As technology at Yembo pushes the home services industry into the future, it’s a collaborative and tight-knit culture that’s lifting up employees in their careers.
Written byTyler Holmes
Published on Jul. 21, 2022
Historically in the home services industry, a stranger shows up to your home, analyzes your living situation and attributes a value to it — whether it be through a property value appraisal, a property insurance estimate for a claim or movers quoting your next big life transition.
“Typically, home surveys are not all that cool or sexy,” said Andrew Bowman, VP of customer success, insurance at Yembo. “But when you start putting the control back in the hands of the homeowner through technology, the industry advances and the homeowner feels like they’re part of the process.”
As a virtual survey and inspection company utilizing the power of AI to complete surveys without ever stepping foot into a home, Yembo is on a mission to shake up the antiquated industry it resides in. With a quick scan of a homeowner’s phone camera, moving and insurance companies can share estimates with their users within minutes — which employees like Bowman believe brings the “sexy” back into the technical logistics and once-extensive process of surveying homes.
In fact, the curiosity of “How has no one done this before?” has been a frequent point of interest that’s attracted outside job seekers like Hailey Hansard to her current software engineering role. However, after establishing a professional acting career for over a decade and embarking on a coding bootcamp course, Hansard wasn’t just interested in the company’s diversity of ideas — she was enthused by Yembo’s approach to embracing diverse backgrounds as well.
“I found Yembo from a job board called Women Who Code, which is geared toward women engineers,” she said. “I loved that Yembo was specifically targeting women, and when I interviewed, there were two other women engineers who interviewed me which helped me realize that it wasn’t just another boys’ club. They’re open to everyone.”
ACTIVE INCLUSIVITY AT YEMBO
At Yembo, women engineers make up 30 percent of the engineering team compared to the industry standard of about 11-14 percent. “I’m really happy with Yembo in terms of our inclusiveness,” Hailey Hansard said. “I don’t have a computer science degree, but the CTO of the company reached out to me personally from my Women Who Code application and offered me an internship to learn more on the job and get up to speed with where I would need to be.”
Being open to possibilities, both technical and team-oriented, has enabled Yembo to carve out a unique company culture that allows co-workers to thrive in their work and the bonds they make with one another. Events range from a “ladies only” wine education and cheese pairing night to the company’s first ever Yembo-Con in November 2021 — gathering the entire company in San Diego to meet in person for the first time.
“It was so well-organized and so fun,” Hansard added. “Everyone was so excited to be there and incredibly welcoming, which really shifted everything for me in terms of enjoying work as a team. After that, I looked forward to seeing what everyone was up to and taking those connections further than just a Zoom personality.”
Those fostered connections have also allowed employees like Product Manager John Tran to blossom in their careers with growth opportunities and real-time experience — even building out roles that previously didn’t exist in the company. Starting as a customer success manager, Tran learned to navigate through the process of customer renewals and upsells, giving him an in-depth understanding of exactly how their users utilize their products.
“I learned how to interact with customers at the leadership level and the end user level, and fully empathize on what they go through in navigating technological change,” he said. “Because of my unique experience working intimately through my book of business, leadership has trusted me to be the first product manager in the moving field and to build out a best-in-class product.”
Built In sat down with Bowman, Hansard and Tran to learn more about Yembo’s methods of disrupting the home services industry, how diverse internal teams lead to stronger innovation and all the ways employees at Yembo are encouraged to have a voice while growing their careers into the future.
Bowman summed it up best: “I want this to be everyone’s favorite job ever.”
Tell us about the culture at Yembo, especially as a remote-first company. How do you foster an inclusive and diverse environment?
Bowman: People come from a mixture of backgrounds that can be wildly different, but also feature unique viewpoints. I’ve learned in my aerospace manufacturing past that the more backgrounds you can bring together, the more unique solutions you can create. Then, when you double down on the fact that people have spent a lot of time at home now, you have this collaboration that is extremely enhanced via meetings through Zoom or a web chat. It gives people who maybe historically didn’t like the office environment the ability to come out of their shell.
Tran: Yembo fosters a work-from-home environment that allows everybody to join the team, regardless of location. I think that’s where we can be more inclusive with talent and not just specific to location. It showcases a kind of openness and sense of trust from the company that allows us to work anywhere we want.
Why is your work so disruptive to the industry? How does incorporating AI into your product make such a difference?
Bowman: AI creates scale. I think the spaces we serve have traditionally been very people-focused, and we’re just removing the unnecessary workflow steps and using technology to leverage that. For example, people typically wait multiple days for a response, and we’re using scalable AI solutions to service our customers in minutes. When you start taking out full days from a turnaround time perspective, you’re fundamentally changing the game. All the stuff that happens in the background — from the keyframe images to the AI-powered multi-item analysis — nobody else is doing that at this capacity.
“Give 110 percent during the day, and then sign off. We’re not a round-the-clock culture — and I appreciate that most.”
Tran: On the moving side, our technology is game-changing — and the fact that our product can actually identify all the items from a photo or a video is amazing to me. Previously, surveyors on the moving side had to painstakingly write entire details out for each item by individual areas. I think that’s where our technology outweighs any other companies out there. When I do demos for customers, they think our abilities are magic, and that puts a smile on my face.
Hansard: My mind was blown when I first saw our product after I joined. I actually conducted a survey in my condo and saw how our technology can pull every item in my house in real time and identify how many moving trucks it would take with all the packing materials required. Having just moved two months before using a traditional moving company, we had a very horrible moving experience and our quote was completely off. Then from the software side, our team really focuses on the user experience and the user interface of the product by taking weekly customer feedback to apply feature changes.
What opportunities to make a direct impact on a process or product have you experienced in your current role?
Hansard: Last summer during my internship, the VP of marketing joined Yembo and realized there wasn’t a quick, easy way to demonstrate our technology to potential customers or even potential new hires — you had to book a 30-minute demo with a sales team member in order to see our technology at work. To fix this, we were tasked with building out an instant demo of our product to quickly scan a room and then get the inventory results so you can see the direct impact of our tech. I was in charge of building a simplified app that was launched from our marketing site, and now you can just press a button to scan your room and get your inventory results emailed to you in seconds. That was an amazing project for me to work on as a new employee from end to end.
Cut to a little over a year later, I’m now reviewing the code of other engineers, offering advice and mentoring the new hires that we have coming in. It sounds cheesy, but I am so grateful that leadership took a chance on me and I’m incredibly happy to be here.
YEMBO’S HIRING PLANS FOR 2022
“It’s an exciting time to be part of the team at Yembo,” said Roxanne Janiczek, director of people ops. “We’re in growth mode at the moment, adding approximately 52 percent more team members to Yembo in the first half of 2022 alone. We’re always on the lookout for talented and passionate people looking to make an impact! Our current focus is to connect with and bring even more talented Yembotrons for all of our departments, especially AI and engineering.”
Tran: I was empowered to build an estimating tool for our European clients by working with our customers, understanding their processes and then codifying that into a product to generate an estimate based on an origin and destination location in Europe with the click of a button. That was so fun to learn and build out, and I appreciate leadership trusting me to take on such a major project.
What projects are you currently working on, or what are you most excited about?
Tran: I’m currently working on expanding our business intelligence capabilities within the company, which is really fun. I’m passionate about using data to make decisions. Today, we’re using your typical spreadsheets and pivot tables, but being able to build out a business intelligence infrastructure to slice and dice data is very exciting. Not only are we able to build products for our customers, but we’re also able to build products internally for our employees.
Bowman: We’re starting to do some groundbreaking stuff leading into next year. On the insurance side, there’s been a focus on two bespoke sides of that business — claims and underwriting. They don’t necessarily play well together, but Yembo is bringing those two things together from an underwriting perspective and sharing with the claims team. I think we’re going to bring tremendous value and time saved to our clients through Yembo’s suite of products.
“You will be heard at Yembo.”
Hansard: One of the things I’m working on is our internal component library. I work closely with our design team that decides what our style guidelines are for our brand and our products, and then I develop those designs into components that are consumed by our production apps. Right now, it’s very internal and specific to Yembo, but our goal is to be able to publish this to be an open-source component library for other people to use and consume. It excites me because I really care about user experience and making our user interface the best experience possible for our consumers.
Overall, when it comes to what you’re interested in, you’re going to be heard at Yembo. Leadership will help you grow on the path you want to grow in. It’s been the best job experience possible.