Smarkets Reviews

Updated 5 Aug 2020

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3.8
68%
Recommend to a Friend
57%
Approve of CEO
Smarkets Founder and CEO Jason Trost (no image)
Jason Trost
38 Ratings
Pros
Cons
  • "Lots of growth in a short space of time has meant that the self-management thing has not had the opportunity to scale with with the company(in 9 reviews)

  • "TEAL can be a benefit to staff as you are self-managing(in 4 reviews)

More Pros and Cons
  1. Helpful (2)

    "Be yourself. Chances to develop yourself & the company's international potential"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in London, England
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Smarkets full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    - company with lots of potential trying to innovate an industry and make it more fair - Exciting time while we're launching in several new markets - lots of opportunity to get involved with a big variety of topics - flat hierarchy - combine your interest in sports, politics and fintech. Not required though - strong product - work with smart people. Tech tools are great and you can change code very fast - you can be yourself. They encourage you to do so. - mental health counselling - great office with our own chefs who are a real part of our team

    Cons

    - the chance to get involved with what interests you also means a lot of people can give their opinion. This can make you better, but some don't like that. - budgets can be limited while there's a lack of sports, but positive signs showing - workload can be high, but it's voluntary. Up to you to mentally check out and ask for help - too much transparency is a sword that cuts on 2 sides. You love or hate it.

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  2. COVID-19
    Helpful (7)

    "Stagnating company run by a micromanager"

    2.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in London, England
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Smarkets full-time

    Pros

    - Most people I met have been very friendly and supportive. - Hats off to the chefs and their creativity - breakfasts, lunches and dinners used to be simply awesome (really hope Smarkets doesn't lose them when covid is over!). - Great location next to the Tower Bridge. The fact that Smarkets also has offices in Malta and Los Angeles means that you have a decent chance to do a bit of travel (depends on your team / seniority).

    Cons

    - The CEO. A classic micromanager who will start scrutinizing every single step you take once you get on his radar (and you likely will at some point). - The industry. Unless you are really into sport and/or trading, gambling is not a nice industry to be in. Sports trading is also 24/7, which will impact your work-life balance. - Stagnation. The longer you stay, the harder it is to be motivated. Everyone is talented and working really hard and yet... somehow the company is still facing the same problems as one or two years ago, and isn't really growing. - As a result the company is constantly short of money and you are constantly asked to make sacrifices. You can imagine how this only got worse because of covid

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  3. Helpful (5)

    "A Forward Thinking Company."

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Marketing in London, England
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Smarkets full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Great environment, Innovative, Fun, Open. Those that have a self starter mentality and want to challenge themselves will really enjoy working here. And even though Smarkets has been around for some time now, it continues to feel like a start-up.

    Cons

    Smarkets has a very different ethos Vs many other companies and some people will struggle if they hang on to normal working conventions too much, used to a rigid hierarchy etc.

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  4. Helpful (10)

    "Probably not worth it unless you're a grad"

    2.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Engineer in London, England
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Smarkets full-time

    Pros

    - Great colleagues. Very pleasant and intelligent people to work with. - Some excellent perks. Particularly the food cooked in the London office and the subsidised therapy. - Cutting-edge tech. Good learning opportunities for graduates and juniors.

    Cons

    - The CEO. Worst CEO I've worked for. Textbook seagull management style. - Overall senior management. They don't listen to the employees and don't protect them from bad decisions. - Double standards. Transparency and accountability are touted as company values but are not applied universally. They claim that everyone has a voice and if someone has a great idea they can get buy-in and it will be implemented. In reality, even if you get buy-in from all relevent stakeholders, the CEO can shut it down because it doesn't fit his "vision".

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    Smarkets Response

    June 4, 2020

    Hi there. Thank you for the feedback. We appreciate your balanced review and in particular that you listed our subsidised therapy as a positive; it is something we are very proud of and value. As for the CEO and senior management’s active listening, protection of employees, and involvement, we hope that we had, or will have, the chance to talk to you directly about this, and examine cases where you felt management could have done more.

  5. Helpful (13)

    "Management nosediving the company into the ground"

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Smarkets full-time

    Pros

    The colleagues are great: some of the nicest and smartest people you'd ever come across.

    Cons

    Management. The company has changed drastically over the past few months. Whereas before you might have believed that this was a company that truly valued openness and the nurturing of its employees; now, you would not mistake the toxic environment being created by office politics from the top. Management has recently been on a firing spree and those that remain wonder if they will be the ones to go next, which is an unsettling position to be in I would strongly discourage you from joining this company, otherwise, be prepared to be micromanaged and sacked if you don't fall in line.

    Smarkets Response

    June 4, 2020

    Thank you for the feedback. These recent times have been very hard to navigate on multiple levels. Certain decisions to terminate employment in the last few months will have appeared sudden, but they were actually the result of weeks or even months of discussions where team leads were closely involved. We strive to be transparent but we are nonetheless bound to the confidentiality and compliance all businesses must adhere to. We of course understand that such decisions might feel like they come from nowhere, and this adds to anxiety in the wider context, but they were carefully considered and involved multiple different stakeholders. If you have suggestions on how internal communications, and reassurance on this kind of issue, could be improved, please share them through the medium you feel most comfortable with: either directly with your lead, with HR, to a Leadership Team member, via an anonymous Q&A, or any other means you prefer.

  6. COVID-19
    Helpful (15)

    "Don't do it."

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Smarkets full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    The engineers in the company are very smart and highly qualified!

    Cons

    The times during the CoV-19 pandemic were hard... They had to furlough a few people and asked everyone else to take a 10% cut so that they could continue to operate and to "avoid redundancies". However, this was a complete lie. The SAME day where virtually everyone signed the addendum to their contracts, multiple employees were fired on a 90% cut. A very distasteful and dishonest move. They could've furloughed them, or at least fire them without the 90% cut. This is a company that claims to be "progressive" and lists "transparency" as one of their values. The "Leadership Team" has shown no work ethic nor, principles. My recommendation is: Avoid at all costs.

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    Smarkets Response

    June 4, 2020

    Thank you for taking the time to write this review. Obviously the unprecedented financial pressures of the lockdown have meant we need to reduce our costs, and we did this in part by asking employees to take a temporary 10% wage cut. It’s not clear what you mean by a 90% cut, but only one employee left the company over this issue. The conversations with the employee in question were amicable throughout, with a mutual understanding of each party’s position. This employee was not interested (or asked) to take part in the furlough scheme, nor in accepting even a temporary 10% wage reduction. The possible outcome of termination was explained, well understood and accepted. Non-obligatory, confidential arrangements were also made to support that employee’s transition to a new opportunity.

  7. Helpful (2)

    "Great environment"

    5.0
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in London, England
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

    I worked at Smarkets full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Great food, beautiful office, friendly coworkers, initiative is rewarded, positive failure culture, honest, transparent, open minded, reflective culture. Very approachable leadership team, and direct communication between leadership and all employees . Would recommend to people who like to get actively involved.

    Cons

    bad gender diversity in engineering (I saw people taking this seriously and trying to improve it, but change is slow). Guidance is sometimes lacking. Although most people are very supportive, confidence and assertiveness is sometimes more useful here than skill.

  8. Helpful (2)

    "Great people who care"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Technical Recruiter in London, England
    Recommends

    I have been working at Smarkets full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    - Intelligent and kind people who are great at what they do - Management is open-minded when it comes to making changes to practices and process - Relaxed and autonomous working environment - Chefs are v.good, healthy and delicious meals every day! - Flexible working hours - Transparency across the board when it comes to company or individual performance

    Cons

    - The benefits package is pretty lean - Employee retention has not been great this year, although I'm optimistic this will dramatically improve next year :)

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  9. Helpful (2)

    "mid stage tech startup"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    Current Employee - Software Engineer 
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Smarkets full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    good dev culture, high learning curve, budget for courses / personal development, self management (no managers), perks - tasty food 3 meals a day, flexible working hours

    Cons

    culture is changing as company is growing

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  10. Helpful (9)

    "Tough But Rewarding"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in London, England
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Smarkets full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    - Great office in what must be one of the best locations in London (St Katharine's dock) - Incredible food (Alex - you are a legend) - Very smart people - The onboarding process is excellent. You move between teams and get to know a lot of people very quickly. That early effort they put into you pays huge dividends in a company where you have to make things happen yourself. - The flat structure leads to the most productive environment I've ever worked in. - The company is still trying to stay as flat as it can be - and whilst that can be challenging - it is an amazing experience and I am convinced that Smarkets is part of the vanguard of the right way to run an IT company. Jason Trost is a pretty intense person (I imagine that's a common trait amongst CEOs), but I really enjoyed his All Hands sessions. He would answer any question whatsoever. He neither expected nor wanted deference. To me that was inspirational as it's the only place I've ever worked where I really felt like you could say it like it was.

    Cons

    - I put on 8kgs in one year - The ethos is - you build it, you support it. You learn a lot, but it's tiring. - The productivity comes at a price. You are productive because there isn't a lot of red tape. However, you constantly feel the need to prove yourself. - Not much management also means no clear career progression. I can't work out if that's a good or a bad thing. - Betting is not the most noble profession. However, Smarkets have at least driven down the shameful commissions that were being charged before they came on the scene.

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