With heightened entrepreneurial activity in India, attracting talent has become a core focus area for start-ups. I have sat through many discussions ranging from lessons to keep in mind when recruiting for start-ups to attracting great talent, and what their key motivators are.
Let me begin with the motivators and then move on to the lessons for recruiting for start-ups.
Clearly, there are other motivators besides money in a startup decision - such as sense of purpose, role that one can play, and so on. However, the more I talk to entrepreneurs around, the more evident is the lack of a financial incentive that works.
Recently, in a closed door discussion with a group of entrepreneurs, one thing that I figured out was that there was near unanimity that employees do not value ESOP grants. There were still some people who were allocating ESOP, especially to early/core team, but with very little conviction. One of the things that also came up was whether the entrepreneurs themselves understood this well enough and believed that it can make a difference.
In my opinion, the key gap is in building a perception value around ESOPs. It is about highlighting and celebrating successes. Start-ups might want to make early/core employees understand that if the venture works, the team can make far more than they will ever earn (yes, even after accounting for high salary increases that we all experience).
Quasar Technologies, a global provider of Web 2.0 Ajax –based ECP solutions came out with its ESOP success stories of employees who made about one crore each when WPP acquired a majority stake in the company. (You can read more about this at http://www.venturewoods.org/index.php/2008/06/17/esop-successes-quasar-crorepatis/
I would love to welcome your thoughts on alternate incentive mechanisms that serve the purpose of attracting and retaining quality talent for start-ups.
Coming on to lessons for start-ups when in the need of recruiting good/great talent:
· Sell a personal vision - not just of where the company wants to be, but also why the prospective candidate should get involved. Money? Significance? Career advancement? Broad-skilling?
· Build credibility - let others speak for you. Customers? Investors? Advisors?
· Prepare well - have a detailed view on why you need this person - is he going to feel overqualified once he comes in?
· Hire the best - this is a motherhood statement, but one which can’t be emphasized enough, especially for startups.
Alok Mitta, Managing Director
iYogi on World Environment Day, June 5, 2008 talked about some quick tips to help make PCs green and contributing to the drive to reduce carbon emissions. These simple tips included using green search, use of LCD monitors, optimizing the PCs power setting with the iYogi toolbar, reduced power consumption with Windows Vista and turning off peripherals when PC not in use.
Consim Info (earlier known as BharatMatrimony) will be organizing a Hindi Brahmin meet in Indore on July 6, 2008. This is a part of the ‘Swayamvars’ conducted by BharatMatrimony, a service which creates a platform for prospects and parents to interact directly with each other. The company conducts these ‘Walk-in Swayamvars’ in various cities across India as well in other countries on a regular basis.
Peer39 recently announced the closure of an $8 million Series B round of financing with Canaan Partners as the lead investor. The company also unveiled its most advanced semantic advertising platform – ‘SemanticMatch’ which is based on natural language processing and machine learning. Peers39 maintained that the platform’s algorithms enable precision targeting down to the page level – providing more relevant display ads for users than ever before.
Zoosk an online social dating network recently raised $4.1 million in the second round of venture funding. The round was led by Canaan Partners with participation from previous backer. San Francisco-based Zoosk’s social dating application integrates with existing social networks including Facebook, Bebo and MySpace. The company will use the funds to expand its marketing efforts, develop new features, and expand its subscriber base across additional social networks.
TiE-Canaan Entrepreneurial Challenge 2008 will witness the final phase of the event on July 5, 2008 at 7:30 pm, when the final three winners of the challenge this year will be announced. Canaan Partners invites you to witness an event celebrating the spirit of entrepreneurship in India at the Jacaranda Hall, India Habitat Centre, Delhi. The event will also entail a panel discussion on the entrepreneurial environment in India with who’s-who of the industry at panel. For more details on the same, please visit: http://www.tienewdelhi.org/canaan/08
The fourth edition of Proto.in is going to be held in IIT Delhi on 18 and 19, July and will witness a rare amalgamation of the entire entrepreneurial ecosystem. The 15 startups, who will share the stage to discuss their business plans, demonstrate their prototypes and launch their products, have qualified very high selection criteria set to ensure high standards. This edition promises to have all new Fastrack Sessions on Day One, where the best of the experienced entrepreneurs, businesses, and professionals will share their experiences with the young entrepreneurs and prospective entrepreneurs. Canaan Partners will also participate at the event as one of the 30 Venture Capital Firms at the event, also including NASSCOM’s India Innovation Fund.
Canaan Partners invests in entrepreneurs and works alongside them to turn visionary ideas into valuable companies. Since 1987, the firm has catalyzed the growth of disruptive technology startups and healthcare companies revolutionizing the practice of medicine. With $3.4 billion under management and more than 95 acquisitions and 55 IPOs to date, Canaan has funded companies such as Acme Packet, Associated Content (acquired by Yahoo), CommerceOne, DoubleClick (acquired by Google), ID Analytics (acquired by LifeLock), Match.com (acquired by IAC), SandForce (acquired by LSI), SuccessFactors (acquired by SAP) and Virsto Software (acquired by VMware), as well as notable healthcare companies such as Advanced BioHealing (acquired by Shire), BiPar Sciences (acquired by Sanofi), Chimerix (NASDAQ: CMRX) and Elevation Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Sunovion). Current technology investments include Blurb, Kabam, Lending Club, Performance Marketing Brands, SOASTA, Tremor Video (TRMR), and Zoosk in the U.S.; BharatMatrimony, Loylty Rewardz and UnitedLex in India; and PrimeSense and LiveU in Israel. The Canaan healthcare portfolio includes emerging leaders such as Liquidia Technologies, Civitas Therapeutics and DICOM Grid. Canaan maintains a presence in the global innovation hubs of Silicon Valley, New York City, India and Israel. For more information visit www.canaan.com or www.facebook.com/canaanpartners. Follow us on Twitter @canaanpartners.
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