promoted into managerial or product owner roles with little to no training. When they struggle with the added responsibility they are not assisted or held accountable.

    Cogo Labs Response

    May 1, 2020HR Generalist

    Hey there, thanks for taking the time to give us some feedback! While we’ve definitely made some big changes to our internal project management process, what we’ve seen is increased transparency through internally available, quarterly project docs and an increase in cross-team collaboration where folks are getting the chance to work on projects that they wouldn’t have been able to otherwise. If you would like to come to chat with either me, your manager, or a member of e-staff, please reach out and we’d be happy to discuss more!

  8. Helpful (4)

    "Great coworkers, arbitrary bureaucracy"

    2.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Cogo Labs full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Flexible hours Great coworkers Awesome work environment Potential to learn a lot in the first year

    Cons

    As Cogo attempts to grow past 200 employees, it seems to be losing sight of the actual employees in the process. Execs are focusing too much on structuring the company to be ready for 200+ employees, while the current employees are slipping through the cracks. Bureaucratic rules of a "large company" are cherry picked when it's convenient for management. Career development is put on hold while execs plan for large scale projects that we don't have adequate staff for because people are leaving because career development is being put on hold. Execs are stuck in this loop that they need to get out of.

    Continue reading

    Cogo Labs Response

    January 30, 2020Senior HR Business Partner

    Hey – thanks for taking the time to share what’s on your mind. When Cogo itself is in strong periods of growth, so are careers, and we’re willing to put in the hard work now to make sure the company keeps growing. These projects and processes will help us take bigger swings, capitalize on the opportunities in front of us, and have a huge impact. If you want to dive deeper into why we’re excited about this and why it works, then come grab any member of HR or EStaff. We all have open doors!

  9. Helpful (8)

    "Poor leadership, lots of instability"

    2.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Analyst 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I have been working at Cogo Labs full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    - Young, smart, kind coworkers - Snacks + casual environment, very stereotypical startup-y perks, lots of outings w/ alcohol - Reasonable workload - Good way to pick up experience if you're fresh out of school or new to the field

    Cons

    Many. Cogo severely suffers from a lack of leadership (particularly middle management), and the distance between its stated ambitions (incubating lots of companies, helping entrepreneurs grow) and the reality is massive. Because the company hires fresh out of college, there's a huge gap in competencies between a handful of executives at the top and the tactical teams actually running operations, which leads to things slipping through the gaps. The main way Cogo's tried to compensate for that is by re-organizing the company time and again, trying different project management principles and moving teams around. It's created enormous instability (I know people that have had 3 different bosses in the span of a year), changing the goals of a team constantly, and re-working projects into some new process but then only half-heartedly sticking to it before changing again. It doesn't work. Despite Cogo boasting development of early-stage entrepreneurs, there's been very little movement on that front in the time I've been here, and the only employees you see really developing their careers are a handful of ones closest to the CEO. Super-competent mid-level employees are generally stunted by bureaucracy - for a startup culture there's an extraordinary amount of work that gets bogged down in meetings and memos. Part of that comes from the fact that even little decisions have to go through the CEOs, and so those mid-level managers rarely get empowered to make decisions on their own and take responsibility, and are instead second-guessed or marginalized. In my experience, this whole cycle means that very few people actually develop meaningfully after their first year at Cogo, and so most people either tread water, happy to collect a paycheck, or leave.

    Continue reading

    Cogo Labs Response

    December 20, 2019Senior HR Business Partner

    Hey – Thanks for your candor here. We definitely have some big goals and have made some changes that will help us get there. From putting new processes in place to opening up hiring for more senior-level roles, we are working hard to build a stronger foundation that will scale as we grow. While we can change quickly to adapt to new ideas, we want to be clear that change doesn’t mean instability; we’re incredibly proud of where we are and will continue to test and iterate to find the right methods for us to reach our full growth potential. As for personal growth, we have some exciting things planned for 2020 for learning and development, reviews, and more opportunities which you can raise your own hand for. This will open up official paths to advocate for yourself which is really important since you know your work best. We’re excited about the changes we’re making, and we are working to distribute ownership as we evolve to empower everyone. We’re really excited for next year and beyond and can’t wait to build amazing companies together!

  10. Helpful (7)

    "Great Place to work! Flexible hours, empathetic coworkers, and great work- life balance"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Recruiting Coordinator in Cambridge, MA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Cogo Labs full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    The people that work for Cogo are some of the smartest and nicest people I have ever met! The company is growing very quickly and the mission is something that every employee can get behind. Internal mobility is a huge plus as well, there is always room to grow while staying within the Cogo Community. Cogo is one of the only tech incubators in Boston which makes working here an incredible opportunity.

    Cons

    Some inconsistencies on what flies with some people and not others.

Found 48 reviews