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Thursday, Sep 29, 2022

Alteryx Culture Stays The Course Over Years

At Alteryx Inc. they throw parties—birthdays, company milestones, Halloween, and Christmas.

They’ll throw another this week with a big cake for the entire Irvine headquarters of nearly 250.

The occasion?

“Fourth year in a row we’ve made the Top 10 of Orange County’s Best Places to Work,” said Chad Bennett, the firm’s senior vice president of human resources.

The data analytics software maker extended its streak by leaping four spots to No. 5 in the large company category—ranking those with 250 or more U.S. employees—in the Business Journal’s latest survey (see special report, starts on page 17). The jump is another sign of growth for one of the biggest tech success stories in Orange County the past decade.

The list was compiled for the Business Journal by Harrisburg, Pa.-based Best Companies Group, an independent workplace researcher that managed the registration process, conducted surveys, evaluated data and selected companies for the list based on overall scores from queries of management and employees.

“It’s a cliché to say that we work hard and play hard, but we really do. We try to celebrate as much as we can,” Bennett said.

Worth Celebrating

Unless you eschew the business pages and new ecosystem with purpose, you know that Team Alteryx has a lot to celebrate these days.

Its sales have grown by more than 60% every year since 2014, fast and furious. Its data analytics products and the software-as-a-service platform is a must-have for even the largest Fortune 50 companies—to home in on the next best location for expansion, for instance.

In 2018, Alteryx eclipsed $250 million in sales, posted a gaudy 90% gross profit margin, and became bottom-line profitable.

Alteryx (NYSE: AYX) went public in March 2017 at $14 per share. Its shares have soared close to 800% since, trading at $104 midweek with a market value near $6.8 billion, moving co-founder and chief executive Dean Stoecker into the billionaire neighborhood.

No unicorn and no startup here. Stoecker—along with Chief Customer Officer Olivia Adams and longtime Chief Technology Officer Ned Harding—launched the company in 1997. Bennett says the “culture club” began then as well.

“I believe so. Having worked for Dean the last four years, I know that was always in the front of his mind … one of the reasons I came to work here. They’re focused on creating an environment that is challenging work, where folks can develop and do it in a fun way.”

That starts with the Park Place headquarters, a 40,000-square-foot campus along Michelson Drive in Irvine.

“It’s a very creative space, open environment, lots of laughs,” Bennett said. That space comes equipped with a 1962 Volkswagen bus with gas-caskets-turned-beer-taps. Those didn’t come standard.

It “encourages teamwork and the camaraderie we want to drive,” Bennett said.

Most Alteryx employees are under 45, and the company recognizes another modern business cliché: the paradigm shift toward employees, and work- life balance. Alteryx pays 100% of its associates’ healthcare. Not a dime needed for a slice of tax-deferred premiums or deductibles. Families are subsidized 70%. Paid parental leave extends to fathers for six weeks, which is to be taken at any time during a child’s first year.

“That policy’s been met with resounding favor,” Bennett said.

It’s compassionate and smart. Bennett said people can’t be expected to be engaged for you if there’s distraction at home.

Alteryx offers incentive programs for 98% of its employees and managers—ranging from stock options and bonuses, to spot awards and bonuses, gift cards, and wellness reimbursements. Run in a marathon, and the company will reimburse up to $300 for sneakers and other gear.

Its “Alteryx in the Classroom” program, like many successful ones, is mirrored by the founders’ own education initiative. Last August, Stoecker and his wife, Angie, endowed their private education foundation, i-Rise, with several million dollars. The goal is to help pay for the soaring cost of college for local high schoolers with science potential and financial need.

The company program provides free software to local professors, California State University-Fullerton and University of California-Irvine in particular. Some high schools also benefit from the largesse. “Of course, that works for us too,” Bennett said. “They get familiar with our product. But it also makes them more employable and gets them thinking about data early.”

What’s Ahead

The future looks even brighter for Alteryx.

Analysts see the company eclipsing $500 million in annual sales next year. At the firms’ sold-out, five-day Inspire 2019 conference in June, Stoecker told users and investors he’s eyeing $1 billion in sales once Alteryx builds out its platform to reach “citizen data scientists.”

In-house, the company plans to extend its incentive programs to 100% of associates by next year, while its “Alteryx in the Classroom” initiative is reaching down to some junior high schools, and the expanding international company just brought on its first legal intern from UCI.

“The company has been performing. Certainly, that helps reputationally,” Bennett said. People want to be part of a company that’s growing. The challenge is maintaining that culture—treat people with respect and dignity and keep providing opportunities.”

All Alteryx new hires—from Naperville, Ill. to Sydney—at some point in their first two years come to the Irvine headquarters for “boot camp.”

“It’s to learn the products and systems and meet their colleagues yes,” Bennett said, “but we also give them an opportunity to do some kind of volunteer work.”

It’s summertime, which means the culture of Alteryx shifts into overdrive: social events, organized hikes, and an upcoming Angels game where families will join—Team A takeover of the Big A.


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