I have to say, we’ve traveled to some pretty awesome places on the Vancouver Startup Tour so far:
The Panda Palace (Wishpond)
The Marbles Mansion (Advisor Websites)
The Gamer’s Den (Battlefy)
That Place With Delicious Treats (Foodee)
Super Dog’s Lair (Spark)
Ping-Pong Paradise (7Geese)
Hockey Haven (Kashoo)
That Really Well Designed Office (Trippeo)
The Fun Factory (Quietly)
But I think we just outdid ourselves - this latest tour is our biggest catch yet.
It will blow your minds right out of the water, folks.
I mean, their office is off the hook!
No more jokes.
Let’s just dive right in the deep end, shall we? Welcome to the PlentyOfFish office tour!
POF is one of the most successful startup stories that Vancouver can boast of, so much so that it’s become somewhat of a local legend.
Here’s how it goes:
In 2003, a young man named Markus Frind graduated from BCIT. He needed a job, so he decided to build a website in order to spruce up his CV. After two weeks, a simple dating website called plentyoffish.com went live.
The rest is history.
POF recently surpassed the 100-million user mark and was bought by Match.com earlier this summer - making it a record year for the company.
Needless to say, we were kind of excited for this tour.
Their digs are located on an upper floor of Vancouver’s Harbour Center, a building they’ve occupied since departing Frind’s apartment.
And you can tell they’ve made themselves at home.
Lovely couple-themed elevator doors, a swanky front desk, and (of course) a fish tank will tell you exactly where you are.
...Not to mention the awesome conference room, nicknamed ‘The Aquarium’.
It has a kick-ass view of the city, with a plethora of a lounge-style seating and tables from which to enjoy it.
The front stage is put to all kinds of use as well.
Small presentations and company-wide meetings are what you’d expect, but it can also play host to karaoke nights and team initiations.
The latter of which involves new hires standing up in front of the whole company to introduce themselves and tell a hilarious joke.
Five years ago, POF had less than 10 employees.
Then they absolutely exploded with almost another 60 hires between 2012-13.
Such a quick transition from a small team size to a large one can often result in some sort of corporate identity crisis: What type of work environment is it? What are the cultural pillars that hold it up? Who am I?
For the most part these questions answer themselves, but sometimes it can take direction from above to establish a unique, identifiable culture.
...Like, say, the construction of a spectacular lunch room!
It’s one of the main features of the office - and for good reason, too. The floor-to-ceiling windows offer a great view, while their fully-stocked snack + drink cupboards, fresh juice dispenser and breakfast cereal buffet is a welcomed sight as well.
They even threw a waffle breakfast there, which we narrowly missed.
The office has an open, circular design with each team occupying their own section of it.
They found this to be an effective way to harbour a cross-functional environment where collaboration is encouraged. On top of this, seating plans are reshuffled every 3 to 4 months in an effort to freshen things up.
They’ve worked hard to retain the same culture throughout their growth spurt.
This means lots of team building events: escape rooms, yoga classes, painting nights and their famous yearly retreat.
In past years, the location for this retreat was Whistler. The whole team would stay together at a single location and take part in some fun activities.
They even embarked on an Amazing Race style scavenger hunt that encompassed Whistler Village, with medals and bragging rights going to those who won.
This year, however, they changed it up and journeyed to the Okanagan for a weekend of wine tasting.
It’s not always easy to deal with change.
But it’s important to stay true to what made you so unique in the first place.
And nobody knows this better than PlentyOfFish, a company that seeks to change lives each and every day.
Thanks to Shannon, Kate and Jasmin for taking the time to show us around!
Startups like you make RESAAS proud to be one as well.