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talent
Distillery

Chief People Officer

Founded

November 2013

Funding

$105M | $80M equity financing through Series B and $25M debt financing

Investors

Lux Capital, Data Collective (DCVC), Mubadala, Obvious Ventures, Felicis Ventures, Two Sigma Ventures, Menlo Ventures, Charles River Ventures (CRV), Advantage Capital Partners, Square 1 Bank, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Headcount

112 employees growing to 200+ by the end of 2019

Location

Salt Lake City, UT

Company Info

Decoding biology to radically improve lives.

The cost to develop new medicines has never been higher, and in the face of incredible biological complexity, the biopharma industry continues to use a reductionist approach to discovery that relies on human intellect more than the robust technological tools that are disrupting other industries. By combining automation in the laboratory and data science in analysis, we are scaling drug discovery to achieve unprecedented scale and efficiency in the discovery and early development of new medicines. As more data is generated and aggregated, it produces network effects in the training of more intelligent algorithms that can more effectively make biological predictions to one day enable a fully in silico process. We have graduated from the early days of an ‘idea’, with one clinical trial underway and dozens of potential new therapies in the pipeline. Our mission is to decode biology to radically improve lives.

Chris Gibson

Chief Executive Officer

“The industry has a lot of incredible people who have been working hard for a long time to find useful treatments. We acted upon an idea that could make the process faster and more scalable, and brought on smart biologists and chemists to drive discoveries the last mile. This could mean sustainable, broadly-available treatment at a price point that won’t bankrupt healthcare. This is the future – someone is going to succeed in industrializing the discovery of new medicines - the only question is if it will be us. I hope it is but, no matter what, it will be a good thing for the world.”

Slush

Why Recursion?

We’re really excited about doing something that a lot of smart people might not even think is possible. We love that we want to do something hard and know that people will be fearful in the ambiguity, but we lead through that and strive to continue making decisions that maximize the potential of huge impact. We need people who understand we are working towards a long-term vision, and that taking calculated risks, rather than risk mitigation, will always be our modus operandi.

“In my previous company, we were solving fun math and computer science problems, but I didn't have the human impact element. Here, if we succeed, we are doing something good for the world.”

Mason Victors

Chief Technology Office

Why a Chief People Officer, why now?

We’re building one of the more complex things possible – a system and process for finding hopefully hundreds of new medicines in the coming years. This company is thus thinking on the scale of both decades in our ambition and billions of people in our impact. To be successful, we need to focus as much on building the environment for our success as building the automation and algorithms. Finding the right person to completely own this, alongside the CEO and COO, might ultimately be as important as anything else we do. We want to keep our people motivated and we truly care about their happiness. We not only want to prove to our people that they are more important to us than anything else, we want to signal to the world the kind of company we’re building and the scale of our ambition.

“There is a lot of lip service from all companies about people being the main asset. We want to show our people that we really believe it.”

Kevin Lynch

Chief Business Officer

Britt McPartland

Director, HR

“Our employees are incredible and could work lots of places, but they choose to work here. We’re here to make sure they can perform at the highest level and achieve all the success and impact they envision. A big part of this is taking really good care of our people. This is Chris-driven, and he sets the tone. We take care of our employees.”

The Team

The Mandate

  • Serve as People/Business thought partner to our executive leadership and to leadership at all levels of the company
  • Coach our executive team through the next stages of the business lifecycle, including a headcount scale from 112 employees to 200+ employees by the end of 2019
  • Guide the company in building an intentional culture that our diverse workforce of technologists, biologists, chemists, and corporate employees can relate to and embrace
  • Elevate and mature the company from its startup roots while maintaining the culture
  • Take a strong People and Talent foundation and continue to evolve the framework
  • Design a talent management strategy, personalizing learning and development, management training and career pathing across each organization
  • Infuse diversity and inclusion into every facet of our talent strategy
  • Mentor and develop the People/Talent team

“The most challenging aspect of what we are doing is the synthesis of industries that have historically never interacted: combining data science, software, robotics, with drug discovery biology and chemistry. At its core this is about bringing together people that think very differently and building a culture to capture the emergent properties of many diverse mindsets.”

Ron Alfa

SVP, Translational Discovery & Chief Evangelist

Yolanda Chong

SVP, Biology

“The biggest limitation is if we can’t all work together to achieve the end goal. What we’re working towards—there is a patient, a human being waiting for us at the end of the day. How do we keep that at the forefront? How do we build a new culture that can marry pharma and tech?”

Current State of the People Function

Tina Larson

Chief Operating Officer

“We get a lot of Utah level accolades for being a top workplace and want to expand this beyond Utah as we grow our geographies.

D&I is a challenge everywhere. We want this to be a focus when we generate our next wave of recruiting nationally. About half of our employees are relocations from out-of-state so we don't have a common cultural context. This diversity is exciting for driving innovation, but it can also make it challenging for getting people on the same page.

We strive to provide premium benefits to value everyone that works here. This includes 100% paid healthcare, free healthy lunch every day, gym membership, lots of free snacks, quality coffee, and robots! We hold all-hands meetings every Wednesday where we communicate updates plus do fun things like our Recursion trivia contest. People relax in the lounge Friday late afternoon to play pool, ping pong, board games, and shoot the breeze. There are lots of musicians and music fans, and even more outdoorsy athletes who ride their bikes to work and enjoy our 70-foot climbing wall. We have a coding cave, a yoga room, a free gym across the street, and discounts on the spa and salon too! During wellness week, we had a contest for most steps taken during work. Right now, we’re in a contest for which floor can donate the most to the food bank. In case you can’t tell, we love contests!”

 

Human Resources

Talent Acquisition

Systems

HRIS: Bamboo

Performance Management: Lattice

Employee Engagement: Workify

Compensation: PayScale and Radford

ATS: Greenhouse

Candidate Travel: NexTra

Foundation

Thoughtful employee experience

360s and peer recognition program

Compliance via employment attorneys

Strong, streamlined TA operations

World-class candidate experience

Awesome relocation support

To Create

Evolve infrastructure for scale

Leadership development programs

Career pathing

Onboarding programs

Manager and communications training

Evolve infrastructure for scale

Keep delicate balance of quality and quantity in recruiting highly specialized roles

Explore new geographies/pools of talent

The Culturgon

Brooke Clark

Director, Talent Acquisition

“We are encouraged to 'ask why' and challenge our assumptions on a daily basis. We embrace transparency and attract those who have a bias for action.”

“We highly value data, but we also value creativity. We want to understand what’s typical but also constantly challenge the status quo and what is possible.”

Tina Larson

Chief Operating Officer

You

You are here because you are exceptional, and you are at the heart of everything Recursion does. Help maintain our environment of innovation, excellence, trust, and mutual respect: care for and empower yourself, and leverage the flexibility and benefits that Recursion has to offer.

The Team

The team is the foundation of Recursion, working together to make the world a dramatically better place. Challenge your teammates, strive to build consensus, and help others to reach greater heights.

Welcome to the Rockies!

Keyboard to snowboard in 34 minutes may be our tagline, but we have much more to offer than just the mountains. We’re kid-friendly, dog-friendly, have the most tattoo parlors, enjoy easy commutes either driving or through our plentiful mass transit options, and when we miss sitting in a few hours of traffic, it’s a quick 80-minute flight to the Bay Area!

#wowutah

Our new awesome HQ at The Gateway is a central figure in the urban renewal taking place in downtown SLC focused on attracting tech and other companies

A recent LendingTree study ranked Salt Lake City as one of the cities with the youngest entrepreneurs, fueled by low costs (median home price is $382k), low taxes (average effective property tax rate is 0.73%, combined state and county sales tax rate is 7.6%, effective income tax rate at target cash comp is 4.95%), and strong support systems for Founders.

We are part of a place that is growing and changing, and we’re engaging the local community, politicians (including our Mayor Jackie Biskupski who joined our ribbon cutting), and other companies in driving the new face of Salt Lake City.