Category: jobs

12
Jan

Hiring for Lean Startups: The First Few Hires

 

I was having coffee with a founder the other day and we started talking about his hiring plans. Since he’s a non-technical founder (which Ben Yoskovitz claims is a dead-end to begin with) he had several top coders in mind, all of whom were earning big bucks with larger companies.

“I’m paying them a little bit of money but they’ll join full time once I can raise money,” said the founder. It’s something I hear a lot, especially from non-techie founders.

I went back to review some blog posts on Lean hiring, and I came across Eric’s post “Lean Hiring Tips

” and Mark MacLeod’s “Fat Hiring for Lean Startups“. Both are worth your time. But I think they’re also written for startups that are already up and running and need to expand. I’m interested in very early stage hiring, e.g. when you’re one person looking for a co-founder or you’re two people looking for your core team.

Companies always take on the characteristics of their founders and in the rush to scale, I find many startups don’t stop to consider how they’re establishing the DNA of their company. The first few hires are the most important ones you’ll make.

  • Hire for an experimental mindset – Look for people who enjoy encountering problems, designing ways to solve them, and finding proof of success or failure. Skill at building, whether it’s software or a marketing plan or a sales funnel, is irrelevant at this point. You need people who will volunteer to scrap their plans, not fight you when you want to change course.

How? Join a hackathon, Lean Machine or just create your own (laptop + Starbucks = hackathon). Give your (potential) team a crazy challenge and see who exhibits the right behaviours.

  • Hire generalists – A lot of people will disagree with this advice. If you can find the best Python developer in the country go for it. But only if she’s also willing to cold call customers, crank out some Web site copy and help you whiteboard the business model. Your #1 focus is to find a business model that works. The latent technical talent on your bench won’t help you unless you graduate from this first phase

How? Again, hackathons are great practical tests. No matter what their skillset, look for passion about your business model and solving customer problems.

  • Prioritize UX over development – This is easier said than done since there’s a shortage of UX talent. But it’s better to have a kick-ass UX person and a mediocre developer than the other way around. UX will help you find your business model and most (good) UX people already have an experimental mindset and generalist attitude

How? Actively seek out UX people, not just developers. You may need to work at a distance if you can’t find local talent. Consider working with less experienced people if they can prove themselves through testing.

  • Get skin in the game – Leaving a six figure job to join your startup for a paycut is not skin in the game, or not enough in my books. Hire those people later when you’ve found your business model, have money in the bank, and need to scale. Skin in the game means working full time, just like you are. It means putting their reputation on the line, raising Ramen funding from friends/family/spouses and saying “I’m going to see this through until we fail.”

How? Stop feeling like you’re a poor startup that can’t afford to pay top salaries. Those aren’t the droids you’re looking for. Think of finding your co-founders like raising your first round. You need to get them excited to invest in your business.

I know this advice seems to apply better to “Web” startups than general technology startups, which is a common criticism of Lean startups in general. But I think it applies more broadly. If you hire for the right attitude, you not only solve the critical product-market fit problem, but you set the DNA of your business right from the start. I guess I haven’t seen too many examples of startups failing because they lacked a specific technical skill. They probably think they failed because of it though.

In the end, I guess “hiring” is the wrong word to begin with. You’re looking for people to co-found a business with you. You aren’t buying their skills, you’re asking them to invest in helping you shape the course of your business from the very beginning. Maybe not all of them (including yourself) will be able to scale up with the business. That’s a problem for another day.

28
Oct

Flow is seeking to hire and experienced SRED Writer

Flow is looking to hire an experienced SRED Writer in Montreal, Ottawa or Toronto to work with us on a contractual basis, possibly leading to a permanent position. Your role would be to help us take raw data and information to help us create R&D technical documentation for SRED claims as well as other government grants and subsidies that Flow prepares for our clients.

Responsibilities include:

Translating raw data into key concepts to create content for technical documentation

Writing technical documents for SRED claims

Writing and filling in government forms for grants and subsidies.

Skills and experiences required:

Previous experience with SRED

Exceptional English writing skills

Capable to write creative and well structured documents

Previous experience in software development

Deep understanding of web based & internet technologies

Ability to work independently

Excellent interpersonal skills

Meticulous attention to detail

Please send your CV to pbailey@flowventures.com

Please note that only qualified candidates will be contacted

19
Oct

Job Opening at Flow for a Bookkeeper/Administrator

We’ve got an opening for a multi-talented bookkeeper/administrator here at Flow Ventures. Please feel free to spread the word!


Flow Ventures is a thriving consulting company in the lively high tech (“startup”) sector. We require an experienced bookkeeper/admin to be the linchpin of its operations for a full-time position. We are seeking someone who is organized but also creative enough to see the big picture. You will have the latitude to implement the changes you see fit to make the organization run more efficiently and more smoothly. This job is ideal for someone who values their independence, doesn’t mind a little responsibility and can work self-directed.

MANDATORY SKILLS:
  • Min. 3 years experience with Quickbooks including reconciliations and reporting.
  • Experience with government filings like GST/QST, RLZ-1 and DAS
  • Experience with payroll
  • Excellent spoken and written communication
  • Proven ability to keep a small offfice organized, support a team and juggle priorities
  • Very strong aptitude for computers (MS Office, web applications etc)
  • Bilingual

NECESSARY QUALITIES:
  • independent
  • love what you do
  • sense of humour
  • diplomacy

Please forward your CV and a cover letter to jobs@flowventures.com with the “BOOKKEEPER” in the subject line. Only qualified candidates will be contacted.
13
Apr

Summer Internship Opportunities at Flow Ventures

Flow Ventures is looking for some amazing entrepreneurial interns for the summer.

You will fit a multi-tasking niche in a tight knit team located in Old Montreal.

What we do:

  • We are angel investors and grow startups from concept to execution.
  • We accelerate startups in Canada and the US.
  • We are startup community agitators (Startup Drinks CA, Startup Digest Montreal)

What you’ll learn:

  • You’ll learn how to research and critically evaluate a business model and contribute to its quick iteration.
  • You’ll learn how to run successful events and meet hundreds of entrepreneurs and investors in the process.
  • You’ll learn how operations fit strategy.
  • You’ll learn that sales is tough but that you’re tougher.

Who you are:

  • Approaching the end of your bachelor’s degree
  • Self motivated and independent
  • Able to juggle projects and priorities
  • Comfortable with the web and social media tools
  • Good networker

This is an unpaid internship that will begin as soon as your exams end and when your next semester begins. Through this process, you will meet startup founders, CTOs, angel investors and VCs. It will be rigorous and demanding and thoroughly rewarding.

Send your CV and a cover letter to Robin Ahn at rahn[at]flowventures.com. Only qualified candidates will be contacted.

www.flowventures.com

www.artanywhere.com

www.startupdrinks.ca

UPDATE: Art Anywhere, a Flow Ventures company, is also looking for an intern looking to leap headfirst into the world of PopUp! Galleries.  Learn more here!

23
Oct

Seeking an Exceptional Technical Writer

Flow Ventures invests in and accelerates startups. Our unique model combines financing, strategy and hands-on operational services designed to grow new ventures quickly and efficiently. At Flow, you’ll work with experienced technology entrepreneurs who have built, financed and managed high-growth companies. Flow accelerates startups by operating key areas including finance, software development, HR, business development and administration. This allows entrepreneurs to focus on their products and their customers rather than building infrastructure and capacity.

Flow has worked with startups in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa. We’re contributors to the tech entrepreneurship community either as organizers, sponsors or participants in various events.

Flow is looking to hire a Technical Writer in either Montreal or Toronto to work with us on a contractual basis, possibly leading to a permanent position. Your role would be to help us gather raw data and information to help us create R&D technical documentation for SRED claims as well as other government grants and subsidies that Flow prepares for our clients.

Responsibilities include:

  • Visiting our clients to gather information from their R & D and Engineering teams
  • Translating raw data into key concepts to create content for technical documentation
  • Writing technical documents for SRED claims
  • Writing and filling in government forms for grants and subsidies.

Skills and experiences required:

  • Previous experience with SRED
  • Exceptional English writing skills
  • Capable to write creative and well structured documents
  • Previous experience in software development
  • Deep understanding of web based & internet technologies
  • Ability to work independently
  • Excellent interpersonal skills
  • Meticulous attention to detail

To apply please send your resume to pbailey@flowventures.com

Candidates will be required to complete a writing test.

*Only qualified candidates who match hiring criteria will be contacted.

19
Aug

August Startup Drinks in Toronto and Montreal! Update: now Ottawa too!

The inaugural Startup Drinks Toronto had over 100 people thanks to David Crow and his organizing efforts.  Montreal had another really nice mid-summer showing as well! We’re back for another round this Wednesday, August 26 in Montreal and Toronto for more startup networking.

For Toronto:

Venue: C’est What,  67 Front Street East, Corner Farquhars Lane

When: Wednesday, August 26, 2009 from 6pm

Sign up: here or on Facebook, if you prefer

For Montreal:

Venue: Brutopia, 1215 Crescent St (South of Ste-Catherine, Metro Guy)

When: Wednesday, July 29, 2009 from 5:30pm

Sign up at TechEntreprise

As always, I look forward to seeing you there!

Robin

UPDATE!

If you’re reading this from the fair city of Ottawa, you can also join in the synchronous fun too thanks to Scott Annan from Mercury Grove!

Here are the details:

– Date: Wednesday, 26 August, 2009
– Location: Metropolitan Brasserie, 700 Sussex, Street level entrance (map)
– Time: 6pm until late

Sign up here!

09
Mar

Join a startup! Launching Flow’s Startup Jobs site

It’s a reminder of the great little innovation bubble we live in that we always hear about startups trying to grow while the rest of the business world seems to be shrinking. Sure, startups are affected by the recession but that doesn’t mean firing is a bigger concern than hiring. Just the opposite.

We’ve just launched a new section of our site where we’ll be highlighting jobs at great startups in the Flow Ventures network (our investments, our clients and our friends). We’ll also be promoting entrepreneurs who are looking to find co-founders. If you’re looking for co-founders (no matter where you are), send us a bit about yourself and who you’re looking for. We’ll help get the word out.

Take a look: http://flowventures.standoutjobs.com

by kandyjaxx (Creative Commons)

by kandyjaxx (Creative Commons)

At Flow Ventures, we have the privilege of working with startups from the idea stage to periods of rapid growth. One thing experienced entrepreneurs know is that there isn’t anything more important than building a great team. But it’s not easy. You have to find people with a combination of skill, passion (bordering on fanaticism), and humor. When you’re trying to find co-founders, you need people who understand that your project is a long-term commitment.

We’re launching with postings for a senior C# Web developer, two front-end developers (here and here), a project manager

, and a PHP developer/founder for a file-sharing startup. Stay tuned for more.