Wealthsimple has had one incredible year.
The online investment management service, which was co-founded in 2014, won a second Webby award in April, while CEO Michael Katchen took home Entrepreneur of the Year at the Canadian Startup Awards in March—not too shabby for a cofounder who has yet to see his 30th birthday. Today, the Toronto company has more than 30,000 clients and $1 billion (CAD) in assets under management.
Wealthsimple’s investment platform seeks to simplify an often complex investment landscape for young people. The company’s product innovation has been matched by the ingenuity of their promotional campaigns, such as the 2017 Super Bowl ad, which remains revered for its strategy, tone, and execution.
Rapid growth can be challenging, but through the office moves and expansion, the Wealthsimple team has managed to maintain their core cultural values, which are reinforced by the spaces they occupy. The company has offices in New York and London, though headquarters remain in Toronto—specifically the city’s hip West End, where on a sleepy side street, in an unassuming brick-and-beam walk-up, serious work gets done.
The 9,000-square-foot space was designed in collaboration with Hariri Pontarini Architects. For Wealthsimple, it’s a new space; the team moved last spring. Design goals included maintaining the building’s industrial character and retaining the openness and natural light it provided.
More than 80 employees work from this office, including designers, developers, and operations staff. And they are looking for more. The entire team works from customized wooden workstations in an open concept space; there are no individual offices here–not even for Katchen.
Standing desks, pairing stations, and several meeting rooms are readily available for use. Even so, the kitchen area—located in the center of the office—is where you’ll find several staffers finding space to work.
The central kitchen and event space was designed specifically to join two ends of the office. It is here that the entire staff enjoys healthy catered lunches, snacks, drinks, and an impressive selection of gadgets brewing Pilot Coffee.
Wealthsimple’s benefits are centered around four pillars: inclusivity, health, financial wellness, and learning. The company’s product revolves around financial wellness, which begins with education—something Wealthsimple supports internally with access to complimentary financial advice. This is backed up by RSP contribution matching—in a Wealthsimple account, naturally.
The education perks extend into other areas of wellness, too. For example, each employee has access to a conference and education budget. Internally there is a collaborative library, which any employee can order a business book to add. There are also lunch-and-learn events for which the topics are varied—like last month’s on overcoming unconscious bias.
Financial health is central to the brand—but so is personal health. Beyond health benefits and a $500 fitness credit, staffers enjoy access to Dialogue, which connects employees and their families to doctors via chat and video.
Inclusivity is top of mind at Wealthsimple. This is demonstrated by a generous parental leave, the “Ladies at Wealthsimple” (LAW) club, as well as diversity training in onboarding and interviewer training.
The obligatory startup ping pong table gets a lot of traffic, but the most highly coveted perk might just be the nearby Trinity Bell Woods park: a perfect place for a morning run, a peaceful lunch, or a stroll with a furry friend. (Yes, this is a dog-friendly office.)
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