Ask chief executive Ray Grainger one key to software company Mavenlink’s success, and he’ll tell you it’s having transparent communication about everything, including the wins, the losses and key financial measures.
“Everybody’s in the know,” he says. “When people are in the know about everything that’s going on in the company, they feel that they’ve got some degree of control over their lives, and their work and their opportunities within the company.”
“We share everything, key deals, things that we plan on winning if we’ve won, if we’ve lost, key financial performance measures of the business,” says Grainger, who is also the founder of the Irvine-based company.
Sharing data effectively is also what has helped Mavenlink attract private equity backers as of last year, as well as more than 3,000 customers.
Mavenlink’s cloud-based software helps professional services organizations and other companies to streamline workflow. It allows services businesses and teams to improve their performance by tracking time and expenses, managing finances, tracking projects, and communicating with one another.
Grainger says the headquarters of the company has about 180 employees while the global headcount is about 425,
Irvine-based Mavenlink ranks No. 11 on this year’s Orange County Business Journal list of Best Places to Work in Orange County, in the large employer category.
Virtually everyone at Mavenlink is working remotely now due to the pandemic, making communication all the more essential.
“Now instead of having seven offices we have 400,” said Grainger, who won a Business Journal Innovator of the Year award in September 2019.
Mavenlink also has offices in San Francisco, Salt Lake City, Boston, London, Melbourne in Australia and Cebu in the Philippines.
Grainger declines to provide revenue figures, but he says “We’re still going to grow quite healthy during this time. It will be somewhat less than we expected but it will still be healthy growth.”
“We expect that next year we will get back to super-high growth.”
Private equity-backed Mavenlink has raised a total of $111.5 million in funding to date with the latest funding round taking place in April 2019. One of those early backers, and now Mavenlink’s largest institutional investor, is Newport Beach-based Carrick Capital Partners, which has been invested in Mavenlink since 2013.
“Most of our investment has come from Orange County. Probably north of $60 million to $70 million of our investments have come from Orange County investors,” according to Grainger.
“We’re a fast-growing company,” Grainger says, adding there is a “genuine opportunity for career advancement and to build skills.” As he sees it, opportunity is a key motivator while emphasizing the company has not had any pandemic layoffs.
Grainger said the company is considering adding matching contributions to its current 401(k) plan, adding “we do offer all kinds of other benefits.”
“The battleground is out in the marketplace,” says Grainger, while employees remain courteous and collaborative within the company.
He acknowledges it is difficult to coordinate with people working remotely so transparency is important with a “very strong leadership team” that puts a “focus on people, their health, their well-being.”
The company’s provided a stipend to employees to use for personal workout equipment, and it has changed its PTO policy so that workers can take extended time off to care for family members during the pandemic.
Every Wednesday, there is a companywide-Zoom call while Grainger sends out a daily email to the far-flung staff.
Grainger says millennials have “high expectations” about what company can do for them. That includes issues of “their financial outcome,” ethics, morals and social responsibility.
“We have to recognize that there is a distinction in expectations in this so-called multi-generational workforce.”
The company is planning to open up their offices again in January, according to the CEO.
“We hope that that sticks, but if not, the business will be fine,” he says. “We’re in no rush to go back.”