Klaviyo, Growing Quickly and Staying Human: An interview with CEO, Andrew Bialecki

May 30, 2019
Aubrie Przybysz
Marketing at Drafted
Hiring is super tough, but when you find the right person... man it’s worth it.  

Klaviyo CEO and Co-founder, Andrew Bialecki, sat down with Drafted CEO, Vinayak Ranade, to talk about Klaviyo’s growth and how they stay connected with people at every step of the hiring process. Klaviyo helps growth-focused e-commerce brands drive more sales with super-targeted, highly relevant email, Facebook and Instagram marketing campaigns. In April, Klaviyo announced the fundraising of their $150M series B and since then they’ve been sharing their “old-fashioned” path to success.

Watch the full interview here.

Vinayak: Can you give us some context about the company and how you got here and what the growth has been like recently.

Andrew: We started Klaviyo 7 years ago, back in 2012. The first 3 years we just bootstrapped the company. It was just myself and my co-founder.


Fast forward to today, 4 years later, those two co-founders are joined by over 200 Klaviyos. P.s. Klaviyos is the nickname for employees at Klaviyo.

Vinayak: How many Klaviyos do you think you’re going to have by the end of this year?

Andrew: It scares me a little bit. We think it will be somewhere between three and four hundred. And we started the year at just over 150. So it’s a lot of new people and we’re thinking about how do we maintain our culture as we grow. It’s clear Klaviyo is growing, but they are trying to do it in a mindful way while staying competitive.

Keeping the Bar High

To take on their current team they turned to the talent pool the city of Boston had to offer.

One of the things I love about Boston is that there are so many really talented people here.

They’ve built a company to attract talent and find the best of the best. Klaviyo has created a reputation in Boston for having a tough interview process. They keep the bar as high as possible when it comes to finding the right people.

When we first started we very intentionally decided that we’re going to track people that care about 3 things.
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The focus has remained on creating an environment that keeps everyone at Klaviyo excited about the people they get to work with. For Klaviyo, it's about the people, not the number of hires.

The Approach to Hard Hires

The first step for Klaviyo is putting themselves in the shoes of the person they want to hire. Leading their initial conversations with empathy.

As we’re growing what we’ve found is what’s most important is finding people that have the experience of that really fast growth and can set good mile markers for themselves and not try to solve everything at once.

To find who they’re looking for, they’ve created a unique hiring experience. They firmly believe that the experience of the candidate is one of the key pieces to their hiring process. When faced with a candidate that is on the fence, they're invited to come and get the know the company in a relaxed setting, like their Friday company-wide meeting. Where most likely, Andrew himself will greet you at the door with a Bud Light in hand.

I think one of the hardest things, when you’re interviewing at any company, is you’re trying to figure out if this is just the marketing on top versus how people really are.

It takes a lot for someone to decide where they’re going to work. Klaviyo has crafted a hiring experience where the candidate can get to know Klaviyo in an authentic way. Klaviyo's tactic is to be themselves.


Email and Recruiting

Vinayak: If you were in the recruiters' shoes, which you have been before, how would you think about using email when reaching out to candidates?

Andrew: We’re obviously huge believers that you should put time into every email you send.One of the missions at Klaviyo is to help their customers drive more sales through targeted and relevant email campaigns. Andrew believes that those practices they help their customers achieve can also fit well in the recruiting space. Especially since recruiters spend a lot of time emailing candidates.

Make some small connection somebody can respond to and then from there how can we get face-to-face.

Take time to find a piece of information to connect on with a candidate that will resonate with them and help get them in the door.

What Keeps Klaviyo up at Night

Although Klaviyo is going through a tremendous growth phase, one thing they’re careful about is not making hiring all about a number. At the end of the day, it’s about the people they are hiring and not the overall number of bodies they’re bringing in to the company.

How do we keep that mentality of every single person and tell those stories and keep it personal when they’re hired and when they start.

Personalization is key for Klaviyo from working with their customers on campaigns to bringing new faces into their organization.

About Drafted

At Drafted, we believe that your company network is your single biggest competitive advantage when it comes to hiring. Our mission is to make it easy for you to leverage your network in the hiring process to find the best candidates. Your network is already powerful, it’s just too much work to make it a priority over the day-to-day of recruiting. Companies that use Drafted see their employee referral numbers go up by 2x, their time to hire drop by 30% and their overall hiring efficiency increase significantly within just a few months.