Outside of our HQ in San Francisco, Blend has had an office in New York City since 2015. This past year, we emerged from a series of shorter-term subleases and coworking spaces that housed our team of about 15 people to a long-term, dedicated office with a robust food program and its own unique culture — and 40+ employees.
This is the story of how we got here.
The early days
Way back in November of 2015, I was hired part-time at Blend to open the New York office. There were no other New York-based employees, just a few people flying back and forth from San Francisco who were trying to get the office off the ground.
In the first eight months or so, there was just one or two of us working out of a live-work apartment in the Flatiron District. Looking back, calling it an “office” was even a bit of a stretch; it was more of a crash pad for employees on the West Coast. But even though it was small and undefined, it was loved.
It was the great early days of a startup when you’re eating pizza and delivery sushi with the same three people on the one office sofa and plotting what you’re going to do tomorrow to grow the business. We had a few desktop computers to plug laptops into, a fridge full of Diet Coke and LaCroix, lots of snacks from Trader Joe’s, and a Bose sound system to keep us going. I absolutely love that early stage of companies, and I knew even as we had those days that we would someday soon be nostalgic for them.
To me, what is magical about Blend New York is that we’ve really tried to hold onto that tiny team culture — the close-knit family where you know everyone well — as we’ve grown.
While Blend HQ in San Francisco has ballooned from 50 to over 350 employees over the past three years, we’ve had more modest growth out east and held tight to our special culture – a satellite office to welcome people during travel, an HQ2 on the East Coast where people who work closely with industry can get work done and have a really great place to come every day.
The road to our new office
Looking at our modest office space in WeWork in mid-2017, I knew we needed more space for people, and I wanted to evolve what we could offer Blend employees every day. I pitched the idea of a larger, more Blend-y office that would stand on its own in New York.
The Blend team in San Francisco was incredibly supportive — more than that, they were supportive of finding an office that would allow us to triple our size without issue.
Our New York office has become much more than the crash pad of our early days. Together, we defined what we thought we’d need for the next few years, and it has become a strategic space for our future growth.
After figuring out square footage, lease type, and lease length, I began the hunt. Our current space is the end result of 50-60 office visits over six months.
After we signed our lease and moved in, members of our Design team and Internal Communications leader in San Francisco helped design the office to feel “Blendy”. Over the past eight months, we’ve grown from just desks and Wi-Fi to having a fully stocked kitchen, comfy sofas, plants, elegantly designed breakout spaces, a neon sign, noise-canceling conference rooms, and our own humble culture.
We’ve made strides, but it’s still a work in progress.
Blend New York as it is today
Just a few weeks ago, we had our first industrial designer come in to optimize working conditions for our team here. They’ve started tackling everything from rugs to dampen noise to building smaller conference rooms which are perfect for taking calls.
For lunch, we tend to order food as a team that’s made available in the office, but employees are also allowed to go find lunch in the neighborhood and expense something that suits their taste for the day.
Throughout every day, we have drinks and snacks available 24/7, ranging from cold brew and matcha on tap to the obligatory startup LaCroix flavors in the fridge. We have cereals, fruits, and yogurts or oatmeal for breakfast, light snacks for midday meals, and energy boosters (aka dark chocolate M&M’s on the wall). I also make sure I learn of any favorite snacks for each new hire so I can help them feel at home.
Taco Fridays are the best end to the week, and we are still working our way through the available delivery options to find our favorites.
We are not done nesting yet. There is a lot of work left to do with the physical structures and services available in the office, but we are evolving and proud of how far we’ve come.
Continuing to grow
Today, the Blend New York office houses teams ranging from business development to software engineering, and product marketing to sales.
Our New York office is still in its early stages and we’re aggressively hiring for all roles here in the city. If you’re looking for a new job, especially at a strong startup with a small-team feel, Blend’s New York office could be just right for you.
Check out our opportunities and get in touch if something interests you. Otherwise, stay tuned for even more news and opportunities as we continue to grow.