Illustration by Oliver Makonjio

Why “raising talent” is just as important as raising money

Especially for startups in emerging markets

Allie Burns
Nov 2, 2017 · 3 min read

There’s a catch-22 that any emerging market startup founder is familiar with: it’s hard to raise money without the right team, but it’s hard to afford the right team before you raise money.

We often see early-stage startup CEO’s treating talent as an administrative function rather than a strategic one. This can be a critical mistake.

Our team at Village Capital has been thinking about this for years, and we’ve found that talent is absolutely crucial to early-stage startup success:

  • We interviewed 400 entrepreneurs and found that talent acquisition/retention was the number one cited barrier to growth, beating out access to financial capital and product
  • Our report Breaking the Pattern found that investors in emerging markets are acutely aware of the talent challenge and place this at the forefront of investment decisions

We need a paradigm shift in the way founders think about talent, and it needs to start with the on-the-ground organisations that support entrepreneurs in emerging markets — incubators, accelerators and development organizations.

Over the next few months, we’ll showcase opinion pieces from leaders who are committed to improving access to talent for small and growing businesses in emerging markets.

The series will start next week with a piece from Rachel Crawford, who is building out Village Capital’s own talent marketplace, VilCap Talent, which is currently in the pilot stage. After that, we’ll hear from a diverse range of organizations from incubators to consulting firms.

If you’re an entrepreneur, follow along for practical advice about how to build a talent pipeline and where to find resources to help you with talent strategy.

If you’re an entrepreneur support organization or investor, look forward to actionable tips on how you can better support the entrepreneurs you care about.

Allie Burns is Managing Director at Village Capital, a global venture capital firm that finds, trains and invests in entrepreneurs solving real-world problems. Read more on Village Capital’s Medium page.

Blogs in this series on talent:

Village Capital

Blog for Village Capital. We're reinventing the system to back the entrepreneurs of the future - a future where business creates equity and long-term prosperity.

Allie Burns

Written by

Managing Director @VillageCapital; former @revolution @casefoundation; #impinv #riseofrest; feminist; have major wanderlust.

Village Capital

Blog for Village Capital. We're reinventing the system to back the entrepreneurs of the future - a future where business creates equity and long-term prosperity.

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