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Episode #1 Featuring John Smith, Founder & CEO, Company Inc.
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035: Raising $94M and Cultivating a Culture of High Performers with David Hassell
David Hassell
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David Hassell is the founder and CEO of 15Five, a performance management SaaS solution that helps companies create better managers and successful employees. Their software combines surveys, weekly check-ins, peer recognition, and people analytics all in one platform.

In this episode, David and I talk about why he decided to raise capital after bootstrapping the business for 6 years. He explains his steps to grow from 50 employees and $6M in revenue to 300+ employees and closing a Series C financing round for $52M.

We dig into his approach to company culture/core values, tactics for tracking and evaluating employee performance, hiring for fit versus skill, and more. 


“Companies come up with values as a way to create guideposts, to say, this is who we believe we are and who we aspire to be. And we're going to continue to reinforce those values, to try to mold the culture in our desired form. But the reality is, culture happens regardless of whether you do that or not and it's something that can only be influenced, not controlled.” – David Hassell

“We put a lot more attention on the high care for performance, but without losing the humanity and the high care for people and finding ways for us to uniquely blend those two things.” – David Hassell

“When I don't have to worry about a particular department, it typically means that I've got the right person in that role.” – David Hassell
Key Takeaways with David Hassell

✔️ How 15Five got started and why David spent six years bootstrapping before taking on VC funding. He recently closed a Series C round for $52M.

✔️ David’s humanistic way for managing and leading people that allows his company to win, while also unlocking an employee's full potential.

✔️ Why company culture can only be influenced, not controlled—and the 4 core values David’s company stands behind.

✔️ How to create a high performing team, without sacrificing a high level of care for your people.

✔️ Tools and tactics for tracking and measuring employee performance across various roles and responsibilities.

✔️ The pros/cons of using numerical ratings when evaluating performance.

✔️ How often should you have performance reviews and check-ins?

✔️ Hiring right fit people, both in terms of culture and skill set. How do you avoid subjectivity when evaluating candidates?

✔️ How the sales process changed as he grew from a 50 to 300+ person company.

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