The problem of start-ups vs. big tech players

By , on September 2, 2014


ShutterStock image
ShutterStock image

MANILA — In Vancouver, one problem that most start-up companies face is the high cost of living. This makes it all the more difficult for start-ups to compete with bigger players in the tech industry.

“A good top developer can make six figures – $120,000, $130,000 – you see how these dollars are incredible hard to manage when you’re a start-up,” said Nakhla, founder and CEO of Bazinga!, a service that brings social networking to apartment living.

As Vancouver continues to become a home for satellite offices from big tech players such as Facebook and Microsoft and even Hootsuite, recruitment continues to be a top priority.

“For me, the No. 1 thing that has happened has been an increase in the cost of talent,” said Nakhla. “Our company is a hypergrowth company. In a couple of years, we have grown to 40 people and we are looking for specific, highly skilled employees.”

According to Nakhla, his company hires based on three “major currencies.”

“One is salary, you want to compete,” he said. “The second big currency I believe is equity – a lot of entrepreneurs resist doing that but my advice is if you invest as much energy as you should to attract the right talent, you should give them some equity in the company.”

He added that the third currency is the culture currency.

“We do have a cause going for us,” he said of the company’s mission to create connected communities. “It’s bigger than the company and it makes easy to point to our cause and say, ‘Don’t you want to be part of solving that problem?”

Meanwhile, Hoosuite meanwhile receives 300 to 500 resumes every week. However, the number of applications is not enough to fill in the position that the company needs.

“The game isn’t the volume, the game is making sure we have the right people looking at us,” said vice president of talent at Hootsuite, Ambrosia Humphrey.

The company still hosts the HootHire events. These activities allow them to look for prospective employees and job seekers. The first of the series attracted 300 to 400 people. In 2013, about 1,200 people showed up in two hours with 4,000 resumes received in 48 hours.

“That turned out to be a big way for us to say we are hiring,” said Humphrey. “This is an opportunity for us to open our doors.”