Beyond the Pitch
Rev1 Ventures Helps Startups Tackle Talent Gap
Midwest Investor Startup Studio Reveals Top Tips for Attracting Talent in a Tight Market
Columbus, OH—August 21, 2018—Columbus’ growing startup community combined with a lower than average unemployment rate is posing a significant challenge for startups looking to recruit and retain top talent. This scenario is playing out across the Midwest where founders are flocking to start companies outside of Silicon Valley. Today, Rev1 Ventures, the investor startup studio that combines capital and strategic services to build great companies, announced its progress in tackling the talent gap, including helping its growing portfolio find and fill 22 C-level executive positions.
“Talent is a critical component of building a successful company. When entrepreneurs don’t hire and retain the right talent, it can cripple or even kill their business,” said Lora Zotter, director of talent programs at Rev1 Ventures. “Building a product and building a team are very different skill sets, but with equally powerful impact on the trajectory of a company. Rev1 is focused on helping founders identify their most acute talent gaps and the resources they need to leverage along the way to hiring and retaining the right talent.”
While Ohio leads the Midwest in its density of high-growth companies and Columbus has been ranked the top city for scaling startups by the Kauffman Foundation, the talent gap continues to be a very real issue.
“As our startup economy grows – and our city continues to attract major national corporate attention, the talent gap will only intensify,” said Kristy Campbell, COO at Rev1 Ventures. “Among our 80+ portfolio companies, there are more than 75 open jobs at any given time; roles that take over 100 days to fill. We take an all-in approach to help entrepreneurs be smart about the ways they recruit and retain their talent, including attracting key hires from outside of the region.”
“As part of Rev1’s mentor program, I connected with AwareAbility Technologies in a part-time, advisory role and was excited by their vision,” said Larry Larson, former Navy test pilot and current strategy and marketing chief at AwareAbility. “During my advisory position, I saw a great opportunity to assist a growing, high-tech company and the partnership went so well that I eventually joined the company full-time.”
Rev1 is sharing additional best practices for how entrepreneurs can uncover and cultivate top talent:
- Be honest about your weaknesses. Whether you’re a team of ten or a team of one, think about the skill gaps that exist within your company so you can identify candidates with the type of experience that will accelerate your growth. Be honest with yourself and solicit feedback from others to ensure you’re realistic about your biggest challenges.
- Diversify the talent search to diversify your team. Research shows that companies with greater gender and racial diversity drive nearly 15x more sales revenue than companies with the lowest diversity, proving that it literally pays to build an inclusive team. It is harder to diversify if your first few hires are homogenous, so branch out beyond your typical hiring pool to seek out diversity of all types—race, gender, culture, and education. Look to organizations like i.c. Stars*, Tech Elevator, Bunker Labs and other diverse organizations, events, and associations to find mentors, board members, and executives.
- Foster what you find. When you think you’ve found the right hire, do your due diligence to ensure it’s a two-way fit. That means ensuring that each new hire understands and appreciates a startup environment – including being a proactive, flexible self-starter who will dig-in when and where needed. Also make sure you and new team members are aligned on their role and function with the company, and what success looks like for their role, both short-term and long-term.
- Think outside of the full-time box. A good team doesn’t always mean a full-time team or a full-time salary. Many experts are willing to serve in an advisory role and some may even volunteer pro bono to help in the beginning stages. There are also different compensation structures to accommodate different roles – you don’t always have to offer equity. Consider engaging team members, particularly c-level hires, on a fractional role and pay structure. Just because people aren’t full-time immediately doesn’t mean their role won’t evolve to greater participation in the future.
- Play up your perks. Focus on the positives of working for a startup (i.e. flexibility, camaraderie, close collaboration with company leadership, building something new), along with the benefits of your location – specifically for those outside of Silicon Valley (i.e. cost of living, shorter commute, proximity to research institutions and investors, etc.). Remember that there are many unique benefits to working for your company.
“We made a conscious effort to grow Updox in Ohio because of the people. There is a large pool of talented, committed and innovative people across all ranges of skills,” said Michael Morgan, CEO of Updox. “When you combine that with powerful connections to Fortune 1000 corporations, research institutions, and strategic investors, it creates the perfect environment for building and growing sustainable companies that solve real-world problems and help prove that success is attainable outside of Silicon Valley.”
About Rev1 Ventures
Rev1 Ventures is the investor startup studio that combines capital and strategic services to help startups scale and corporates innovate. Based in the Midwest, and in a top city for scaling startups, Rev1 aligns innovators and founders with corporate and research partners to access customers and markets, helping entrepreneurs build great companies. With a proven track record of identifying, guiding, and investing in high potential startups, Rev1 helps companies solve real problems for markets in need of real solutions. Rev1 has $90MM in capital under management, providing a capital continuum from corporate and community partners, as well as the Ohio Third Frontier. Rev1 has been named among the Most Active VCs in the Great Lakes Region for the past three years in a row according to PitchBook. For more information, visit www.rev1ventures.com.
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