Pack hunting for talent

19:56, Jan 22 2013
Serial entrepreneur Justin Ryan Scott.

Technology entrepreneurs will be making a case for their startups to a different sort of audience than angels and co-founders. 

Representatives of mostly early-stage ventures will be pitching to potential employees in 'Join a Startup' events at the end of January.

 “This was a pretty ad-hoc solution to a problem,” says co-organiser Justin Ryan Scott, a serial entrepreneur. “There are many events for startups and technical people all around the country. There has been much talk of  ‘founder dating’ events in Auckland, but we have a surplus of startups looking for co-founders, and not enough skilled people looking to join startups, so events of this nature don't help to find skilled talent.”

Scott and fellow Join a Startup organiser Tom Kluyskens recruited three other organisations searching for talent, found a sponsor to donate the venues and spread the word to candidates through influencers and business networks. Join a Startup is meant to help entrepreneurs keep the momentum of their business plan, without necessarily going through more traditional recruitment paths like agencies and headhunters.

 “That can be costly and ineffective, so it might not work for early-stage startups,” says Scott.

He says the pooling together of startups to pitch to potential employees may not be new to the country. It is, however, very much an endeavor of its time. The five participating organisations (incuding software company Biomatters, at nearly a decade old the 'odd one out' in this group) are tapping their networks, online and off.


 “We've spread the word mostly by asking for the help of the influencers,” Scott says. “Meetup group organisers, influential people who support the startup ecosystem and through our own networks.”

 Scott, who started his first company in 2009 and is now involved with his fourth tech startup, Copono, jokes that he has no idea what entrepreneurs did before the rise of social networking.

“MeetUp groups are one of the best places to network with passionate, motivated people in the same boat as you,” Scott says.

Copono - and Kluysken’s company Made on Jupiter - will be joined in Wellington on January 29 by education software startup What’s for Lunch?; and in Auckland on January 30 by Snackle and Biomatters. Microsoft BizSpark donated space for both events.

Participants in the events will give 10-minute presentations on their companies to explain the roles they’re looking to fill, with an opportunity for potential employees to put their hands up, while allowing other entrepreneurs searching for co-founders to network.

“The mix of people we're already seeing register is diverse in age groups,” says Scott. “We have university graduates, experienced technologists, entrepreneurs also seeking co-founders and all sorts. It's mostly a mix of technical people and entrepreneurs of all ages.”