One year on from the opening of our New York office, things are looking quite different at our rooftop HQ on Fifth Avenue. Managing Director, Emil Dyrvig, has been there from the very start. From scouting out our office space, filling it with a team of exceptional talent and helping shape this next chapter of our Templafy story.
Here Emil shares what’s gone on this past year. He discusses the fast growth of the business, what it’s like to work for the New York team and his plans for 2020.
After Copenhagen, New York had always been our next big move. We knew our product would result in high ROI for any enterprise that was document heavy. Among other benefits, it helps cutting document creation time by up to 50%. So we took our product to New York where some of the largest US corporations are based and opened up some exciting opportunities for Templafy.
A year in and things are going even better than anticipated. Our headcount has grown from two people to over thirty employees. We’ve onboarded some of the world’s biggest brands and soared past our original sales targets. And we have outgrown our office twice within a year.
But to rewind to the start, our US story began a few months before Jesper (our CEO), and I got the keys to the New York office in October 2018.
Starting with culture
As with everything we do at Templafy, the first stage of the move was rooted in culture. Joining the team in July, I spent a couple of months in the Copenhagen office, getting to know everybody there and immersing myself in the company culture.
This was incredibly important. One of our key growth strategies is to ensure we have a common and inclusive culture across all Templafy offices. We now have offices in Berlin and Eindhoven too. If we had opened in New York without having a real understanding of the Copenhagen company culture and how they worked - then we wouldn’t have succeeded in that mission.
Those first months were extremely formative. Templafy is a value-led and customer-centric business. I was aware from early on that the company is centered around team efforts. Personal development is a huge focus; however, the business operates as a collective rather than on individual merit. When we succeed, we win as a team. When we lose, we share that responsibility equally and grow from it together.
This value was at the forefront of the recruitment drive when Jesper and I got to New York in October. We were looking to recruit team players who were as engaged in their role as they were part of a supportive, collaborative, and fun team. There was no place for those who worked in silos. We wanted people who could see the bigger picture.
Aside from being the right cultural fit, our team was built using an unconventional approach for the software industry. Our hiring process looked at individual skills rather than specific industry experience. We are of the mindset that if we hire curious people with the right talent, drive, then learning about our sales processes, product and ecosystem is the easy part.
As a result of this, alongside five of our Copenhagen colleagues who joined us in October, our US team has exceptionally varied backgrounds. You’ve got individuals making software sales who come from a legal career. Account managers who were previously in recruitment. Business development execs who we’ve taken on in their first professional role. Diversity goes beyond career backgrounds of course, and we’re a truly international team reflective of the Copenhagen office which has around 40 different nationalities.
Despite currently scaling at high speed (tripling our headcount over the next 12 months), we never compromise our internal culture. We are investing all we can to find the right people to help us create a thriving, lively, and inclusive environment that makes the working week enjoyable.
Creating a Danish-American hybrid model
While Templafy’s culture has certainly been at the center of our New York operation, we didn’t come all the way to America to impose a one-way Danish corporate culture on our US employees and clients. We believe local influences and ways of working are just as important as those we use in our Copenhagen office, which is also a truly international workplace. It’s all about finding the correct balance - taking the best of both American and Danish work cultures and creating our own local hybrid.
If you stepped into our office today, you’d see a team that has fully embraced American corporate values. Our team brings tenacity, drive, hard work, ambition, and - being New York - fast pace. They’re also somewhat connoisseurs of the New York food scene, as every day we order in lunch for employees. With our team’s wellbeing in mind, these are always healthy options. We encourage people to eat together for a more friendly lunch, which is typical in Danish workplaces.
On top of this, you’ll find a mix of benefits that stem from Danish beliefs around corporate culture. In Scandinavia, access to universal healthcare is something we value greatly, so we provide our US employees and their families with the best health insurance on the market. If their colleagues in Copenhagen don’t need to worry about health cover, neither should the team in New York.
The same goes for vacation time. As is common in Denmark, we don't give our employees a definitive amount of holiday days. When we hire people, I tell them I expect them to take a minimum of five weeks off a year. Like The Economist, we're firm believers that "a vacation gives workers a chance to recharge their mental batteries" and that taking time off is as beneficial to a company as it is for those who work for it.
This applies to flexible and remote working too. We have 100% trust in the people that work with us and their ability to manage their own workload and time, so it’s all about trusting rather than policing them. We’ve found this creates happier employees and happier employees produce more. If everybody's happy and excited about going to work every day, then they're going to be a lot more productive than if they dread the day ahead.
I’m really proud of the unique culture the team has created in our New York office. What’s been amazing to see is how it’s filtered back to our Danish, German and Dutch locations. This is partly intentional. We actively take learnings from each of our local office cultures and mix them into a constantly evolving Templafy offering. But it’s also organic. Working for Templafy opens up opportunities to travel between offices and apply for new positions in different countries, so these global opportunities end up creating both a fluid workforce and culture.
New York State of Mind
As proud as we are of our team here, we’re just as proud of the Templafy product itself. We soon found out that it was to be received extremely well over here in the States. Catering for a universal need, we’ve onboarded customers across diverse industry sectors - including professional services, retail, manufacturing, mining and agriculture. The past year has also seen us develop new partnerships with the world’s largest banks, biggest pharmaceutical companies, global airline organizations, leading US hospitals and the Big Four.
We’re working with these enterprises on a big scale too, with large scale deployments involving hundreds of thousands of their employees using our solutions daily. They are contributing to the 1.5 million Templafy users worldwide. This new client base speaks to the huge opportunities that we’ve had since opening an office here in the US.
Our New York office, with its rooftop view of the Empire State building, has provided us with a cool space to run events, network and meet local groups that share our brand values. Recently we teamed up Femstreet - a news site for women in tech and venture capital to host an event that celebrated women within the software industry. We know that women within software and software sales are not the most represented group. For us, it means we can literally provide a platform for a more inclusive industry and help encourage an increasingly diverse pool of talent.
Saying this, we’re already on the hunt for a new rooftop. Having exceeded our targets and with our team set to triple in size by this time next year, we’ve already outgrown our office space. So in 2020, you'll likely find a much larger US team working in a new, bigger office. And we'll be hosting an ever-growing, diverse group of clients in what we hope is an even more impressive HQ.
You can follow Emil and his team’s Templafy journey, as well as our colleagues in Copenhagen, Berlin and Eindhoven on our LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter accounts.
Interested in joining our team? Visit our careers page to see our open opportunities.