Startup Hiring

Startup Hiring 101: A Founder’s Guide. Part 10 - Gem’s founding team

Steve Bartel

Steve Bartel

CEO and Co-Founder

Posted on

February 5, 2024

We’re halfway through our series on hiring, thanks for sticking with us. In part 10 we’ll specifically discuss Gem’s founding team and how we personally recruited them.

As you can probably imagine, we used Gem in some way or another to hire most of our founding team. It was a combination of sourcing first-degree connections, referrals, sourcing 2nd-degree connections using strong connector nodes.

Here’s our founding team of eight Gems that joined between our Seed and our Series A (in rough order):

You’ll notice a few things:

  1. Our team is almost entirely 1st-degree connections from places like MIT, Facebook, & Dropbox.

  2. Our founding team is incredibly talented and experienced.

    • Our founding team helped us grow from $100k ARR to $1M ARR in less than a year, and we wouldn’t be here today without them.

    • Bringing on great people helped us hire more great people (you see several referrals within the founding team).

    • Hiring a great founding team helped us triple our team the next year and triple the following year again.

  3. The folks who were 2nd-degree connections were connected to us via strong connector nodes.

What won’t be immediately obvious to you is the thousands of hours we spent with hundreds of candidates from our network we weren’t able to hire. A few weren’t a good fit. But most didn’t want to join our small startup. This is why spending time nurturing passive talent from your network is critical.

Up Next

In part 11, we’ll cover how to approach the initial “sales” conversation or in other words, how you can sell your candidate on your opportunity. Understanding the basics of selling & closing candidates before mastering nurturing talent or the interview process is important because you’ll want to be selling throughout the hiring process and not just at the end.

In the meantime…


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