February 12 2016
Bench Lands on Forbes List
Written by Gastown Admin
“There’s been an energy within the walls at Bench since the announcement,” Crosby explained. “We’re planning to double our workforce in the next calendar year and news like this helps us get the attention from the top talent that we need. I’m thrilled that others seem as excited about what we’re doing at Bench as we are.”
The team expects to add 200 employees this year, huge growth for a company just entering it’s fourth year, but Bench is different. I grabbed a few minutes with Jordan Menashy, Co-Founder and VP of People / Marketing to find out what sets them apart.
Bench Co-Founders (left to right_ – Jordan Menashy, Ian Crosby, Adam Saint, Pavel Rodinov
What inspired you and your co-founders to create Bench? Was there a desire to re-imagine the business of accounting?
Less so the business and more so the experience. To us, the way accounting worked felt illogical for this day and age. It was still stuck in this old school world where accountants and bookkeepers would drive to people’s offices, shuffle around their papers, and leave a huge hourly bill in their wake. We knew if we designed a service with web and mobile at it’s heart, we could deliver the same outcome, only with modern convenience and at a fraction of the price.
You guys relocated from NYC to YVR. Why?
We love NY, and it was a great place to get off the ground. But when we took the long view, it didn’t feel like home. We needed to scale a huge workforce of not just engineers and designers, but also accountants and sales teams. Vancouver, being where many of the founding team grew up, felt like such an oasis and a place where we could meaningfully contribute to the community.
What drove the decision to set up shop in Gastown?
Our first office was above The Salty Tongue on Carrall…we loved that office. Saying goodbye to the rooftop patio was hard. Now we’re balancing between two offices, a large one at West Pender & Granville, and a smaller one at Water & Cambie. Vancouver has awesome neighborhoods but one that speaks to who we are, and the lifestyle most of our Benchmates lead, is Gastown. It’s a creative community that fosters so many small businesses and is home to a ton of entrepreneurs. We’re in good company in Gastown; the coffee shops and pubs are some of the best the city has to offer.
You’ve moved fast, growing from 4 to 200+ in a few years. Always the plan or did you pick up the pace to keep step with growth?
Theoretically we always knew this was going to happen. But when you’re in it, day-to-day, it somehow zips by. It’s only when you take a moment and realize we’re 50, 100, 200 people, etc., that it really smacks you over the head. But then you get right back into it, playing out the vision and hiring awesome people to make it the reality.
Bench has a ‘not your father’s accounting firm’ feel. Did this come from the founders or take root as you started to grow?
Haha, glad you feel the same way. This was 100% by design. Back when this was on the whiteboard, we were already racking our brains on how the hell we were going to make this sexy. In some small way, it was part of what made the challenge interesting.
Finally, what’s the story behind your amazing photography? Your IG feed is a shining example of social done right.
Thanks! The short answer – we’re blessed with extremely talented artists who work at Bench. The long answer – we fight to make Bench a meaningful experience for anyone who encounters us. Not just for customers or employees or investors, but for anyone, whether it’s through an ad on the street or an image on Instagram. We want to earn people’s appreciation, build an audience of genuine fans, and grow from there. Sales, revenue, all that stuff is a byproduct to fulfilling this mission. The brilliant people behind our imagery believe in creating a space to really connect with entrepreneurs, and Instagram has been a perfect spot to do that.
If you haven’t already, I’d recommend checking out the Bench IG. Thanks for the read and I’ll see you Monday!