There’s nothing quite like working in the San Francisco Bay Area. Innovation is happening all around us—and as consultants, we get to see it in person every day working with our clients. Tomorrow’s must-have apps are on the drawing board, some awe-inspiring ecommerce service is about to go live, and life-saving devices are going through their approval paces all the time.

Dig deeper and you’ll see innovation on many fronts beyond the products. These businesses are also disrupting the norms of the traditional workplace, adopting different definitions of what “work” looks like and creating notable cultures.

We saw it play out during the recent NewCo Bay Area festival, a multi-day distributed conference where we got to visit some of the most innovative and meaningful businesses in the Bay Area to see and hear what makes them tick. The five companies below have created engaged workforces and cohesive cultures.


Adobe’s marketing and document solutions have enabled creativity for countless companies.

During a panel discussion at Adobe’s San Jose HQ, we heard a range of viewpoints on “the future of work,” with speakers from several organizations, including Adobe, General Motors Advanced Technology and even the mayor of San Jose.

The talk brought up a newer challenge for any team tasked with attracting and retaining in-demand talent. Today’s job candidates are not prioritizing money or profitable businesses—they are seeking meaning in their work (a common theme of NewCo companies). Passion vs. paycheck is a constant query for those on the job hunt.

Plum Organics

Acquired by Campbell Soup Co. in 2013, this 10-year-old company makes nutritious organic snacks and meals for babies and toddlers.

We got a private tour of Plum Organics’ newly remodeled Emeryville office space. It aims to be a healthy, happy workplace that entices employees to want to spend their time there—not just because they’re expected to show up every day.

While some companies tiptoe around the concept of a distinct culture, in reality they are focused on actually having one (sounds familiar to us!). Plum has a collective vision of who they want to be and how they want working there to feel. To pull it off, they encourage “shout-outs” of praise across the company that can be made by anyone (not just management) and an empowered workforce that manages their own time. They also follow four core value: BYOS (bring your own self); lead with heart; fight the good fight; and use business as a force for good

As longtime followers of RoseRyan’s core values, we admire Plum Organics’ dedication to nurturing and developing their culture.

Foundation Capital

This venture capital firm has supported the fast growth of companies like Netflix, MobileIron, ShorTel and others in the fintech, marketing technology and enterprise tech spaces.

In the firm’s San Francisco office, general partner Steve Vassalo told us why he was specifically hired for his design background. We think this is an interesting development in the tech industry. Their firm foresees an uptick in the number of designer-founded startups, and predicts their unique experience will lead to better user experiences all around. Consumers will see the effects of this trend as the Internet of Things continues to take off in the many appliances we use.

Like other firms that are transforming the concept of culture, this VC firm believes a focus on love and trust in the organization enables growth—rather than solely focusing on growth itself.


A creative interactive design agency turns static physical spaces into dynamic interactive environments.

As Darren David, CEO of this San Francisco firm told us, people are seeking experiences more than attaining things. That’s why there’s a heightened interest in virtual reality. However, the VR industry has mostly focused on creating a silo experience that shuts out users from reality and anyone in real life while they wear those nifty headsets.

Stimulant wants to create alternate realities that can be experienced together, therefore bringing people together. How do environments encourage collaboration? Stimulant is asking this question as companies benefit from figuring out how to drive more face-to-face interactions between their workers.


Providing work environments where remote workforces can go for a change of pace, meetups and a collaborative atmosphere.

We checked out WeWork Transbay, seven floors of coworking space and amazing views of downtown, the Bay and lots and lots of sunlight. The open floor plans, glass office, community area and weekly social events foster collaboration among coworkers and people working from entirely different companies. Imagine the chance meetings and creativity that naturally bubbles up around today’s version of the water cooler—the entrance to a meditation room.

At RoseRyan, our consultants get to work alongside some of the most innovative tech and life sciences companies in the Bay Area, becoming an essential part of their finance teams, such as when we’re controllers for emerging growth companies or helping with a liquidity event. No matter what we’re doing, we are guided by our firm’s distinctive culture and fascinated by the shifts in work trends we see evolving.

Tracey Hashiguchi heads up RoseRyan’s emerging growth and small business team, a dedicated group of consultants helping companies launch and grow. She develops RoseRyan’s strategy, programs and consulting team for helping startups get to the next level. Before joining RoseRyan, Tracey worked at Deloitte.

Our marketing coordinator Lauren Kershner keeps the marketing engine humming at RoseRyan. She joined the team in 2016 and runs our campaigns and programs, digital marketing and more, and she brings lots of positive energy to the office.

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