Neostella shines on Forbes list

By Anna Lardinois, Startup Storyteller

Forbes Magazine recently released its list of America’s Best Startup Employers of 2023. The list of 500 companies is dominated by coastal startups, with a few exceptions.

And one of those is Milwaukee’s own Neostella, and Wisconsin’s sole representation on the list.

Forbes ranked more than 2,600 startup businesses based on company reputation, employee satisfaction and growth. Only U.S. based companies founded between 2013-2020 with a minimum of 50 employees were eligible for this ranking.

The Software as a Service (SaaS) company which specializes in hyper-automation, was founded by Matthew Lautz in 2019. Headquartered in Milwaukee’s Third Ward, the company has international offices in both Columbia and Mexico. The company employs 150 people across 13 states and three countries.

Lautz attributes the Forbes ranking, and the company’s rapid growth, to its employees.

“We hired good people and let those folks do their work. I’ve started a few other businesses before and I think it’s hard as an entrepreneur, and I say that as myself included, to delegate, especially when you’re starting. But it’s the only way to scale fast,” he said.

“Sometimes that means making mistakes,” he continued, “and it means letting your team members make some of those mistakes. You grow through it together. We quickly grew the team and we quickly let people run their areas. And that’s the only way that we were able to scale at the speed that we did. I couldn’t have my hands in everything. It’s not how to scale, but it is probably the hardest part of starting a business. You want to control it because it is your baby. It’s being willing to trust other people to do what you hired them to do was the only way that we could scale at the speed we did.”

With employees being central to the success of the company, finding great employees has been a priority at Neostella since they opened their doors in October 2019.

“I think a lot of companies, especially early on, don’t put much effort into talent acquisition and recruiting. We have four full-time team members on our recruiting team. We invest in having the tools and the people to go out and find the right folks for us.”

“We really focus on getting the right people and showing those team members that we want them on the team and make the experience as easy and pleasant as possible. When our recruiters identify the right person, we don’t take five days to make a decision. They have an offer letter that day.”

Some of the company’s best recruiters are well outside of the Human Resource department. Lautz notes that many of Neostella’s staff members come from employee referrals.

“We have a lot of people who are invested in what we’re doing, and a lot of folks who we’ve given a lot of ability to truly be a part of building the company. Employees are investing their time and energy. It’s more than just a job (for them). We have a very large group of people who take a lot of pride in the work they do,” he said.

“I think that when you build a culture where a lot of people within our team have a lot of autonomy, have the ability to run their areas, have the ability to make decisions… that they are invested in it and they build a team that’s equally invested, which then allows us to grow.”

How Neostella caught the attention of the Forbes editors remains a mystery to Lautz.

“We have no idea, which is part of why I love it. There are so many of these opportunities where it is pay-for-play. You fill out an application, send in a dollar amount, and you get to have the chance (at an award). We got an email that said this (list) is coming out in 48 hours… This is a compliment to our team members because it wasn’t a pay-to-play type of recognition.”

The growth focused company does not plan to take too much time to celebrate.

“We are going to focus on what we’re currently doing. There is a massive market and we have not even come close to reaching the limits of what is possible. We are continuing to push the current offerings we have, grow our client base, grow our success with our clients,” Lautz said.

To learn more about Neostella, connect with them here

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