Movebubble are revolutionising the world of property renting. They’ve been called many things from the “AirBNB for flat moving” to a “must have app for London”. Whilst they’re busy doing great work for their customers, we go sniffing behind the scenes to find out what it is actually like to work at Movebubble with an interview with Adrian, Senior Software Developer.
Tell us about yourself, what’s your story and how did you end up working for Movebubble?
My name’s Adrian, I’m a senior developer here at Movebubble, where I’ve worked for over two years. I previously worked with the CTO at another company, and when he joined Movebubble he got back in touch – I really liked the sound of the company and the chance to work for a startup at such an early stage, so over I came!
I grew up just outside Leeds in glorious Yorkshire, before moving to Cambridge to study Computer Science at university. From there it wasn’t much of a jump to move to London, and plenty of friends were doing the same, so after I graduated I moved in with a friend south of the river and have been in London ever since.
I love how much there is to see and do here, with museums, theatres, pubs, incredible architecture – there’s never enough time to do everything and always more to explore. I do miss the countryside though – walking around a city isn’t quite the same as the breathtaking scenery of the Yorkshire Dales or the Peak District, which is something I obviously appreciate so much more now that it’s harder to get to!
What were your main considerations when deciding on where you wanted to work?
I know it sounds clichéd but I really enjoy working places where I’m challenged and have the chance to learn new technologies while working on things that solve real-life, interesting problems – renting is definitely one of those, and with a wealth of personal experience driving me to improve it, that’s why I was so interested in working for Movebubble. A good salary and perks are important of course, but I care much more about the actual work that I will be spending my time on, and the people I’ll be working with.
Having the right tools to be able to do your job, and the flexibility to make and influence decisions without fighting layers of bureaucracy makes a job that much more enjoyable. The team is so important as well – if you can find work with people who are not only competent and who you respect, but you also enjoy spending time with, you’re onto a winner.
What’s the company culture like at Movebubble and how does it differ from other places you have worked?
As a small company it’s very tight-knit – everybody knows everybody and to be honest it often feels like we’re just a group of friends who happen to be running a company as well. There’s a huge amount of passion to deliver a great product and a great service that will genuinely improve the lives of thousands of renters.
That energy and motivation really shows, and makes it a really enjoyable place to work. We try to keep process to a minimum to the point where we’re organised but actually get stuff done. And we can deploy most of our systems to production in minutes (unfortunately Apple’s approval process limits how fast we can release the app), which is a massive breath of fresh air compared to previous companies where I’ve actually left the company before things I’ve worked on were deployed and used.
How important is it that you work for a company with a strong company culture?
It’s hugely important to me to work for a company that cares about its customers and its employees, has great energy and is fun to work for, and really pushes to give the customer a great experience rather than just caring about profit. For example, we have a quick stand-up every week where people say how they’ve helped a renter that week, which serves as a constant reminder of what we should really be focussing on.
Tell us about “SuperCoolFunTime”! How did it start, and what exactly does it entail?
I can’t remember where the name came from (probably an off-the-cuff Slack comment) but I guess it started around a year ago – the idea is basically to get everyone together for a company-sponsored activity outside work, whether that’s go-karting, room escapes, meals out – anyone can suggest what we do! (Personally I’m gunning for some kayaking or paintballing soon). It’s a great way of getting to know people better and keeping the team close, although there’re plenty of other evenings when people will go out on less “organised” expeditions.
What are the best and worst things about working in a startup?
The best things are the variety in your role, the speed of development and ability to react quickly to our users’ needs, and the chance to have a much bigger say in what goes on and to drive the company in a direction that you care about and believe.
Some of those things can be the worst parts though – there are days when you can end up being ripped in ten different directions with things you need to do, and times when you have to accept that ideas you might have had just aren’t going to work, and that you need to give up on them and move in a different direction, which can be difficult.
Who gets to sit on the bean bags in the office? Is there a rota or a bit of a bum fight with a first come first served type thing?
Hah, anyone can sit on them whenever they want, visitors included – I can’t actually remember a time when there was ever an argument over them! Some people even take the occasional nap on them, although then you have to be wary of any photographic evidence…
What one piece of advice do you have for people thinking about joining a startup?
You have to be ready for instability. The direction of the company could change, the work you’re doing might change, you might end up doing something different from one minute to the next. That can be unsettling for some people, but if you can cope with it, or even better embrace it, then it can be a hugely rewarding experience.
How much is the business looking to expand by in the next few years?
We’re about to enter another round of funding, including from VCs, after which we’ll be looking to expand fairly rapidly. Currently we’re only serving renters in London, but obviously we’d love to expand to other UK cities and abroad as soon as we can, and we’ll need lots of new people on the team to help us achieve that.
Are you looking to hire right now?
We are indeed! It’s always worth checking our culture page to see who we’re currently looking for specifically, but if people like the sound of the company and what we’re trying to achieve and want to be involved, we’re always happy to hear from people.
Thanks a lot Adrian.
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