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SmartNews Reviews

Updated Jan 11, 2022

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Found 52 of over 60 reviews

4.1
87%
Recommend to a Friend
79%
Approve of CEO
SmartNews CEO and Co Founder Ken Suzuki
Ken Suzuki
37 Ratings
Pros
  • "good renumeration package in Japan, with lots of great benefits(in 10 reviews)

  • "Trips to HQ in Tokyo for onboarding (pre-COVID)(in 9 reviews)

  • Cons
  • "Needed to work late or have meetings during the evenings with Japan team members(in 9 reviews)

  • "need to overcome timezone difference sometimes(in 6 reviews)

  • More Pros and Cons
    Pros & Cons are excerpts from user reviews. They are not authored by Glassdoor.

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    1. 5.0
      Current Employee

      Company has a noble mission

      Dec 9, 2021 - Senior Product Designer in San Francisco, CA
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Lots of room to innovate.

      Cons

      Ever changing business environment. Pretty normal for a startup.

      Be the first to find this review helpful

      SmartNews Response

      People Operations Team

      We are proud to be continue to push innovation in the news sphere. We recognize that the work environment is very dynamic and high energy, though that is a common characteristic to startup companies. We are thankful for your feedback and will continue to grow as a team.

    2. 1.0
      Current Employee, more than 3 years

      Stay Away: Mental Health Issues, Decision Paralysis, and Old Style

      Jul 9, 2021 - Senior Manager in New York, NY
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      - Good cash compensation - Strong revenue, pro-covid business - Too big to not IPO as a Japanese company

      Cons

      -I have seen multiple people go through mental breakdown at the company, management doesn't care, no investment in career growth, managers are themselves under high pressure - they have no time to manage a team, neither do they know how to manage one. As a pre-ipo company this is unacceptable. -Leadership is trying to buy talent, they pour money from Japan to recruit in US, but senior engineers leave in a few months due to poor work culture. - Management has their "folks" embedded everywhere which gather and pass on info to them. This is how they know what is happening sitting in JP. -Reactive culture- Slow to respond, not interested, aloof, "I know it better than you" type of culture

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      13 people found this review helpful

      SmartNews Response

      People Operations Team

      Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback with us. We are deeply sorry that your experience at SmartNews has been anything less than exceptional. We are constantly reflecting and actively working on ways to improve. When it comes to the mental well-being of our employees, we take this issue very seriously and are working hard to alleviate these stresses by emphasizing a culture of communication within the company. If you would like to share additional constructive feedback or comments, feel free to email us at feedback_hr@smartnews.com.

    3. 5.0
      Current Employee, more than 1 year

      Great Culture & Amazing Career Growth Opportunities

      Oct 5, 2020 - Recruiter in San Francisco, CA
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      - Great blend of small company and startup culture. While there are some dedicated processes in place and approval from HQ is needed on certain things, there is a lot of opportunity to pick up passion projects as you see fit. In my experience, there is a lot of freedom in this stage to take ownership as you see fit - The people at SmartNews are incredibly friendly and encouraging, no matter your experience level - The ability to progress in your career is incredible here; just within a year I had the opportunity to be promoted and gained so much more hands-on experience than ever at my previous companies. There is no set career path, so there is lots of flexibility to move into different roles/divisions - AMAZING benefits - Trips to HQ in Tokyo for onboarding (pre-COVID)

      Cons

      - Since we are HQ'ed in Japan, there is some required communication and meetings later in the evenings. It is not too much of a deal breaker, but can be frustrating when you have to wait on Tokyo for decisions

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      1 person found this review helpful

      SmartNews Response

      People Operations Team

      Thank you for sharing your feedback-- we appreciate your time. We are pleased to hear about your experience with your projects, benefits, and our overall work culture! We are implementing initiatives to better communicate and sync with our JP counterparts, as we understand it can be stressful. If you have any additional feedback, please email us at feedback_hr@smartnews.com.

    4. 4.0
      Current Employee, more than 1 year

      News Company with a Vision

      Aug 17, 2021 - Lead Data Scientist in San Francisco, CA
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      - Good Vision - Good Marketing Analytics Team - Good Growth in User Acquisition Metrics - Great Hackathon Program - Good initiatives Planned for 2021-2022

      Cons

      - Product Needs Revamp to Adjust to US Users - Long term roadmap unclear, which sometimes can cause misalignment

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      1 person found this review helpful

      SmartNews Response

      People Operations Team

      Thank you for taking the time to write this feedback. We are glad to hear that we have a strong vision, initiative, and marketing analytics team. We hope to have more people join our hackathons in the future. Our product development team is constantly curating new ideas and tweaks to the US version of our product and our hiring team is working to expand the group of talent working on improving our product. SmartNews is currently developing initiatives that will flow into our long-term plan for expansion. We encourage any of our employees to communicate and ask questions within and between teams to maintain headstrong focus on our long-term goals. We appreciate your comments. If you have any additional feedback, please feel free to contact feedback_hr@smartnews.com.

    5. 1.0
      Current Employee, more than 3 years

      Used to be a good startup but now full of bureaucracy and third-rater

      Jul 22, 2021 - Senior Software Engineer in San Francisco, CA
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      - Most people are nice. Some of them are really top talents. - Good office in San Francisco and Tokyo

      Cons

      - Business stopped growing since mid 2020 - Leaderships are ridiculous and incapable - Only very few people care their product - High communication cost and extremely hard to ship things - Timezone issue: have to stay late night or wake early morning to meet with people from other offices and it happens everyday

      10 people found this review helpful

      SmartNews Response

      People Operations Team

      Thank you for sharing your feedback with us. We appreciate your recognition of our quality talent and kind employees. Our hiring team works hard to recruiting that align with our company mission and we take pride in maintaining an office environment that our employees feel comfortable in. Our HR team is working on developing training programs and effective feedback loops for leaders within our company. We are actively working on creating a system that accommodates for individuals in different time zones effectively to make the workplace better for all our teams. We appreciate your time in bringing our attention to these shortcomings. Please let us know if you have any additional feedback at feedback_hr@smartnews.com.

    6. 5.0
      Current Employee, more than 3 years

      Great JP/US Company for Tech+News with Potential For More

      Jun 25, 2020 - Manager in San Francisco, CA
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      - Great place to be if you're interested in media/content industry + tech / mobile apps. Empowered to run projects that have a significant impact on product. - Plenty of nice quality of life perks (free lunch+gym, housing assistance, etc). Very flexible work hours. - Very friendly co-workers, passionate about product, good level of discourse/engagement - Great support system / flexibility towards improving your skills/career paths. Have seen coworkers be given the freedom to move across teams after being given resources to improve skills + mentorship - Freedom to travel across offices (Tokyo / NYC/ SF / etc), cross-cultural learning

      Cons

      - As with most fast growing start-ups, organizational growing pains with project/resource prioritization. Great opportunity to make your impact but you'll need to push for it vs being given a defined role like at a larger more established company. - JP/US timezone + cultural gaps. If working on JP+US initiatives you'll most likely be dealing with working/meeting in both time zones. - If you're a self-starter who can thrive in more loosely organized + can handle cross-cultural gaps (JP vs US), you'll be okay. Can feel limiting sometimes when waiting on JP decision makers / lack of strong direction top down.

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      1 person found this review helpful

      SmartNews Response

      People Operations Team

      Thank you for highlighting some of our benefits and perks! SmartNews is a global company and our team works tirelessly in making sure we provide the best for our SmartNews employees working hard across the globe as they continue to grow within their careers and skill sets. As SmartNews tries to continuously improve, we want to thank you for sharing your advice to management and we encourage you to share your feedback with your managers. We’re also touched to hear of the connections you’ve made with your fellow SmartNews coworkers during your time here and we want to thank you for your contribution to the company for the last 4 years. Keep up the good work and we hope you will continue to share more in the future. We invite you to email us at feedback_hr@smartnews.com if you would like to share any other feedback or input!

    7. 4.0
      Current Employee, more than 3 years

      Kind people and interesting work

      Sep 22, 2020 - Senior Manager in San Francisco, CA
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      - Lots of agency in driving team & individual OKRs, keeping every quarter interesting - For those who like to own their growth and development, you can really influence how you grow professionally (no set career pathing) - Little to no "work drama" - State of US news makes our work particularly interesting as we try to help publishers thrive and help readers have access to a well-rounded array of news and information - Regular trips to Japan (usually at least 2x a year in non-COVID times) - Welcoming environment for new ideas and suggestions

      Cons

      - No set career pathing means that if you're more junior in your career, or not interested in taking the lead on your own development, this can be feel ambiguous - Depending on your function, there can be several regular meetings with the Japan team in the evening. Particularly challenging to manage the time difference if you are based on the east coast. - As the team grows, more processes are being introduced. This adds a lot of efficiency and clarity, but keeping up with the changes can be challenging.

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      1 person found this review helpful

      SmartNews Response

      People Operations Team

      We appreciate your feedback! Thank you for taking the time to write your comments. We are pleased to hear about your experience with our office environment and travel benefits. We are continuously improving ways to better sync with our JP counterparts and to streamline our processes to lessen any stress or frustrations. If you have any suggestions or other feedback, please email us at feedback_hr@smartnews.com.

    8. 5.0
      Current Employee, less than 1 year

      Great company, mission, people and perks

      Sep 23, 2020 - Product Manager in San Francisco, CA
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Genuinely nice and smart people passionate about the product and deeply care about the company's success. Company strives to be the best it can be in terms of supporting it's employees and creating an enjoyable work environment. Strong thought leaders and division heads to learn from. Extremely transparent (much more like Google than a typical Japanese company). Second to none perks (even compared to most public companies in the Bay area) - management believes that it's important to create best working environment for best people.

      Cons

      Work life balance and evening (usually optional) meetings with teams in Asia. People are very passionate about the products/projects they work on, so it's actually hard to find people complain about WLB.

      Continue reading
      1 person found this review helpful

      SmartNews Response

      People Operations Team

      Thank you for your comments! We are extremely pleased to hear about your satisfaction with our company culture and environment and that you are enjoying our benefits. We are continuously looking for ways to better our work/life balance to accommodate for the timezone difference. If you have any suggestions or feedback, please email us at feedback_hr@smartnews.com

    9. 4.0
      Current Employee, more than 1 year

      Fast-growing company with passionate and smart employees

      Oct 15, 2020 - Media Business Development 
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      -Growingly rapidly in the US -Majority of employees are very passionate about news and our mission of providing quality information to all -Still small enough that you can get involved in a variety of projects that interest you -Very welcoming and accepting culture ... employees are encouraged to share their ideas and opinions -Generous travel (pre-COVID) to other offices including the Tokyo HQ

      Cons

      -Direction of the company can be unclear at times due to quick growth & lots of new hires -Some things are still very rooted in Japanese work culture vs. the US -Can sometimes feel to goals-oriented in terms of writing out and scoring goals vs. having the time to work on them -Often feel we move away too quickly from new features and ideas

      Continue reading
      3 people found this review helpful

      SmartNews Response

      People Operations Team

      Thank you for taking the time to write your review! We are happy to hear about your enjoyment with our company culture, travel benefits, and with fellow employees. We are continuously improving our processes to lessen any confusion or stress due to our fast-growing company. Additionally, we strive to abridge Japanese and US work cultures to promote cross-cultural learning within SmartNews. We always promote creative thinking and new ideas to our products and will work to develop additional time and focus for novel thinking and features. Thank you for your feedback! Please email us at feedback_hr@smartnews.com if you have any additional input.

    10. 5.0
      Current Employee, less than 1 year

      Unique Startup Culture

      Jun 3, 2020 - Software Engineer in San Francisco, CA
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      1. This is a Japanese Unicorn company with Silicon-Valley startup culture. Management is relatively flat and work-life balance is great. 2. I get to know a lot of interesting people from China, Japan and US. I learned a lot from different cultures. 3. Company's goal is exciting. We have a clear picture of how we grow in US market and what to do next. 4. We have top-tier employee benefits. Fully-covered insurances, free lunches, and decent amount of paid time-offs. 5. As an engineering, I can see a lot of opportunities of career growth. Projects are challenging and we love to adopt new technologies.

      Cons

      1. Sometimes cross-country communication is not efficient. Discussions and meetings might happen in the evenings in US time. 2. In US we prioritize product features over infrastructures. This has introduced some tech debt. Good thing is we are gradually cleaning them up and trying to prevent this in the future.

      Continue reading
      1 person found this review helpful

      SmartNews Response

      People Operations Team

      Thank you for taking the time to share this feedback. We are glad to hear that the company is exciting and that the work-life balance works for our employees. We will continue to push out more expansive support and benefits for our employees while hiring diverse talent that promote cross-cultural learning. Though cross-country communication is difficult due to differences in timezones, we are and will continue to discuss strategies to alleviate some of this pain. As mentioned, we will continue to implement methods that keep debt in check and prevent excessive liabilities. If we you like to provide any further feedback, please email feedback_hr@smartnews.com.

    Viewing 1 - 10 of 52 Reviews

    SmartNews Reviews FAQs

    SmartNews has an overall rating of 4.1 out of 5, based on over 60 reviews left anonymously by employees. 87% of employees would recommend working at SmartNews to a friend and 75% have a positive outlook for the business. This rating has decreased by -9% over the last 12 months.

    According to anonymously submitted Glassdoor reviews, SmartNews employees rate their compensation and benefits as 4.4 out of 5. Find out more about salaries and benefits at SmartNews. This rating has decreased by -2% over the last 12 months.

    87% of SmartNews employees would recommend working there to a friend based on Glassdoor reviews. Employees also rated SmartNews 3.9 out of 5 for work life balance, 4.3 for culture and values and 3.9 for career opportunities.

    According to reviews on Glassdoor, employees commonly mention the pros of working at SmartNews to be management, benefits, career development and the cons to be work life balance, senior leadership.

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