There are dozens of different places to find a job -- on IT career boards and job sites, company Websites, industry associations, trade shows, university placement offices, and through your brother-in-law's cousin at the Raccoon Lodge. But one source you probably have not considered is your friendly neighborhood venture capitalist.
VCs may have a dozen or more young companies in their stables, most of them needing skilled engineers, executives, and managers. The founders of those funded startups regularly turn to their VCs for help in finding staff. It may be worthwhile, then, to get your résume into the hands of as many VCs as you can.
Diana Jovin, CEO and cofounder of procurement services provider CascadeWorks (www.cascadeworks.com), says that the initial team is of paramount importance. "It's very difficult to found a company as an individual," she said. "You have to look at what you're missing, what skill sets you need to have on the team to cover as much breadth as possible because all of you are going to be wearing a lot of hats initially." But for high-tech startups, finding good IT specialists, engineers, and executives is a difficult task, especially when you're preoccupied with trying to launch a startup. That's why Jovin and other entrepreneurs turn to their venture capitalists as a resource. It is, after all, in the VC's best interest to make sure that the company being funded has the best people running it.
Venture capital firm Accel Partners (www.accel.com) is particularly proactive in recruiting, according to Senior Recruiting Partner Teri McFadden. Accel created the recruiting partner position a little over a year ago in response to the tremendous need for skilled staff within Accel's portfolio companies. "We have a great network of executive recruiters that take on searches for these companies," McFadden said.
Gary Hermanson, CEO of Brightmail (www.brightmail.com), a San Francisco-based integrated messaging provider, agrees that a VC often wears almost as many hats as the entrepreneur. "Most importantly, the VC is a matchmaker," he said. "Within their community of portfolio companies, there is an ability to generate resumes of people within those companies, so that as people leave or organizations change, résumes of people within those companies come to us through the VC network. Theoretically, if we were going to get out of the software business and go into the hardware business and had to let some people go, our investors would have other portfolio companies that might have a need for software engineers. Those résumes regularly come to us in that fashion."
Satyen Kothari, cofounder and CEO of Trapezo, an ASP that allows businesses such as emarketplaces or content providers to dynamically exchange content, said "it's amazing how many people can contribute to getting the recruiting machine going."
Kothari believes that the VC's involvement is a plus. "In the startup world, you're selling a dream. The VC adds credibility to the dream," he said.
In sum, a venture capitalist does a lot more than write huge checks. A venture capitalist is a power broker. If you have an IT skill and experience, chances are good that one would like to talk to you.