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About Clue

Think outside the office: Scaling startup culture with offsites

by Erica Avey, Writer
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We take pride in our company culture at Clue. We're a tight-knit team from all over the world and as cliché as it might sound, we genuinely enjoy working (and playing) together. We believe that's driven by the inherent empathy and positivity of the product we work on. It's extremely rewarding to help people all over the world understand their bodies better, and to have such positive feedback from our users.

Our passion and belief in Clue's vision comes through in the work we do, whether it's developing the app, designing a new feature, analyzing data, answering customer support emails, exploring new hardware or reading up on the latest scientific research. So it's critical that we put a similar level of careful thought and execution into how we both scale and strengthen our team.

Clue launched in 2013, and just like a toddler, we're growing. Fast. In the past six months, we've doubled our number of full-time employees. How have we managed to continue to grow an open, trusting, self-driven and hard-working culture at Clue?

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Our deliberate hiring process is key, certainly. If hiring was like online dating, we'd be more like OkCupid than Tinder — in other words, a good personality fit is important to us. We're based in Europe, so work/life balance comes rather naturally (and yes, our employees take full advantage of time off). But our Clue company offsites always seal the deal and remind us how rare our connection is as colleagues and how important it is to get outside of the office.

The benefits of an offsite exceed any financial costs. Company offsites are ideal for creatively thinking about the future of the product, brainstorming, hashing out operational issues, reminiscing, and of course, team building. So we started this week at an overnight stay in Pinnow, about an hour north of Berlin in the Brandenburg countryside, at an estate complete with an alpaca farm (as adorable as you think).

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Two of our co-founders, Ida Tin and Hans Raffauf, told stories of Clue's history and their latest fundraising experiences in Silicon Valley. Our Head of Product, Mike LaVigne, laid down the product roadmap. We had an Open Space Technology session where everyone could choose a topic of discussion, from company vision to office interior design, and brainstorm around it. We talked about our vision for the future, why we initially joined the company, what we are most excited about working on and what we want to individually improve. Down time included swimming in the lake, playing music, eating good food and socializing late into the night.

Our significant others joke that we are like a cult, but that's not entirely true (okay, maybe a little). We value our differences and don't want to create a monoculture. Still, the bond at Clue transcends most companies' Friday office parties or team-building routines. Office culture is just like a relationship, it's so obvious when it's forced. If you have to force it, it's probably not working. And company culture also reflects how everyone feels about the current status and future of the product you're working on together.

Some of our stories from the Pinnow offsite are a bit too avant garde even for the company blog or social media. Let's just say on top of the shenanigans, we left feeling closer, refreshed and inspired to make Clue better than ever.

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