Alina Vandenberghe traces her entrepreneurship roots to communist and post communist Romania. Both of Alina’s parents were factory workers with limited income. So, instead of relying on them to pay for her textbooks and other school expenses, Alina started a series of ventures at the tender age of nine.
She offered to help the other tenants in their apartment building to manage payment of their utility bills for a small commission. By the age of 12, Alina started a lipstick selling business and had 40 reps working for her. The lipstick business generated more than enough income to pay for her family’s rent. Alina’s father was so enthusiatic about her business acumen that he bought her a computer. That gift led Alina to become interested in computers. She earned a master’s degree in computer science and landed a job in the U.S. in 2007 as an intern in product management.
After nine years in corporate America, Alina’s entrepreneurial spirit became weighed down by budgets and board rooms. She helped launch Chili Piper in 2016 to convert website inquiries into buyers through a snippet that vets then routes it directly to the best person to handle it in real time. That technology exponentially improves inbound conversion.
Today, Chili Piper has just over 100 team members who work 100% remotely from 22 countries across 84 cities. The experience that Alina had in corporate America was one that she didn’t want her team members to experience at Chili Piper. Employees are given the equipment needed to work effectively and are trusted with unlimited vacation.
The company scores an A+ rating on Comparably, and among the top 5% of other companies its size for Diversity. As one reviewer reported, “Transparency of leadership team and the flexibility we’re provided to hit our goals. There is no micromanagement and many typical ‘challenges’ we faced by scaling teams have been removed due to the foresight of leadership!”
Kudos to Chili Piper for creating a culture of intrapreneurship at scale. You can learn more about its company culture here.