The 2019 Emergence Rising Award: Josh Reeves, Gusto
By Jason Green
This year, we’re proud to present Josh Reeves, Founder & CEO of Gusto with the Emergence Rising Award.
From our very first meeting, we knew that Josh had a big vision and the dedication, drive, and conviction to make it happen. Today, less than 4 years later, Gusto is hitting major strides and has grown more than 200x, now with more than 1,000 employees and over 100,000 customers. With the $200 million latest round of financing, Josh has the resources and his sights set on fulfilling that big vision.
One of the memories of Josh that stands out to me was back in 2013 when he and I had just met. We were on a group hike and the two of us became so engrossed in conversation that we got ahead of the pack and missed the turnoff. Much to our dismay, we had no idea where we were anymore as the sun was starting to set. Hours later our trail guide finally tracked us down, but, in a 1989 Mazda Miata with seats piled high with junk. Anxious to get home, we climbed on top of the trunk and hung on to each other for dear life as our guide sped back through the forest. It was in retrospect a fitting metaphor for the trust and commitment that is required between early investors and the most ambitious entrepreneurs. Laughing together as we were clutching one another and white-knuckling the old Miata, I realized that Josh was someone I wanted to take that leap of faith with.
In getting to be a part of the Gusto journey, we’ve seen three core values play out over and over again across all areas of the business, and we believe they’ve been critical to shaping Gusto to be the industry-leading disruptor it is today.
- Obsessed with Customer Success: Josh set out to build a company with the vision to help workers at small businesses build a better life. He wanted to alleviate the cumbersome processes across payroll and HR so they could focus their time and energy on growing their business. Josh knows the importance of building a “delighted” customer base and his commitment knows no bounds. Once, he even drove across the country in a van to meet new customers. Today, as proud investors, we get to boast that Gusto maintains a Net Promoter Score of more than 70+ and counting.
- Culture and Team Building: Josh built Gusto with intention from the inside out, and he has not been shy to talk about his approach to culture and team building. He believes in holding on to traditions as a way to infuse an early-stage company with the cultural foundations and practices that will scale. This can be seen in their “No Shoes” policy and what they refer to as the “Watermelon Interview.” Furthermore, Josh’s thoughtful approach has allowed him to maintain an incredible relationship with the founding team and attract top-tier talent.
- Aim Really High: From the first time we met, Josh had a strong drive to help millions of people. He approached each step along the way with what was needed to make the next leap, always keeping his eye on the goal but focusing on execution first.
It has been remarkable to watch what Josh and team have accomplished in the last six years, and are incredibly excited to support them as they continue their journey - we know even BIGGER things are in store!
Emergence Company of the Year: Zoom
By Santi Subotovsky
What an incredible year for Zoom! Zoom customers, Zoom employees, Zoom partners and the entire Zoom community celebrated an exceptional year. In April Zoom debuted on the public market and by only their third day, CNBC reported that they had become the most valuable of all the tech companies to go public this year with a $17.7B market cap.
Flash forward to December and the market cap has hit $18.8B. While this financial data means huge success, more importantly Zoom has also had success in many other ways.
When we first met Eric, Zoom was not an obvious success story. It was a small startup that ran demos on a jerry-rigged camera on top of cardboard and a mini-fridge. However, Eric had a vision and together with the Zoom team they were meticulous about executing it the right way, without taking shortcuts to optimize short term wins in detriment of long term happiness. Eric also knew building a winning team wasn’t about credentials and brands, but about bringing in motivated individuals with diverse backgrounds who could rapidly build a foundation of trust. He never looked for the typical over-experienced team but those who shared his passion for delivering happiness. (Read more about how Eric built Zoom in “Unconventional wisdom from an Unconventional CEO.”)
Eric chose the road less taken and while it was not an overnight success he has, since our partnership, been consistently voted as the best place to work, highest-rated CEO, and the #1 workplace with the happiest employees. Because of his dedication, his commitment to his team and his passion for his customers, Eric found success the old fashioned way: focus on delivering happiness, obsession with every Zoom constituent and a lot of hard work!
We couldn't be happier and honored to recognize and congratulate Zoom and Eric Yuan with the Emergence Company of the Year Award. Eric and Zoom embody the Emergence Core Values:
- He focuses to drive conviction
- He strives to be your most important partner
- He wins big in the long run
Congratulations Eric! We could not be more proud of all that you and your team have achieved this year and we are extremely excited for what the next decade holds!
Thank you to Josh, Eric, their teams, customers and everyone in their community who has supported them along the way. We know our success is a result of your success.
Congratulations and we cannot wait for the many years to come!
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