Posts tagged startups

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3 Years Later: Why I Work for Vsnap

By Trish Fontanilla, VP of Community & Customer Experience at Vsnap


(screenshot of me testing out our beta site in 2011)

Yesterday was my Vsnapiversary! 3 years and 12,000 vsnaps later, I’m here because…

I want to make the web feel like a smaller place. - I joined Vsnap without ever seeing the product. I was going off of Dave’s drawings on napkins and whiteboards about the company vision and what the future of video would be. And from the very beginning, we set out to help our Vsnappers feel more connected to the people that matter. This has been especially true for web-based businesses that may not get to interact with their customers in person. I’ve had a chance to give a high five and sing happy birthday to people from Boston to New Zealand, Sweden to Malaysia. It’s crazy how these little video messages have brought people together despite language and oceans between us.

I want to be surrounded by people who genuinely care about their customers. - The kind of people that always have thank you notes and stamps at their desk. That pull in extra weekend shifts if they know their customers have a big deadline. That help old ladies cross the street even when they’re rushing home to see their families. I’ve gotten the chance to meet a lot of those people because of Vsnap. Which leads me to…

I want to build the community that brings these people together. - Dave has been my chief advocate in this regard. Giving me the space to connect with our community, but also pushing for the Customer Love Summit to happen and then handing over the reigns. For all the community and support folks out there, you know that on par with helping someone with your own product, is connecting your customers with like-minded individuals and resources that’ll help them succeed. It’s been a pleasure to get to know people that are not only full of heart, but that are people of action as well.

We’ve got a lot of amazing things in store. I’m nervous and excited and so thankful to be bringing you along this next leg of our journey. This summer we’ll be launching an entirely new product, starting with our web app — all based on our learning and all of the stories and feedback you’ve given us. Our core is unchanged, helping customer-facing folks use short, one to one video messages to convey tone and trust in order to grow business. But now that will be paired with the ability to put video messaging wherever you want: on your website, in your apps, etc. Wherever you and your customers are, that’s where we want you to have this tool.

And I’ll be here for you (we all will), every step of the way.

I’m accepting pies and comments below (well the pie we need to work out), or you can send me a vsnap / email at with your thoughts. Here’s to a fantastic summer!

Filed under trish blogs vsnapiversary why i work at vsnap startups

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The MassChallenge Perk They Don’t Talk About

By Trish Fontanilla, VP of Community & Customer Experience at Vsnap

(Pictured, CEO Dave McLaughlin in our first cube at MassChallenge. Back when we were working with Grails and wore sandwich signs with job postings instead of writing a blog post like this)

This year’s MassChallenge deadline, April 2nd, also marks an important moment for Vsnap: We’re moving into our very own office in downtown Boston! And while I’m incredibly excited about this move, it is bittersweet.

When Vsnap was accepted into the MassChallenge accelerator in 2011, the team was composed of myself, CEO Dave, and our part-time intern Brian. In the early days, I spent a good amount of time by myself while Dave was off in meetings laying down some of the important groundwork for the business. What helped immensely as I was navigating my way through the startup world, was 1) the community of entrepreneurs in the accelerator and 2) the amazing MassChallenge team. When I look back on Vsnap’s time at MC, both in the accelerator and as alumni-in-residence, the absolute highlight for me is the staff. People like…

  • Scott Bailey (Senior Director of Partnerships), whose passion for startups got me revved up even before I formally joined the Vsnap team

  • Erica Rife (former Program Director) and Ayla Walker (Event Manager), who were great resources helping us with the logistics for events (meetups and even two conferences) using the MC accelerator space

  • Robby Bitting (Director of Marketing), who’s helped us find great media opportunities to spread the word about Vsnap

  • Joanna Meiseles (Senior Director of Operations), who helped me, Jacqui from UbiqiHealth, Sarah from Capital Market Exchange, and Tish from GRIT, start the Women in MassChallenge group last year

  • Ryan Walsh (Operations Manager), who was always around to help with logistics and general support

  • Kara Shurmantine (Partnerships Manager), who got us seats on panels and helped us take advantage of sponsorship opportunities

  • Jibran Malek (Social Media Coordinator), who used MassChallenge’s social media channels to share good news, job postings, and funding announcements with the universe

  • Fhiwa Ndou and Cory Bolotsky (Fhiwa is the current Startup Concierge and Cory is the former), who helped us as, both finalists and alumni, in navigating the MassChallenge space

And of course we’ve had amazing support from the MC executive staff. From mentorship to introductions, John Harthorne (CEO), Akhil Nigam (President), and Karl Büttner (Chief Mentorship Officer), have been such great advocates for us. MassChallenge has also hired a whole slew of new team members, and I can’t wait to see what they bring to this already fantastic team.

So yes, MassChallenge boasts $1MM in cash prizes, free office space, $10MM in in-kind support, and more. But being in the trenches alongside these people who are just as passionate about changing the world as we are, has been a true honor. I’ll always consider them an extension of the Vsnap team.

I hope you readers have a chance to get to know these wonderful people, either in the global startup scene or as a MassChallenge finalist. If you’re interested in applying and need a refund code (discount on the application fee), please vsnap your pitch to Good luck! We’re excited to welcome you to the MassChallenge family.

Filed under masschallenge vsnap startups mcrefunds trish blogs bittersweet moments accelerators

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[HIRING] Full Stack Junior Developer

Vsnap is looking for a developer that has all the passion in the world, and wants to take their development skills to the next level. You will be assigned a mentor that will teach you development best practices. You will have the opportunity to work with the latest and greatest web technologies, and get in on the ground floor of an exciting new product. Culture is critical in our eyes, so please take a few minutes to learn about the values Vsnap is built on — here’s a 3-minute video that says it all —

And by the way, those values are very real for us here at Vsnap. Check out our founder’s 5% Promise as an example — If you think you might want to launch your own startup at some point, Vsnap is the place for you!

We’re excited to find the next person who is as excited as we are about where we can take the Vsnap product.


- Interest in new web technologies

- Pride in your work

- Ability to learn fast & take direction

- Curiosity, independence, and a portfolio of side projects


- Familiarity with Node.js and Javascript

- Familiarity with Grails

- Some prior startup experience

If you want to explore this further, send an email to We’ll respond fastest to the people who share which Vsnap value they like best!

Filed under vsnap hiring startups developers

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We Are Looking for an Amazing Engineering Leader!

By Dave McLaughlin, CEO & Co-Founder of Vsnap

Vsnap is a seed-funded startup approaching our A Round. We are looking for a high-energy, hands-on CTO / VP Engineering to take the lead on this fast-moving opportunity. 

This is a key position and will have strong equity participation. We need the kind of highly curious technology leader who is resourceful enough to solve any problem, creative enough to architect and code, and has the developer charm to recruit and inspire a high-impact team.

This is a critical hire for us — right now we’re six people, and we expect to triple in size in the next 12 months. We are in Boston, and that’s where this hire needs to be. We have strong momentum — we just closed our first six-figure deal with a Fortune 500 firm and I have a pipeline of similar opportunities. 

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The last company I co-founded was acquired by PayPal — and I see a much bigger vision for Vsnap! 

If you don’t know Vsnap, here’s what we do: 

Vsnap makes it easy for people in Sales & Account Management to send and track quick one-to-one video messages. We believe that people in customer-facing roles need an easy tool to bring warmth and attentiveness into their customer interactions. That’s how you rise above the noise of today’s business environment. 

Our little video messages do this really well — in fact, when you vsnap your customers, they take action up to 41% more than when you email them. 

If you are interested in learning more, awesome! Please reach out to me directly. My email is, and of course I will respect the confidentiality of our conversation, whatever the outcome. I look forward to hearing your perspective on all the interesting, hard problems we need to solve! 

Extra points for people who actually vsnap me to introduce themselves. Your perspective is worth a whole lot more if you’ve actually tried our product in its current state. 

Also, I announced yesterday my 5% Founder’s Promise: I committed myself to setting aside a portion of my own future earnings from Vsnap specifically to invest in startups founded by people who have worked for Vsnap. So if you’re looking for a next role that’s a stepping stone to starting your own company, this could be a great fit for you. I am in love with anything that helps me empower and support our team members — even beyond the life of this company.

One more thing — you need to know that Vsnap is a belief-based company and that our values are non-negotiable. They are: 

Be human. Smile. Breathe. Say what you love. 

Only help. Never ever just add noise. Like, ever. 

Be a doer. Action is character. 

Protect Simplicity. And it will protect you. 

Make colleagues and customers feel special. They will never forget how you make them feel. 

Celebrate questions. They are the doorways to discovery. 

Those simple statements are the tent poles of the culture we’re building. I talk more about why values are so important in this video. If none of this resonates with you, then there’s probably no point in us talking.  

For recruiters: I respect what you do, but I’m not interested in hearing from you regarding this opportunity. There will be a day when I need your help. Not now though. Thanks. 

Filed under dave blogs hiring boston jobs startups engineering CTO

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The 5% Founder’s Promise

By Dave McLaughlin, CEO & Co-Founder of Vsnap

This blog post is a formal promise from me, as CEO and Co-Founder here at Vsnap, to everybody who works for Vsnap at any time during the life of this company.

My promise is this:

I will put five percent of whatever money I make when we exit this company into a fund to make seed investments in companies started by people who have worked for Vsnap. I’ll hold those dollars for this purpose for five years or until they’re fully deployed, whichever comes first.

I’m calling this the 5% Founder’s Promise.

My thinking here is simple. I believe that business is a team sport, and I see it as my job to bring on amazing people, then to empower and support them in attacking huge goals. With this open promise, I am committing myself to extend that even beyond the life of the company.  

Truth be told, it’s an easy promise to make because, for me, the part of startup life that I find most gratifying is seeing the people around me become stronger in their skills and more confident in their convictions. I genuinely love that. The idea of continuing those connections into the future and trying to serve those friends in an ongoing way, well that’s actually what I want.    

I’m not obligating myself to invest in anything that any ex-Vsnap employee wants to fiddle with. You will need to have an opportunity I can get my head around. And I’ll need to know from our time together in the trenches that you are an absolute Doer.

But all of this is a ways off, and Vsnap is still early in its life – so why make this promise right now?

Well, because we have a bunch of hiring coming up, and I want everyone to know that, at Vsnap…

  • …we live our Values!
    If you work with me, I want you to have absolute clarity about the values that define our culture. This promise is about putting those values into action, and making it crystal clear that they aren’t just a set of bullets on a slide somewhere.

  • …we have High Expectations!
    If you are looking at an opportunity with Vsnap and you aren’t sure what level of expectation we have for our team, well now you know. Don’t apply for a job here unless you are ready to embrace high expectations. That’s part of our commitment to one another.  

  • …we love Ambition!
    I want to attract people who want to start their own companies. I want people with that sense of drive and ownership, and that thirst to learn and help and achieve. This Founder’s Promise is meant to make that clear, while also showing that we take the long view when it comes to relationships, and you should too.
  • …we are committed to our Community!
    I want to be part of a community where capital is recycled so that growth gets fostered and talent pools get bigger. I want companies like mine, and like yours – the one you haven’t started yet – to always find the people they need to bring their vision to life.

Time will tell whether my five percent is a lot of money or not so much. We have a pretty massive vision, so I believe it will be. But whatever that amount is, those dollars will be there to help Vsnap team members launch their dreams. I hope other people are half as excited about this as I am! Let me know what you think in the comments, or tweet at me at @davemacboston.

And to other Founders, I want to say that the 5% Founder’s Promise is not a proprietary idea. Please feel free to make it yourself. I think that would be amazing!

Filed under dave blogs vsnap startup culture startups founder promise