Endowus scales quickly and coherently with Slack as its digital HQ

“Things are moving very quickly since we launched: We’ve seen 10x client growth and tripled our head count. Slack is helping us keep pace, and we’re utilising every tool and feature possible.”

Joo LeeCTO, Endowus

Traditionally, investing can be intimidating, complicated and confusing. That’s why Singapore-based Endowus makes it simple and convenient for customers to make informed investments at the lowest cost. “We make the journey to investing much easier and offer access to institutional knowledge at very low fees, which is incredibly rare in this market,” says Joo Lee, Endowus’ CTO. Singapore’s first and only digital advisor that offers personalised advice and enables customers to manage both private cash and pension savings, the digital wealth platform has seen substantial growth since its official launch in 2019 and currently has $1.5 billion in total assets under advice. 

As the platform scales, Lee is tasked with implementing the right technology and building new features. “Slack was part of Endowus from day one,” he says. The secure channel-based messaging platform is now the glue that holds the company together and empowers its employees to do their best work. “Things are moving very quickly since we launched: We’ve seen 10x client growth and tripled our head count,” says Lee. “Slack is helping us keep pace, and we utilise every tool and feature possible.”

As Endowus brings on more team members, “we’re always trying to improve productivity and efficiency across time zones and regions,” Lee says. “Gone are the days of using emails for internal communication. Everyone in the firm relies heavily on Slack.”

“Things are moving very quickly since we launched: We’ve seen 10x client growth and tripled our head count. Slack is helping us keep pace, and we’re utilising every tool and feature possible.”

Joo LeeCTO

Streamlining processes and scaling business in Slack channels

Breaking down silos with seamless communication and collaboration is key to Endowus’ success, and both are built around Slack channels, virtual spaces to share messages, workplace automations, digital tools and files. Team- and project-specific channels facilitate smooth workflows, and functional channels for legal, compliance and public relation issues keep fast-moving work organised.

For example, as its first line of defense, the customer experience team receives all customer feedback in Slack. “Within the Slack channel, we can quickly assign issues to available team members,” Lee says. Instead of tracking down colleagues or waiting for someone to respond, they have instant visibility and peace of mind that issues are being handled.

When there’s a big change within the organisation, it starts in Slack. Take the restructuring of the engineering team in 2021. “Slack channels are similar to the traditional partitioning in physical offices,” Lee says. “We created 10 smaller, more-focused teams, and the first thing we did was re-create the channels.”

Then there are regional expansions, which are ongoing and recently included the Hong Kong market. “We used the #hongkongprep Slack channel as our centralised source for information, intelligence and insights,” Lee says. “Anyone who joins later can review previous Slack conversations to get up to speed.”

To re-create in-office banter between meetings, launches and projects, Endowus turns to Slack Huddles. “With huddles, it’s just one click and you can talk without video,” says Lee. “It’s a really excellent and widely adopted way to collaborate in Slack.” 

“With huddles, it’s just one click and you can talk without video. It’s a really excellent and widely adopted way to collaborate in Slack.”

Joo LeeCTO, Endowus

Securely collaborating with external vendors in Slack Connect

To sync with external partners, including data stack, cyber security and marketing vendors, Endowus prefers Slack Connect. “When you only exchange information through email, it can get static and cold,” Lee says. Since his teams could be working in different time zones, phone calls aren’t an option. “Plus, these younger generations prefer asynchronous over synchronous communication. The integrated external channels with Slack Connect work because it’s all centralised and feels like you’re working at the same company.”

Even so, Lee and his teams know when they’re talking with an external partner versus an internal teammate. “Slack provides good awareness when I chat with someone outside Endowus,” he says. “It reminds me where they’re from right in the message.”

Security is of the utmost priority, and Lee can rely on Slack for that too. “I have absolute control and feel safe about what I do and do not approve,” he says. “It’s a seamless process that happens right within Slack.” He spent years working in investment banks where sensitive data was often leaked through email, so now “I try to conduct all of my external communications in Slack Connect: It’s secure, and you can easily delete messages as necessary.”

Slack Connect even encourages knowledge sharing across companies. “In Slack Connect channel, I discuss external conference opportunities with six or seven CTOs and tech leads from different companies,” Lee says.

The integrated external channels with Slack Connect work because it’s all centralised and feels like you’re working at the same company.”

Joo LeeCTO, Endowus

Lean and agile, 24/7

Working efficiently in today’s digital-first world often requires many apps, and employees can quickly lose time toggling between integrations. To avoid context switching, Slack’s app directory enables the use of hundreds of integrations right from Slack. 

“We have many services and applications running 24/7,” Lee says. “When there’s an issue, it reports to Sentry, our log error/collecting SaaS, which forwards the messages to relevant Slack channels.” There are quite a few channels collecting error messages, and each one is targeted to certain departments, like customer service. “Once the issues are reported in the channel, we can tackle them quickly.”

Similarly, when they deploy code changes to production, the engineers are notified in a Slack channel, which is integrated with almost every Atlassian product, including Jira and Confluence. Lee says, “Slack is very important for our agile practice. We’re iterating and releasing our code to production multiple times a day. From collaboration to development and testing, the whole process gets communicated via Slack.”

For Lee, who’s been on both sides of the office, “Slack strikes the right balance for both employers and employees.” Whether connecting with internal teammates, networking with other industry leaders or facilitating multiple code deployments a day, “Slack is our office,” he says. “If I’m working, I’m in Slack: It’s our center of digital collaboration and communication.”