"The people here are incredible." — How (and why) to get a job at Moment Energy
Co-founder and CTO Gabe Soares on finding his role, company socials, and Moment’s move down the street to Coquitlam.
Co-founder and CTO Gabe Soares (photo supplied).
Moment Energy finds itself on a lot of lists. The recognitions are becoming routine for the Coquitlam-based cleantech company that reimagines used EV batteries. Forbes was fond of it, naming the quartet of founders on its 30 Under 30 list. The Cleantech Group highlighted Moment as one of the world’s most significant cleantech companies. We featured co-founder and COO Sumreen Rattan earlier this week, making it three years on the trot that we deemed her worthy of a shoutout.
That success is due in large part to scooping up local tech talent. Moment is one of at least 50 Greater Vancouver-based companies hiring for multiple roles, a testament to its sustainable growth after a $3.5 million raise in 2021. I guess the company is focused on sustainability both inside and out. To learn more, we chatted with co-founder and CTO Gabe Soares. Here are the highlights from our discussion with him, as part of our How to get a job story series.
This interview was condensed and lightly edited for clarity.
James Matthews: I enjoyed getting your co-founder Sumreen [Rattan’s] take on the origins of the company. What was that founding experience like for you?
Gabe Soares: When we started, we didn't know which roles each of us should take. So, especially with all four of us being engineers, it was kind of asking, “Who does the business stuff of the company?” We all started in a business-focused role, one where we would mainly spend time just talking to people. We would just cold email and cold phone as many people as we could and just learn as much as we could about the industry. What products are out there? What are some of the problems people are having?
Once we started getting a bit more knowledge and developed more understanding, we slowly started to focus on different things. Of the four of us, three of us really wanted to learn the business side: how a company works and how to grow it. One of us really wanted to continue doing the engineering technical side and that was me.
So, I took on the role of the technical person. I spent a lot of time in the garage, putting things together and testing them. We built our first product there, which was really exciting. As time has passed, I've been basically growing the technical team as well. I think we have really talented people here to help us grow and build some awesome things.
JM: What does a typical day look like for you?
GS: A lot of my role is to help our engineers excel in their roles. I don't specifically write as much code or solder as many circuit boards anymore. So, my job is mostly to provide resources to my engineers to do what they do best. That’s in addition to hiring. So, I am always looking for great people to join the team, hosting interviews, or going over resumes.
JM: As a member of the founding team, how do you lead? How do you set culture?
GS: We all had a mindset when we started that we wanted our culture to be very strong, even just the four of us. Then, when we hired our first co-op and our first full-time engineer (who's our lead engineer today), it was easy because there were only six people in the company. We, naturally, would just spend time together. We started company socials, which are just hangouts once a month. And it's been great because I think everyone we’ve hired really embodies our culture. And it's not so much us saying, “This is what our culture is.” It's more of our team already living that and acting on that.We still have awesome socials every month. We'll do something fun. We’re going snow tubing this month. But, again, the people here are incredible. And we've been super lucky with who we brought on board. And it's great to see them all live and breathe our culture.
JM: What’s the process like for applicants?
GS: We have a lot of periods throughout the year where we're hiring. We hire pretty often. So, usually, every month we'll have new postings go up on our website and also on LinkedIn. You can usually find a quick post there about the role that tells you a little bit of added context. People can either apply straight through LinkedIn. There's a portal there where you can submit your resume and all the details. But that’s available on our website, as well.
JM: Macs or PCs?
GS: Mostly PCs. A lot of engineering tools are for Windows, which is kind of unfortunate. I'm a PC guy, personally, but everything has its problems. I think our marketing team prefers Macs. So, they usually work with those. Other equipment that people need is usually here in the lab. So, they'll connect to big pieces to test equipment or battery-type devices to compare with ours.
JM: What about software?
GS: We're a Google company. So we use Google Workspace. So, a lot of Google Chat, Gmail, and Google Drive.
JM: No Slack?
GS: No Slack. Chat’s quite similar.
JM: Fair enough. Does Moment Energy work in person, remote, or hybrid?GS: It's hybrid overall. Usually, people will work two or three days in office then two or three days at home. For almost everybody, for what they like. Our technicians need to work 100 percent in person, though. That’s because they're building, testing, and debugging. But, our engineers can do remote, as well. Our marketing and business teams generally favour a little bit more remote work. But, they usually come in once or twice a week.
JM: Your office is in Port Coquitlam, right?
GS: Actually, we just moved down the street. So technically, we crossed the border into Coquitlam. But, the new office is great. A little bit bigger, so it’s a little bit more space.
JM: How are work hours managed?GS: Most people work around 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. So, pretty standard hours. We have core hours in there of 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Some people will start earlier while some work later. But, those are the core ones.
JM: Any last words about working at Moment Energy?
GS: We're always looking for new people to join. We’re after brilliant minds to help us work on sustainable energy. Our purpose is sustainable battery solutions that help save the world. We're a very tight-knit group, and we move quickly. Come and join the team and be part of our really strong culture. We learn a lot from each other and also from everyone that we work with outside Moment as well. It's a great place to be. We’re helping the world and the environment in a sustainable way.