Talent is a the motor of startup communities. Beginning with founders and extending to their teams, talent allows startups to improve products, acquire customers, and adjust to market needs. In fact, the startup community assessment developed by Techstars highlights talent as one of five keys to a successful startup ecosystem.
“Community growth has to be built on the backs of a growing number of founders, frictionless access to growth employees, a diverse set of high-impact skilled labor and an ability to recruit experienced executives.”
— Chris Heivly, Techstars
I work with startups in Lima, Peru and am very keen to see talent develop and thrive. Increasingly, there are great options to find talent locally, including Get on Board, acceleration programs, and coworking spaces.
If we look closely, we will see that startup founders are leading the way in improving access to talent. Talent is connecting with startups through non-traditional channels and infusing them with much-needed knowledge and energy.
How talent is connecting in Lima:
- Global startups are hiring local teams. Look no further than successful startups based in the US that are hiring in Peru. AmigoCloud and BlazingDB, have both built local teams in Peru. Universidad Católica San Pablo and UTEC along with other universities are the source of some of this local talent.
- Return from the diaspora. Peruvians living abroad recently planned the Techsuyo conference in Lima that congregated tech talent working in Silicon Valley with local startups and ecosystem actors.
- Corporate-startup knowledge transfer. A local Peruvian bank called Interbank recently hired Giancarlo Secco, founder of logistics startup Bend. Ken Saito, left a job at another Peruvian bank, BCP, to co-found fintech startup Independencia. These career switches infuse corporate culture with a startup mindset and help startups gain sector expertise.
So, how does this apply to you?
These success stories provide lessons to both startups and corporates in Latin America seeking to infuse their workplaces with talent. Think outside the box and focus on connections over hiring. Don’t let structure get in the way and be prepared to iterate over time.
Here is how to start:
Connect with talent now
If you are a startup founder:
- Implement remote work. Allow people to work flexible hours or from home. This will be a competitive advantage compared to corporations with structured work days. A flexible mindset will allow you to think about hiring people who don’t live in the same city. To be successful, you will have to create a regional culture. Why not start from day one?
- Get advisors involved. One of the key functions of a Board of Directors is to help with building a strong team. If you don't have a Board, you can still set up an Advisory Committee that includes other startup founders and people from other countries. Ask them to help you source talent.
If you work at a corporation:
- Mentor at an accelerator program. Startups are always looking for sector-specific insight. For someone seeking to test the waters of startup life before jumping in, it can be a mutually beneficial relationship.
- Get out of the office. Don’t make it hard for talent to find you by making people come to you — the best talent won’t. Attend local startup community pitch days and hackathons. This will allow you to meet founders in their own environment and find out what makes them tick.
Talent needs to connect with talent in order to light a spark. If you create something special, talent will come to you.