It’s people, people!

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How do I know that emerging technology is still booming? It is incredibly difficult and competitive to recruit, hire and retain people with startup experience across Canada. Just look at the number of jobs posted on the StartupNorth Job postings:

The number one budget item for startups is headcount. For most companies, the people costs far exceed the costs associated with hosting, etc. I don’t know about you but we’re not designing our own servers or opening data centers near the Arctic to reduce the cost of computing and power consumption. It means that the people are the biggest cost for a startup as they grow.

This is different during the initial creation of many of the startups in the bootstrapping phase. We’ve seen a lot of startups get to Minimum Viable Product and start the process of finding a scaleable business model keeping their headcount costs low or close to zero. You might infer that the experience at YCombinator or TechStars or 500Startups is designed to give entrepreneurs the bare minimum of capital and put them in a focused, competitive environment with a deadline (Demo Day) to do the customer development and build the connections necessary for the next stage. Upon exit, many of these companies raise a significant amount of capital. Have you asked yourself why?

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It’s to hire the best people. And it turns out that hiring the best people is not something that can be easily solved with a job posting, or a tweet, or free iPad. Recruiting is Hard! And at startups, it can be difficult to step away from fund raising, product development and customer engagement to focus on the thing that can make or break your business. Ben Yoskovitz wrote a great summary post of his efforts to Recruit and Hire Top People for a Startup that every founder should read:

The war for talent across Canada is just beginning. During my time at VeloCity at UWaterloo, I was impressed at the number of US companies and startups that were actively recruiting on campus. And the established companies aren’t alone, we have seen an increase in the amount of US investments (looking at you GoInstant, Vidyard, TribeHR, Kik, Playerize, Enflick, Shopify, Hootsuite, A Thinking Ape, and others). This will undoubtedly lead to increasing salaries (see @byosko’s # 4 prediction for 2012 in Montreal). It doesn’t even take into consider the continuing recruiting efforts that companies like Rypple, Radian6, Dayforce. For startups, we are going to need to improve our culture and game to keep talent. And getting your startup to a point to raise enough money to pay competitive salaries is going to be the baseline to play in 2012.

If you are designer, marketer or developer and you are curious at who is hiring or if you want an introduction, drop me a note with a resume (david at davidcrow dot ca) and I’ll do my best to match you with companies I know are looking.