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Why We Love Recruiting for Series A Funded Startups

In previous articles, we've shared all the reasons why we love recruiting in specific markets across North America like Boston, Kitchener, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. 

Today we want to highlight the persona of tech companies we invest most of our time recruiting for: Series A funded startups!  

In fact, since the founding of our North American executive recruitment firm 20 years ago, 80% of our clients are venture-backed tech startups. A large number of those ventures are at a very early stage; sometimes seed-funded, but more often Series A funded. 

Here are the top 5 reasons why we love recruiting on behalf of these Series A startups and most importantly their Founders.

Vision

No surprise this is the number reason we love recruiting for Series A backed startups. Early-stage Founders are the visionaries people want to get behind, including us.

Our Founder & CEO, Martyn Bassett has long been considered a thought leader to tech Founders. Over the last 20 years, he has been regularly referred to first-time Founders in the process of raising their first formal round and looking to begin hiring strategically across Product, Sales, or Marketing.

Whether a Founder is looking to improve the lives of others with a deeply missional purpose, or to improve efficiencies and reduce costs across legacy industries, or is even ready to risk it all to champion a moonshot others only dreamed of taking - these stories and visions are truly inspiring. Our team feels so fortunate when we have the opportunity to take these stories to market and share a Founders' vision with candidates.

These amazing visionaries are the number one reason we love recruiting for Series A-backed startups.

Salesmanship 

Whatever the demographic of the early-stage Founder is, those who become most successful all have one quality in common, they can sell the dream. 

A Founder's ability to capture the attention of an audience and move them to action, whether an investor, an early adopter, or in our case a future employee, is the second reason we love recruiting on behalf of Series A backed startups.

As companies get larger with more complexities to the hiring process, attracting employees tends to get replaced with interviewing applicants. To the degree that some organizations even lose sight of why they're interviewing in the first place.

Series A funded startups, however, have Founders who are personally involved in strategic hires and are excited to tell their story in a way that draws people into wanting to join.  

A compelling Founder is one of the most effective attraction tools which a Series A startup has. While a more mature tech company might have more money, Allstar board members, high profile media - a typical Series A has none of those things.

What they do have is a Founder intent on selling their dream to anyone who will listen, which is why it's the second reason we love recruiting for Series A funded startups.

Partnership

Often the Founder of a Series A-backed startup is doing everything for the first time. While a Founder's MBA may have taught them the way things 'should be', the real world is more intense, time-stressed and the pressure is indescribable.  

One wrong decision of a strategic hire and you've lost time and perhaps also your credibility with your investors.

Just as most Founders engage experts for Finance and Legal, so do top tech Founders when it comes to building their leadership teams and making other strategic hires.

Working with Founders who are learning on the fly while they build and run their company is a familiar setting for us. Some of our recruiting experiences partnering with Founders include:

  • A CPO search for a company whose product was pre-release and shrouded in mystery; known only as "Project X." 
  • A US-based search for a DTC wellness brand that needed to hire their first VP Product capable of building a SaaS business.
  • A Head of Product search to join 3 Founders with a mission to take their product idea from a napkin drawing to a market release.
  • A Product Lead search for a 30-person payments/Fintech who would be tasked with developing the roadmap of their integration strategy.

Partnerships require commitments from both parties to achieve a successful outcome. Our retained services model is effective because it means we commit to the outcome, the hire.

Due diligence on the part of any Founder is essential to finding the right recruiting partner. Not all recruitment firms apply the same approaches to the service they provide - knowing when to leverage a strategic partner is an essential part of a Founder’s journey. One we are incredibly honored to join and the number three reason we love to partner with Series A startups.

Flexibility 

It has been our experience working with Series A funded startups that the Founders of these companies are the most flexible they will ever be. 

Hustle plus few cemented operational standards and processes allow for flexibility. We like that and so do the thousands of candidates we speak with: 

  • Flexibility on the title: no problem. They're the only ones on the team anyways.
  • Flexibility to bring their dog to the office: no problem. There’s already an office iguana and hamster.
  • Flexibility to take on more than just the typical function: no problem. Initiative and future leadership are highly desired traits.
  • Flexibility to work 100% remote: no problem. Office space is too expensive. 
  • Flexibility to experiment in different growth channels: no problem. Figuring out how to grow the business is the number one priority.

Founders who are opportunistic and flexible have a greater likelihood of attracting the talent they need. This is why their flexibility is the fourth reason we love working with Series A-backed tech startups and their Founders.

Action Oriented 

For all the same reasons Series A companies are flexible, they are also prone to action. Once a Series A round happens, what typically follows is a flurry of hiring led by pent-up demand for certain functions which has stalled due to resource or skill constraints.

We are always impressed with how Series A Founders are prone to action and make decisions quickly. When it comes to hiring in this great resignation, speed and action are essential. Candidates have a flurry of opportunities and tend to move very quickly once they are available. 

The ability of a Founder to execute and hire with speed is the fifth reason we love recruiting for Series A venture-backed startups and their Founders.

While our company loves to hire Series A startups, it’s not without its struggles. In today's market, attracting and hiring top talent is not easy for anyone. Series A startups have their own challenges to overcome, which we'll cover next week. Stay tuned!