Forbes Names Aha! to America’s Best Startups List
March 12, 2020

Forbes Names Aha! to America’s Best Startups List

by Brian de Haaff

We have been really busy in 2020. We introduced new workspaces for IT, project management, services, and business teams in January. Since then, we have continued to deliver major new features to our customers on a weekly basis. Others have clearly noticed our efforts as well. I was reminded of how hard work can be rewarded when I saw a notification about Aha! in the news.

I am honored to share that Aha! was featured on Forbes’ inaugural list of America’s best startups for 2020. 

Forbes partnered with database research company Statista, using specific criteria. Only companies that were founded between 2010 and 2017 and employ at least 50 people qualified. More than 2,500 American businesses were evaluated according to employer reputation, employee ratings, retention, and company growth. From millions of data points, the list was whittled down to just 500 companies.

The final group is incredibly diverse. There are several consumer goods companies, including Allbirds and Poshmark, as well as fintech businesses like Acorns and Lemonade. In today’s uncertain and challenging times, it is reassuring to see such a wide swath of successful startups — especially when you consider that employee satisfaction was a key factor in the rankings.

It is humbling to see that of all software companies, Aha! ranked 72 — and one of only three entirely remote companies.

Our entire team joins a video meeting every Friday to share what we have accomplished that week. You can find Aha! teammates located across 6 countries and 78 cities around the world. We are already planning for and looking forward to seeing each other again in person at our bi-annual onsite this summer. We hope that the complex and changing status of the coronavirus does not force us to change our plans.

It is always validating to be recognized. This list is special because it deeply factors in employee experience. At Aha! we do our best to strive for customer and team lovability, a concept coined in our bestselling book of the same name.

I think this is one of the reasons that we were chosen for this Forbes list. We do things differently, especially in the areas of:

Customer joy

More than 5,000 of the world’s best-known companies rely on our roadmapping software to help their teams innovate and build products. There are no salespeople — only product experts serve our customers. And we move really fast by following The Responsive Method, a shared set of values that allow us to serve our customers and each other well.

Team love

As I noted earlier, we aim to be lovable. We are entirely remote — we allow people to work from where they are happiest. We evaluate our choices through the lens of what we call the Complete Employee Experience. To understand how we are doing, we measure our success with a lovability survey that every team member completes. And we review the results together at our onsites twice a year.

Sustainable growth

Aha! is a self-funded and highly profitable business. This is unique, as the majority of the companies on this year’s list were backed by venture capital at some point. We built what I call a “grandpa-inspired” company. That means that we put exchanging real value with people (our customers and our team) above hype or growth-at-all costs tactics.

I am always proud to say that Aha! puts people and profit first — it is part of our DNA.

Outside validation can be gratifying. And as exciting as it was to see Aha! recognized by Forbes, I think that our own teammates’ words are more powerful.

“Aha! is the most talented group of professionals I have ever worked with. From the CS team who answers support tickets, to the marketers writing go-to-market blog posts, to the engineers behind the code — everyone is world-class. You will be pushed hard to do things you are not sure you can do, but that is what makes you better. And you will always be treated with kindness.”

Want to be part of this adventure and change how companies innovate? Join our team.

Brian de Haaff

Brian de Haaff

Brian seeks business and wilderness adventure. He is the co-founder and CEO of Aha! — the world’s #1 product development software — and the author of the bestseller Lovability and The Startup Adventure newsletter. Brian writes and speaks about product and company growth and the journey of pursuing a meaningful life.

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