EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ 2014 Northern California Awards

Internet

nca_eoy_PeteFlintAWARD RECIPIENT
Pete Flint
CEO and founder
Trulia
www.trulia.com

Pete Flint embodies the definition of a modern Silicon Valley entrepreneur. In his college days, he witnessed the Internet grow from a novelty to mainstream use and saw that it could provide a meaningful solution to business problems. To him, there were endless possibilities to innovate existing business models.
After graduation, he worked at British travel company LastMinute.com and saw the type of workplace he wanted to create. Flint moved to the Bay Area to attend Stanford business school and discover the potential of Silicon Valley.
Based on his house hunting search, he developed an interactive research tool that provided relevant data and connected homebuyers with real estate professionals. He saw the potential in providing a service to consumers and creating a market for real estate professionals. In 2005, Flint and Sami Inkinen founded Trulia.
Flint marketed Trulia as a complement to the house-buying process and gained traction by building a consumer base and attracting real estate professionals for subscription revenue.
As CEO, Flint led Trulia through turbulent economic times to a successful initial public offering in 2013. Only six months after the IPO, Trulia acquired a public real estate software company to expand its technology and tools.
Trulia continues to innovate, as Flint realized early that users were gravitating toward mobile uses and developed a comprehensive visual app that was released in 2013. He also created an innovation week during which developers have free reign to work on any product that could add value to the company.
One of Flint’s corporate objectives for success is building a culture of IMPACT — innovative, make a difference, people matter, act with integrity, customer obsessed and trust. He frequently has lunch with new employees to get feedback, and has all-hands meetings to provide information about Trulia’s direction and to get input.


 

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Tim Chen
CEO
NerdWallet
www.nerdwallet.com

NerdWallet’s CEO Tim Chen launched the company at the height of the recession in 2009, realizing that more than ever consumers needed transparent support to make important financial decisions.
The idea for NerdWallet came to Chen after his sister asked for advice in choosing a credit card. Chen, who had been head of a large investment fund, was questioning his future in banking. After analyzing more than 400 credit cards, he built a database of financial information and the foundation for his startup.
The fundamental purpose of NerdWallet is to provide consumers with trusted and objective financial information, or “answers from that nerdy friend that you trust to always have the right answer.”
NerdWallet has pioneered an industry of objective comparative financial information and offers products that address many of life’s major financial decisions, including bank accounts, mortgages, education, shopping and health care. The importance of workplace culture was reflected in a company “reset” in 2013, when 20 percent of the team was let go because employees didn’t represent the values and people-focused philosophy. Chen considers the experience to have been the hardest of his career, but necessary because NerdWallet’s success is dependent on maintaining a culture focused on the success of its people.
Subsequently, in 2012, NerdWallet exposed a credit card scam that led to that company’s dissolution less than five months later.
Chen recruited a management team for NerdWallet by reaching out to successful business leaders via LinkedIn for advice. He didn’t just want to attract talent; he wanted people with the right personality fit. He personally meets with every job candidate before hiring decisions are made.
Chen knows every employee by name and participates in the company’s weekly boot camp classes. Employees are allowed freedom to innovate in an environment of collaboration and respect.


 

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Greg Schott
president and CEO
MuleSoft
www.mulesoft.com

A first-time CEO, Greg Schott joined MuleSoft in 2009 with a goal to turn the company into an undisputed leader in its category. Under his leadership, MuleSoft has become the world’s most widely used integration platform and serves one-third of the Fortune Global 500.
Prior to MuleSoft, Schott worked at other startup companies and was involved in all aspects of the business, including sales, marketing, engineering and finance. The first-time CEO has brought an entrepreneurial spirit to MuleSoft.
MuleSoft delivers the most widely used integration platform for connecting data, devices and applications in the cloud and on premise. Users have the opportunity to try MuleSoft products for free under an open source code option. There also is a subscription model with value-added features. Even with slightly competing offerings, the company has continued to grow.
Schott personally interviews each of MuleSoft’s employees and works closely with the talent team responsible for recruiting and hiring top professionals. Although the company has been behind on hiring targets, he feels it is important that MuleSoft not settle for less than the best. Schott wants to add the right people — “bringing smart people into a great industry.”
He is building a culture of people who want to manage their careers and, given space, motivate others. He believes in a company of peers, with minimal hierarchy and organizational charts. MuleSoft is a company of equals; no one has an office and everyone is free to innovate. Schott sits alongside employees, considering them intellectual peers.
Schott sees technology integration as being the biggest issue in information technology. With more than 150,000 developers worldwide using MuleSoft products, the company is poised for fast growth driven by an industry caught in transition from enterprise resource planning to software as a service and cloud with an ever-growing focus on mobile.