Getting the right talent on board is always a challenge, whether you are a multinational, SMB or a startup. But the challenge is magnified when you are running a startup. One not only needs the right fit, but also someone who shares the dream and passion to build the entrepreneurial venture.
So how does a startup go about building its dream team?
HeadStart Higher, an initiative of HeadStart Network Foundation is aiding startups in India by facilitating meetings between startups and self-driven individuals who want to be part of the burgeoning ecosystem. And it does it in a zippy speed dating way.
Conducted on July 13, 2014 in Mumbai, the hiring initiative saw a great turnout. Spread over the entire day, it was kickstarted with 28 passionate startups — ranging from very early-stage to established and well funded — pitching to 80 applicants. They essentially took two minutes to talk about their business and the kind of team they are looking to build. This was followed by two speed dating rounds — tech and non tech.
Romil Shah, HeadStarter, who led HeadStart Higher Mumbai 2014 said, “Hiring is the biggest challenge for startups and it is not easy to find someone who is both, talented and a cultural fit. A platform such as HeadStart Higher is much needed to facilitate startups help build a team that understands the essence of a startup and shares the same passion as the founders.”
The startups that came and hopefully conquered
The Mumbai leg of Headstart Higher saw a very interesting mix of startups. From well established and well funded companies such as taxi aggregator app Taxi for Sure and e-commerce platform Mirraw to just about to launch lifestyle startups Vanity Homme and Akhuratha. Other well know startups that participated include Audio Compass, Videogram, Bazinga Labs, Drishtant, among others.
Applicants looking to join the startup companies comprised 30 techies and 50 non techies, ranging from freshers to senior level with more than eight years of experience.
How did it pan out?
The candidates that apply to be part of HeadStart Higher are curated carefully. More than 350 individuals sent in applications, of which only 80 were selected for the final round.
During the speed dating session, each candidate was given three minutes with a startup to explain why they should be hired and for the startup to determine if they are looking at their future star team member. At the end of three minutes, with the sound of a whistle, candidates had to move on to the next ‘date’.
Of course, possible matches could then take the conversation offline and close the deal.
Similar initiatives were also organised in Hyderabad and Bangalore in the month of April this year. Bangalore saw more than 450 people apply, of which 80 were curated for the final event, and about 35 startups participated. Hyderabad saw 200 plus applicants; 70 were selected and 30 startups joined in.
“HeadStart Higher Mumbai 2014 turned out to be immensely meaningful for the startups and candidates, with many requests pouring in to make it quarterly and to take it to many more cities beyond Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and
Hyderabad. We will look into making the HeadStart Higher more vibrant and elaborate with each passing year to inspire candidates to work for startups,” added Shah.
Along with Shah, the other HeadStarters include Milita Dutta, Amit Shetty, Arun Kumar Waghehoure , Kaushal Raj and Snehal Dhruve.
Headstart Network Foundation is a non-profit organisation purely driven by passionate volunteers to strengthen the startup ecosystem in India.