Think RAGS for Startup Team Members


This post is by David Cummings from David Cummings on Startups

10+ years ago I read Joel Spolsky’s seminal blog post The Guerrilla Guide to Interviewing. His theories on what to look for when hiring developers have been imprinted on my mind ever since: hire people who are smart and get things done. This applies to all hiring for all startup team members, not just developers, but misses two important ingredients — attitude and grit.

Attitude permeates everything about a person. At Pardot, our values were positive, self-starting, and supportive. Each one of these values were embodied in the type of attitude we looked for in every person on our team. Of course, while values and attitude are different, attitude as a way to capture the desired personality traits works well.

Continuing with attitude, the other missing characteristic that smart and gets things done doesn’t account for is grit. Grit is the idea of resilience and not giving up in the face of adversity. Angela Duckworth popularized it as passionate persistence, which captures it well. Startups are inherently challenging, so while this might be less important in a company not focused on high growth, in the startup world grit is invaluable.

Combining these all together produces the RAGS acronym:

  • Results – Gets things done and continually makes progress
  • Attitude – Personality traits and view of the world that aligns with the core values
  • Grit – Passionate persistence, especially in challenging situations
  • Smarts – Ability to synthesize information and make quality decisions

Defining results, attitude, grit, and smarts is up to each entrepreneur and their view of the world. Overall, the big idea is that this needs to be done intentionally, not haphazardly, and everyone must be held to the RAGS standards defined by the leaders.

Metaview’s new product helps you (and us) hire top talent


This post is by Kate McGinn from Seedcamp

Hiring the right candidate can seem like a herculean endeavor. You glance over hundreds of applications, interview a handful of individuals, and then are expected to choose the ideal fit. Given the speed and complexity of this process, particularly at the interview stage, it is no wonder that hiring frequently suffers from bias and bad decision-making. 

Siadhal Magos and Shahriar Tajbakhsh recognized this problem first-hand. While making hiring decisions at Uber and Palantir, respectively, they observed that interviews are the most outcome-defining step in the recruitment process. Yet, they are subject to bias, especially when the employer has not been trained to lead rigorous interviews.

Siadhal Magos (CEO) and Shahriar Tajbakhsh (CTO) joined forces to solve the issues they saw whilst hiring talent at tech giants Uber and Palantir

With this in mind, Siadhal and Shahriar founded Metaview, an Interview Intelligence Platform.

“Interviews are vital when building an exceptional team,” co-founder Siadhal Magos comments. “Being an effective interviewer is a highly-valued skill. But there is so little data available to leaders about these crucial moments.”

Having backed the team in 2019 alongside Fly Ventures and Village Global, we are delighted to see the launch of Metaview’s new product, Interview Metrics. By recording and automatically analysing interviews, the software helps employers access data on the consistency and rigor of their hiring process. Using this unique data, Metaview is able to identify interviews that are inconsistent and lacking rigor, which leave the process overly exposed to bad or biased decisions.

“With this new product, Talent leaders can finally start to understand what is happening in the thousands of hours of interviews taking place in their organization,” Siadhal explains. “Once issues with consistency or rigour have been identified, Metaview automatically starts providing personalized feedback to interviewers to help them get back on track.”

Since our investment, Metaview has recorded, transcribed, and analyzed tens of thousands of hours of interviews. Their current customers include Bulb, AngelList, Careem, Wave, and Stedi.

“The talented team at Metaview using AI to improve interviewing effectiveness is in the sweet spot,” our Venture Partner Stephen Allott explains. “Great people solving valuable problems using leading edge technology and striking the subtle balance between what the human does and what the machine does.”

We are excited about Metaview’s potential to transform hiring from both the applicant’s and employee’s perspective, making interviewing more fair and effective. If you would like to learn more about Interview Metrics and how it works within the Metaview platform, visit metaview.ai/interview-quality.

Metaview’s new product helps you (and us) hire top talent


This post is by Kate McGinn from Seedcamp

Hiring the right candidate can seem like a herculean endeavor. You glance over hundreds of applications, interview a handful of individuals, and then are expected to choose the ideal fit. Given the speed and complexity of this process, particularly at the interview stage, it is no wonder that hiring frequently suffers from bias and bad decision-making. 

Siadhal Magos and Shahriar Tajbakhsh recognized this problem first-hand. While making hiring decisions at Uber and Palantir, respectively, they observed that interviews are the most outcome-defining step in the recruitment process. Yet, they are subject to bias, especially when the employer has not been trained to lead rigorous interviews.

Siadhal Magos (CEO) and Shahriar Tajbakhsh (CTO) joined forces to solve the issues they saw whilst hiring talent at tech giants Uber and Palantir

With this in mind, Siadhal and Shahriar founded Metaview, an Interview Intelligence Platform.

“Interviews are vital when building an exceptional team,” co-founder Siadhal Magos comments. “Being an effective interviewer is a highly-valued skill. But there is so little data available to leaders about these crucial moments.”

Having backed the team in 2019 alongside Fly Ventures and Village Global, we are delighted to see the launch of Metaview’s new product, Interview Metrics. By recording and automatically analysing interviews, the software helps employers access data on the consistency and rigor of their hiring process. Using this unique data, Metaview is able to identify interviews that are inconsistent and lacking rigor, which leave the process overly exposed to bad or biased decisions.

“With this new product, Talent leaders can finally start to understand what is happening in the thousands of hours of interviews taking place in their organization,” Siadhal explains. “Once issues with consistency or rigour have been identified, Metaview automatically starts providing personalized feedback to interviewers to help them get back on track.”

Since our investment, Metaview has recorded, transcribed, and analyzed tens of thousands of hours of interviews. Their current customers include Bulb, AngelList, Careem, Wave, and Stedi.

“The talented team at Metaview using AI to improve interviewing effectiveness is in the sweet spot,” our Venture Partner Stephen Allott explains. “Great people solving valuable problems using leading edge technology and striking the subtle balance between what the human does and what the machine does.”

We are excited about Metaview’s potential to transform hiring from both the applicant’s and employee’s perspective, making interviewing more fair and effective. If you would like to learn more about Interview Metrics and how it works within the Metaview platform, visit metaview.ai/interview-quality.

Virtual Employee Onboarding: How to Do It Right


This post is by Kelly Kinnard from Powered by Battery

Despite the economic recession and the ongoing pandemic, there are still software startups hiring briskly and onboarding employees into fully virtual new workplaces. Onboarding a new employee during the weirdest, most difficult year in most of our lifetimes is a special challenge.

Most companies weren’t great at employee onboarding in pre-pandemic times. But getting onboarding right is even more urgent now when you can’t count on the live office culture to animate the workplace for your new hires. As the employer, it’s on YOU to curate the new hire’s experience actively, so they feel welcomed and plugged in from day one.

Here are four key things you should do when onboarding a new hire right now:

1. Start the onboarding process before the new hire’s first day.

This has always been true, but it’s doubly important now when you can’t make up for a chaotic first day with a welcoming in-person lunch or happy hour. I recommend sending a welcome email introducing your new hire to the company as soon as they accept an offer. Get them added to all the regular meetings they need to attend. This is also a good time to send them advance material on the company’s top priorities. But only share stuff that’s fun and energizing—you’re trying to get them excited about the job, not give them homework.

About a week before their official first day, schedule a call or Zoom meeting to go over any questions they have. If you can, take care of paperwork and administrative details before their start date, so they can spend their official first day meeting colleagues and getting oriented.

2. Take responsibility for their WFH setup.

Don’t make assumptions about your new hire’s ability to do remote work effectively. Check in with them well before their start date and allocate a reasonable budget to help them optimize their space. Do they have kids doing remote school, or a partner or roommates who are also working from home? Maybe they need noise-canceling headphones to help them concentrate. Maybe a monitor or an ergonomic desk chair would make a huge difference in their ability to stay focused. Wherever possible, give your new hire the flexibility and autonomy to decide what would be most beneficial for their specific situation.

Your new hire—like your long-standing employees—may also be anxious about when they might be expected to return to an office and what that looks like. Some employees will be eager to participate and others really won’t. Talk through your company’s plan with them. Do this live, not over email, so it’s a dialogue. Explain who, if anyone, works in the office now and what metrics you’re watching to determine when to bring everyone back. Be as transparent as possible about the long-term plan for remote work—share what the company’s policies used to be pre-pandemic, and how they might change post-pandemic.

3. Give them a virtual office tour.

Pre-Covid, on any new hire’s first day you would’ve walked them around the office, showing them the kitchen and other amenities and introducing them to everyone. This is obviously difficult to replicate in an all-remote environment—but you can and should create an equivalent virtual ‘tour.’

The new hire’s supervisor should walk them through the company’s org chart in a live Zoom call. If you can, try to include headshots, so the new hire can put faces to names and get a sense of who does what. I’ve gotten huge mileage out of the Battery team’s webpage since my first day.

Assigning each new hire a mentor is another great way to orient people. Ideally mentors should be someone other than their supervisor but adjacent to their team. You want the new hire to feel comfortable probing sensitive topics without feeling judged for asking. Depending on how fast you’re hiring, you might organize a new-hires cohort event so that new employees can trade useful tidbits they’ve recently learned.

4. Get creative about engaging them socially.

Social engagement should always be a priority during employee onboarding. But it’s even more crucial now when you likely can’t meet new hires face to face, and your existing team is probably more-than-usually stressed out by everyday realities.

Make social time a priority during your new hire’s first week. If your team and new hire are all in the same area, you could foot the bill for an outdoor, socially distanced lunch. If you’re more geographically dispersed, think about creative ways to convene different groups of people they need to get to know. You could send them a bag of nice coffee and a company-branded mug and organize a virtual coffee hour. You could get lunch delivered to their home and have a small group ‘take them out’ to virtual lunch.

Whatever the activity, keep in mind that your existing team already all knows each other, but the new hire doesn’t know anyone. An awkward social dynamic like that is even more awkward over Zoom. Prepare some icebreaker questions, like: “If you could go anywhere in the world right now, where would you go?” On a recent Battery virtual offsite, we played ‘virtual bingo’ – guessing who had broken six iPhones in the last year, for instance. I love the custom welcome gifs the team at Lever, a recruiting-software company, creates to welcome new hires and new clients.

With everything you do, ask yourself two questions: How can we reach through the screen and personalize virtual encounters? And how can we build mutual excitement for our shared mission as a company?

Onboarding is crucial to talent retention, and remote onboarding is a true challenge. Plan ahead to design a first day and first week that go above and beyond and show your new hire how excited you are to have them on board, even if you can’t welcome them to the office just yet.

Battery Ventures provides investment advisory services solely to privately offered funds. Battery Ventures neither solicits nor makes its services available to the public or other advisory clients.  For more information about Battery Ventures’ potential financing capabilities for prospective portfolio companies, please refer to our website.

Content obtained from third-party sources, although believed to be reliable, has not been independently verified as to its accuracy or completeness and cannot be guaranteed. Battery Ventures has no obligation to update, modify or amend the content of this post nor notify its readers in the event that any information, opinion, projection, forecast or estimate included, changes or subsequently becomes inaccurate.

The post Virtual Employee Onboarding: How to Do It Right appeared first on Powered by Battery.

Virtual Employee Onboarding: How to Do It Right


This post is by Kelly Kinnard from Powered by Battery

Despite the economic recession and the ongoing pandemic, there are still software startups hiring briskly and onboarding employees into fully virtual new workplaces. Onboarding a new employee during the weirdest, most difficult year in most of our lifetimes is a special challenge.

Most companies weren’t great at employee onboarding in pre-pandemic times. But getting onboarding right is even more urgent now when you can’t count on the live office culture to animate the workplace for your new hires. As the employer, it’s on YOU to curate the new hire’s experience actively, so they feel welcomed and plugged in from day one.

Here are four key things you should do when onboarding a new hire right now:

1. Start the onboarding process before the new hire’s first day.

This has always been true, but it’s doubly important now when you can’t make up for a chaotic first day with a welcoming in-person lunch or happy hour. I recommend sending a welcome email introducing your new hire to the company as soon as they accept an offer. Get them added to all the regular meetings they need to attend. This is also a good time to send them advance material on the company’s top priorities. But only share stuff that’s fun and energizing—you’re trying to get them excited about the job, not give them homework.

About a week before their official first day, schedule a call or Zoom meeting to go over any questions they have. If you can, take care of paperwork and administrative details before their start date, so they can spend their official first day meeting colleagues and getting oriented.

2. Take responsibility for their WFH setup.

Don’t make assumptions about your new hire’s ability to do remote work effectively. Check in with them well before their start date and allocate a reasonable budget to help them optimize their space. Do they have kids doing remote school, or a partner or roommates who are also working from home? Maybe they need noise-canceling headphones to help them concentrate. Maybe a monitor or an ergonomic desk chair would make a huge difference in their ability to stay focused. Wherever possible, give your new hire the flexibility and autonomy to decide what would be most beneficial for their specific situation.

Your new hire—like your long-standing employees—may also be anxious about when they might be expected to return to an office and what that looks like. Some employees will be eager to participate and others really won’t. Talk through your company’s plan with them. Do this live, not over email, so it’s a dialogue. Explain who, if anyone, works in the office now and what metrics you’re watching to determine when to bring everyone back. Be as transparent as possible about the long-term plan for remote work—share what the company’s policies used to be pre-pandemic, and how they might change post-pandemic.

3. Give them a virtual office tour.

Pre-Covid, on any new hire’s first day you would’ve walked them around the office, showing them the kitchen and other amenities and introducing them to everyone. This is obviously difficult to replicate in an all-remote environment—but you can and should create an equivalent virtual ‘tour.’

The new hire’s supervisor should walk them through the company’s org chart in a live Zoom call. If you can, try to include headshots, so the new hire can put faces to names and get a sense of who does what. I’ve gotten huge mileage out of the Battery team’s webpage since my first day.

Assigning each new hire a mentor is another great way to orient people. Ideally mentors should be someone other than their supervisor but adjacent to their team. You want the new hire to feel comfortable probing sensitive topics without feeling judged for asking. Depending on how fast you’re hiring, you might organize a new-hires cohort event so that new employees can trade useful tidbits they’ve recently learned.

4. Get creative about engaging them socially.

Social engagement should always be a priority during employee onboarding. But it’s even more crucial now when you likely can’t meet new hires face to face, and your existing team is probably more-than-usually stressed out by everyday realities.

Make social time a priority during your new hire’s first week. If your team and new hire are all in the same area, you could foot the bill for an outdoor, socially distanced lunch. If you’re more geographically dispersed, think about creative ways to convene different groups of people they need to get to know. You could send them a bag of nice coffee and a company-branded mug and organize a virtual coffee hour. You could get lunch delivered to their home and have a small group ‘take them out’ to virtual lunch.

Whatever the activity, keep in mind that your existing team already all knows each other, but the new hire doesn’t know anyone. An awkward social dynamic like that is even more awkward over Zoom. Prepare some icebreaker questions, like: “If you could go anywhere in the world rigslfht now, where would you go?” On a recent Battery virtual offsite, we played ‘virtual bingo’ – guessing who had broken six iPhones in the last year, for instance. I love the custom welcome gifs the team at Lever, a recruiting-software company, creates to welcome new hires and new clients.

With everything you do, ask yourself two questions: How can we reach through the screen and personalize virtual encounters? And how can we build mutual excitement for our shared mission as a company?

Onboarding is crucial to talent retention, and remote onboarding is a true challenge. Plan ahead to design a first day and first week that go above and beyond and show your new hire how excited you are to have them on board, even if you can’t welcome them to the office just yet.

Battery Ventures provides investment advisory services solely to privately offered funds. Battery Ventures neither solicits nor makes its services available to the public or other advisory clients.  For more information about Battery Ventures’ potential financing capabilities for prospective portfolio companies, please refer to our website.

Content obtained from third-party sources, although believed to be reliable, has not been independently verified as to its accuracy or completeness and cannot be guaranteed. Battery Ventures has no obligation to update, modify or amend the content of this post nor notify its readers in the event that any information, opinion, projection, forecast or estimate included, changes or subsequently becomes inaccurate.

The post Virtual Employee Onboarding: How to Do It Right appeared first on Powered by Battery.

Apply to First Round’s People Unconference


This post is by First Round from Stories by First Round on Medium

Here at First Round, we’re always on the lookout for new ways to demystify the company-building process and share knowledge more widely — whether through interviews on the Review, new products like Discovery Assist that are custom-tailored to support founders, or curated learning programs like our recent inaugural Founding Designer Track and fan-favorite Angel Track.

The thread that ties each of these together is our fundamental belief that you learn the most from a mix of peers who are currently walking a similar path, and leaders who are a couple steps ahead and can help you find your footing. The past six-plus months have only underscored how important it is to hear from a variety of perspectives — we’re all building the plane as we fly, and no one person has all the answers.

That’s why we’ve become big fans of hosting unconferences. What we particularly love about this event format is that it flips the traditional conference on its head. Rather than an audience of many receiving the talking points of one, it’s a multi-dimensional discussion that maximizes learning touchpoints. When everyone’s empowered to take the proverbial mic, each attendee walks away with a punch list of new tactics to try out right away.

Over the years we’ve tinkered with the formula and brought together a handful of different groups, including First Round CEOs and CTOs, recruiters and, for the first time earlier this year, revenue leaders in a new remote format. Candidly, our first virtual unconference was a bit of an experiment, but we were heartened by the feedback we received and eager to bring this experience to a different group.

While each department is facing its own series of unique challenges, People Ops leaders in particular are feeling the squeeze — at the epicenter of it all, with everyone looking to them to define a path forward. COVID-19 has had a profound effect on teams’ ability to collaborate, on employees’ mental health, and on companies’ vision for the future. Some companies are rapidly scaling and are refining their remote onboarding processes. Others have had to navigate the difficult task of parting ways with employees, and most have had to figure out what to do with their physical office space.

In supporting each and every employee in the midst of rapidly-changing conditions, HR leaders are defining the future of the workplace in the coming months — and in doing so, facing some incredibly profound questions. By providing a forum for HR Directors, Heads of People Ops and VPs of HR to swap tactics, share learnings and open up about personal experiences, we hope to build the strongest community of HR leaders and company builders.

The First Round People Unconference is on Wednesday, October 28 from 11am-1pm PST. If this sounds like a conversation you need to be a part of, apply here to grab your spot.

This unconference will (unsurprisingly) be conducted virtually, and we’re excited to open up attendance beyond our established community in San Francisco. Most of your time will be spent in small breakout discussions, focused on extremely tactical content and lessons for creating the conditions for teams to thrive while working remotely, and other challenges tied to company-building and culture, with an eye towards 2021.

By attending our first People Unconference, you’ll get a chance to engage with the cream of the crop of HR leaders across different industries and growth stages, including leaders from companies like Superhuman, Elastic, Credit Karma, Chime, Benchling and Niantic.

Here’s a sampling of curated session topics you’ll be able to choose from that are top-of-mind for HR orgs:

  • Increasing Remote Teams’ Effectiveness
  • Compensation for Remote and Distributed Teams
  • Elevating Remote Onboarding
  • DEI for Remote or Hybrid Teams
  • Back-to-Office Scenario Planning
  • Supporting Employees’ Mental Health
  • Competitive Health Benefits for 2021
  • Evaluating Going Remote For Good
  • Professional Development in a Pandemic

We are now accepting applications! Apply by Friday, October 2nd to join us virtually on Wednesday, October 28th from 11am-1pm PT.

Apply to First Round’s People Unconference


This post is by First Round from Stories by First Round on Medium

Here at First Round, we’re always on the lookout for new ways to demystify the company-building process and share knowledge more widely — whether through interviews on the Review, new products like Discovery Assist that are custom-tailored to support founders, or curated learning programs like our recent inaugural Founding Designer Track and fan-favorite Angel Track.

The thread that ties each of these together is our fundamental belief that you learn the most from a mix of peers who are currently walking a similar path, and leaders who are a couple steps ahead and can help you find your footing. The past six-plus months have only underscored how important it is to hear from a variety of perspectives — we’re all building the plane as we fly, and no one person has all the answers.

That’s why we’ve become big fans of hosting unconferences. What we particularly love about this event format is that it flips the traditional conference on its head. Rather than an audience of many receiving the talking points of one, it’s a multi-dimensional discussion that maximizes learning touchpoints. When everyone’s empowered to take the proverbial mic, each attendee walks away with a punch list of new tactics to try out right away.

Over the years we’ve tinkered with the formula and brought together a handful of different groups, including First Round CEOs and CTOs, recruiters and, for the first time earlier this year, revenue leaders in a new remote format. Candidly, our first virtual unconference was a bit of an experiment, but we were heartened by the feedback we received and eager to bring this experience to a different group.

While each department is facing its own series of unique challenges, People Ops leaders in particular are feeling the squeeze — at the epicenter of it all, with everyone looking to them to define a path forward. COVID-19 has had a profound effect on teams’ ability to collaborate, on employees’ mental health, and on companies’ vision for the future. Some companies are rapidly scaling and are refining their remote onboarding processes. Others have had to navigate the difficult task of parting ways with employees, and most have had to figure out what to do with their physical office space.

In supporting each and every employee in the midst of rapidly-changing conditions, HR leaders are defining the future of the workplace in the coming months — and in doing so, facing some incredibly profound questions. By providing a forum for HR Directors, Heads of People Ops and VPs of HR to swap tactics, share learnings and open up about personal experiences, we hope to build the strongest community of HR leaders and company builders.

The First Round People Unconference is on Wednesday, October 28 from 11am-1pm PST. If this sounds like a conversation you need to be a part of, apply here to grab your spot.

This unconference will (unsurprisingly) be conducted virtually, and we’re excited to open up attendance beyond our established community in San Francisco. Most of your time will be spent in small breakout discussions, focused on extremely tactical content and lessons for creating the conditions for teams to thrive while working remotely, and other challenges tied to company-building and culture, with an eye towards 2021.

By attending our first People Unconference, you’ll get a chance to engage with the cream of the crop of HR leaders across different industries and growth stages, including leaders from companies like Superhuman, Elastic, Credit Karma, Chime, Benchling and Niantic.

Here’s a sampling of curated session topics you’ll be able to choose from that are top-of-mind for HR orgs:

  • Increasing Remote Teams’ Effectiveness
  • Compensation for Remote and Distributed Teams
  • Elevating Remote Onboarding
  • DEI for Remote or Hybrid Teams
  • Back-to-Office Scenario Planning
  • Supporting Employees’ Mental Health
  • Competitive Health Benefits for 2021
  • Evaluating Going Remote For Good
  • Professional Development in a Pandemic

We are now accepting applications! Apply by Friday, October 2nd to join us virtually on Wednesday, October 28th from 11am-1pm PT.

Factorial raises $16M to take on the HR world with a platform for SMBs


This post is by Ingrid Lunden from Fundings & Exits – TechCrunch

A startup that’s hoping to be a contender in the very large and fragmented market of human resources software has captured the eye of a big investor out of the US and become its first investment in Spain.

Barcelona-based Factorial, which is building an all-in-one HR automation platform aimed at small and medium businesses that manages payroll, employee onboarding, time off and other human resource functions, has raised €15 ($16 million) in a Series A round of funding led by CRV, with participation also from existing investors Creandum, Point Nine and K Fund.

The money comes on the heels of Factorial — which has customers in 40 countries — seeing eightfold growth in revenues in 2019, with more than 60,000 customers now using its tools.

Jordi Romero, the CEO who co-founded the company with Pau Ramon (CTO) and Bernat Farrero (head of corporate), said in an interview that the investment will be used both to expand to new markets and add more customers, as well as to double down on tech development to bring on more features. These will include RPA integrations to further automate services, and to move into more back-office product areas such as handling expenses,

Factorial has now raised $18 million and is not disclosing its valuation, he added.

The funding is notable on a couple of levels that speak not just to the wider investing climate but also to the specific area of human resources.

In addition to being CRV’s first deal in Spain, the investment is being made at a time when the whole VC model is under a lot of pressure because of the global coronavirus pandemic — not least in Spain, which has a decent, fledgling technology scene but has been one of the hardest-hit countries in the world when it comes to COVID-19.

“It made the closing of the funding very, very stressful,” Romero said from Barcelona last week (via video conference). “We had a gentleman’s agreement [so to speak] before the virus broke out, but the money was still to be wired. Seeing the world collapse around you, with some accounts closing, and with the bigger business world in a very fragile state, was very nerve wracking.”

Ironically, it’s that fragile state that proved to be a saviour of sorts for Factorial.

“We target HR leaders and they are currently very distracted with furloughs and layoffs right now, so we turned around and focused on how we could provide the best value to them,” Romero said.

The company made its product free to use until lockdowns are eased up, and Factorial has found a new interest from businesses that had never used cloud-based services before but needed to get something quickly up and running to use while working from home. He noted that among new companies signing up to Factorial, most either previously kept all their records in local files or at best a “Dropbox folder, but nothing else.”

The company also put in place more materials and other tools specifically to address the most pressing needs those HR people might have right now, such as guidance on how to implement furloughs and layoffs, best practices for communication policies and more. “We had to get creative,” Romero said.

At $16 million, this is at the larger end of Series A rounds as of January 2020, and while it’s definitely not as big as some of the outsized deals we’ve seen out of the US, it happens to be the biggest funding round so far this year in Spain.

Its rise feels unlikely for another reason, too: it comes at a time when we already have dozens (maybe even hundreds) of human resources software businesses, with many an established name — they include PeopleHR, Workday, Infor, ADP, Zenefits, Gusto, IBM, Oracle, SAP, Rippling, and many others — in a market that analysts project will be worth $38.17 billion by 2027 growing at a CAGR of over 11%.

But as is often the case in tech, status quo breeds disruption, and that’s the case here. Factorial’s approach has been to build HR tools specifically for people who are not HR professionals per se: companies that are small enough not to have specialists, or if they do, they share a lot of the tasks and work with other managers who are not in HR first and foremost.

It’s a formula that Romero said could potentially see the company taking on bigger customers, but for now, investors like it for having built a platform approach for the huge but often under-served SME market.

“Factorial was built for the users, designed for the modern web and workplace,” said Reid Christian, General Partner at CRV, in a statement. “Historically the HR software market has been one of the most lucrative categories for enterprise tech companies, and today, the HR stack looks much different. As we enter the third generation of cloud HR products, with countless point solutions, there’s a strong need for an underlying platform to integrate work across these.”

Human Resources Automated

In a world where we have distributed workforces, what happens when we use artificial intelligence, video, virtual reality, and embedded cookies that track people to make hiring and firing decisions?

Taken to an extreme, you could envision a world where a person applied for a job, did a virtual artificial intelligence interview and worked for a company remotely.  They never would have direct human interaction with an actual personal representative of the company.  They could be based anywhere in the world.  Their “boss” might be an algorithm or a machine learning quantum computer.

Already, there are a lot of products that do various things when it comes to human resources for video interviews.  A few years ago, Dave Weiland started a company in Chicago called RIVS that does video interviewing.  Imagine if there was a machine that could read body language that watched the interview Continue reading “Human Resources Automated”

Our Investment in Utmost


This post is by Sarah Guo from Greylock Perspectives - Medium

The Utmost Team

Every company today is an evolving network of work and talent that goes far beyond their own employees — they have an extended workforce of contractors, vendors, staffing firms, freelancers and more. People are a company’s greatest asset, and increasingly so in the era of the knowledge economy. But with legacy software, companies can’t track, communicate with, or pay 20–40% of the people they work with in an increasingly complex and flexible set of relationships, much less manage, measure and empower them. It’s painful, expensive and a manual struggle for companies, and a terrible experience for the workforce.

It was an esteemed, longtime HR executive at a large manufacturer that first explained this problem to me. She said:

“I first started to understand how behind we were in this area of [extended workforce] when our CEO wanted to know, ‘How do we manage the people helping us get work done, the people on our campus that aren’t employees? Who are they?’ But the problem was much more basic than that. We didn’t even know how many non-employees we had. This leads to cost, quality, compliance, culture, administration and security issues. And of course, if you’re behind on production, the most important thing is the delivery issue. How do you ensure your customers get the product they’ve been promised next month? You need skilled, specific talent, stat, and those aren’t in-house employees. This problem is one that gets lost between HR, procurement and IT, because you also need to make all Continue reading “Our Investment in Utmost”

Recognising the achievements of a great founder-funder

Carter Adamson, our colleague in New York, has been with Atomico since 2015, but his relationship with many in the Atomico team stretches back even further to his days as Head of Product at Skype, co-founder of Rdio and Atomico’s very first Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EiR) a decade ago.  

At Atomico our goal is to be the leading European technology investment platform. To achieve that we need great people, a commitment to developing our talent and deep relationships in the world’s largest consumer markets. We’re therefore happy to announce the appointment of a long-time Atomican to Partner.

His appointment to Partner recognises the impact that he has had in finding and partnering with game-changing late-stage founders in the U.S. who are looking to scale globally. In his new role, he’ll continue to manage sourcing and our relationship with key co-investors in the States, as well as applying his deep knowledge Continue reading “Recognising the achievements of a great founder-funder”

Apply to First Round’s First Ever Recruiting Unconference

Here at First Round, we’re relentlessly focused on bringing together our extended community in new and creative ways. In an industry with no shortage of startup-focused events, we believe the only way to stand out is to deliver valuable, tactical advice that transforms the way people work.

That’s why whether it’s a guided dinner, multi-session learning programs such as Co-Founder Forum and Fast Track, or annual summits with amazing keynotes, the common building blocks of our events are the exceptional leaders and operators who are willing to share the most important lessons of their careers with off-the-record candor and a focus on tactics.

In the past few years, we’ve experimented by hosting unique experiences for First Round CEOs and CTOs called Unconferences, where we brought together a handful of the best startup founders and technical leaders for carefully curated peer-to-peer sessions. What we particularly love about the unconference format

Continue reading “Apply to First Round’s First Ever Recruiting Unconference”

Our partnership with Peakon: insights to enable everyone to reach their full potential

Five years ago, four friends and entrepreneurs with a track record of building some of Europe’s most successful technology startups from Songkick to Podio and Qype came together. Two Danes, Kasper Hulthin and Christian Holm, and two Brits, Phil Chambers and Dan Rogers, believed there was a problem tech hadn’t yet solved.

Employees are a company’s most important asset and in most developed economies, firms spend 60% of costs on people. Yet, they rarely put any budget towards measuring and analyzing employee sentiment and productivity and improving retention. As a result, most companies only check in with employees once a year at most, and employees feel that feedback is never acted upon. Managers have no way to make evidence-based and data-driven decisions to help employees reach their full potential.  

That’s why the four friends founded Peakon, with the mission of impacting the world’s productivity and happiness by using Continue reading “Our partnership with Peakon: insights to enable everyone to reach their full potential”

How founders might check VC references

Investigating your potential investors is different than referencing a potential recruit — yet people tend to treat it the same way. Error!

When our venture fund speaks with founders, we often encourage them — even in our first meeting — to start doing their references on us and others.

Illustration: Hallie Bateman

Do these VC people live up to their promises? When it starts raining, do they wash away? What’s it really like after the infatuation passes?

Referencing a VC, who (if they invest) you might work with for a decade or more, is an entirely different mentality than normal references.

Founders might want to treat these as the most important reference checks they will ever conduct.

Lately, I’ve seen one too many cases where a founder calls one or two friends, says “I heard good things!” and then assumes that’s enough of an endorsement to invite another person to own a piece of their business — forever.

Founders normally

Continue reading “How founders might check VC references”

Unsure how much you should pay yourself? Check out this Founder Salary Calculator.

Founder salaries are not a topic I’ve had to spend a lot of time with so far. I usually just “OK” them, since the founders we are working with are all super reasonable people who carefully weigh how much they need against the interests of the company – their company. But sometimes founders ask me for a suggestion or some guidance because they are uncertain as to what is fair, and so I thought it might be useful to create a simple model.

Here it is.

The model calculates the founder salary based on three drivers: stage, family situation, and location.

Stage

Unless you’re in the fortunate position to generate revenues almost from day 1 or to raise a sizable seed round right at the start you’ll probably not be able to pay yourself any salary at all, at least in the first few months, for the simple fact that Continue reading “Unsure how much you should pay yourself? Check out this Founder Salary Calculator.”

Unsure how much you should pay yourself? Check out this Founder Salary Calculator.


This post is by Christoph Janz from The Angel VC

Founder salaries are not a topic I’ve had to spend a lot of time with so far. I usually just “OK” them, since the founders we are working with are all super reasonable people who carefully weigh how much they need against the interests of the company – their company. But sometimes founders ask me for a suggestion or some guidance because they are uncertain as to what is fair, and so I thought it might be useful to create a simple model.

Here it is.

The model calculates the founder salary based on three drivers: stage, family situation, and location.

Stage

Unless you’re in the fortunate position to generate revenues almost from day 1 or to raise a sizable seed round right at the start you’ll probably not be able to pay yourself any salary at all, at least in the first few months, for the simple fact that the company doesn’t have any money to spend. If you raise a small angel or friends & family round, you’ll probably want to spend it on other things than founder salaries. Once you’ve raised a bigger seed round and/or you start to generate revenues, that changes and you can pay yourself a modest salary.

In the calculator, I’ve assumed that the “entry salary” for a Berlin-based founder who doesn’t have kids is $50,000. I’ve then assumed that that amount increases to $75,000, $95,000 and $115,000 when you reach funding and revenue milestones that roughly correspond with a Series A, Series Continue reading “Unsure how much you should pay yourself? Check out this Founder Salary Calculator.”

Unsure how much you should pay yourself? Check out this Founder Salary Calculator.

Founder salaries are not a topic I’ve had to spend a lot of time with so far. I usually just “OK” them, since the founders we are working with are all super reasonable people who carefully weigh how much they need against the interests of the company – their company. But sometimes founders ask me for a suggestion or some guidance because they are uncertain as to what is fair, and so I thought it might be useful to create a simple model.

Here it is.

The model calculates the founder salary based on three drivers: stage, family situation, and location.

Stage

Unless you’re in the fortunate position to generate revenues almost from day 1 or to raise a sizable seed round right at the start you’ll probably not be able to pay yourself any salary at all, at least in the first few months, for the simple fact that Continue reading “Unsure how much you should pay yourself? Check out this Founder Salary Calculator.”

Entelo steps up its AI game with $20M Series C 

 The race to crown a winner in the AI-powered recruiting software space is on. With both Workey and Mya nabbing rounds in the last few weeks, the timing is prime for a few players to seek advantage in the form of growth capital. This seems to be exactly what Entelo, a six year old player in the space, is doing. The company is announcing a $20 million Series C round of financing today led by U.S. Read More

Why startups should hire an HR person sooner rather than later

At the excellent SaaStr Annual 2016 conference about a year ago, a very experienced SaaS CEO said on stage that an internal recruiter can be a startup CEO’s secret superpower. I couldn’t agree more, and I think startups should make that hire sooner rather than later.

If you can hire only one or two handful of people with your seed round, hiring anybody who doesn’t either code or sell is hard to justify. Being willing to invest in an internal recruiter or talent manager (or more broadly, an HR person) early on requires pretty big balls a lot of confidence. The right time for making that hire obviously depends on a variety of factors, but I would argue that most startups should hire an HR person sooner than they think.

Here’s why.

1) A great HR person can free up a lot of your time

Anybody who ever hired people Continue reading “Why startups should hire an HR person sooner rather than later”

Why startups should hire an HR person sooner rather than later

At the excellent SaaStr Annual 2016 conference about a year ago, a very experienced SaaS CEO said on stage that an internal recruiter can be a startup CEO’s secret superpower. I couldn’t agree more, and I think startups should make that hire sooner rather than later.

If you can hire only one or two handful of people with your seed round, hiring anybody who doesn’t either code or sell is hard to justify. Being willing to invest in an internal recruiter or talent manager (or more broadly, an HR person) early on requires pretty big balls a lot of confidence. The right time for making that hire obviously depends on a variety of factors, but I would argue that most startups should hire an HR person sooner than they think.

Here’s why.

1) A great HR person can free up a lot of your time

Anybody who ever hired people Continue reading “Why startups should hire an HR person sooner rather than later”