Dave Carvajal

2015: Year Of The Startup

2015: Year Of The Startup

One last post, as the brightly-shining promise of the New Year approaches:

This past year brought so much for which to be grateful in business and in life. We are still so grateful to Hank Paulson, and others we thanked and mentioned in last year’s post on gratitude. For new friends made; for old relationships made stronger; for the teams & companies that continue to make NYC a thriving metropolis of internet & tech enabled startups and for all our client-partners that had disproportionate growth, we are grateful.

And as part of this ecosystem, I’ve begun blogging seriously this year, and am excited to contribute more significantly to the community of people writing about tech. These are a few posts I’m most proud of:

Humility Is The High Road To Start-Up Success
Building A Startup Is Like Running An Ironman
The Two Most Common Qualities Of The Top 1% Of A+ Exec Talent

We started Dave Partners on a contrarian move during the bottom of the worst economic crisis the world had seen in over 80 years. When most headhunters scurried out of the headhunting business in 2009, we resolved to believe in the power of NYC entrepreneurs and also in the power of technology to create abundance and lead both the US and Global economies out of recession.

I believe that 2015 will be the year of the startup, when agile, lean, fast-moving startups in so many industries become a real alternative to the big-tech companies burdened with innovator’s dilemma. At Dave Partners, we’ve also declared 2015: The Year of the Lion.

With Love & Gratitude, wishing all of the members of our world, our community, our ecosystem and our family a tremendous 2015!

And thank you for reading! Please share with us what you are most grateful for and most excited about for 2015. Also, take a look at these posts for sharing.

Originally posted on Dave Partners blog.

Coaching, Sport & Life

Coaching, Sport & Life

My boys (identical twins) played soccer on the recreation team for a few years. This past year, they tried out for the travel team. I promised that if they made the travel soccer team, I would coach it. They made it. And I spent the last several months trying to figure out how to be an awesome coach. As for my coaching skills: We didn’t lose every game.

Learning to coach soccer taught me to be a more effective and fearless leader in life. I’ve found that I can apply what I’ve learned in soccer to my work as a CEO — in sports, certain core principles of leadership always apply.

Here’s what I learned in my first season of coaching travel soccer.

Everyone wants the fame & glory of putting up points and scoring goals. An important part of leadership is re-defining the goals and affecting the things you can control to drive team performance: possession, number of passes, chances at goal, defense, and attitude, for example.

The attitude of players in the other (non-scoring) positions will determine the team’s win or loss outcome at the end of the game. Building team consensus and buy-in is better for team performance than the ego driven self-validation of the few scoring players.

How you play at practice is a great predictor of how you will play the game. Champions are forged when no one is looking. Everyone needs a coach. Players need to be reminded about personal excellence, team leadership and how to hear the unspoken assumptions guiding the team. Progress occurs when the unspoken is stated.

The occasional Goliath is impressive. The courage to be a David is more impressive. Mental toughness is about courage and overcoming your fears. Playing your game, playing the ball is more important than being focused on the competition.

Great teammates are skilled, hard-working players who are nice people. If they are skilled and not nice, they are simply jerks who tend to hog the ball.

Kids play hard until the game is over. They fight to the last minute (even from the sidelines). Giving up is a learned adult condition. You can unlearn it at any time.

Individual talent is important. Teamwork is more important. Teamwork trumps talent.

How you play a sport is an indication of how you play in life. I’m proud of what the kids on my sons’ team accomplished. I’m also proud to see so many great, co-operative, focused young people learning the skills that will take them forward to success in the adult world — and happy that I got to play a part in it.

Oh, and one last thing I learned:

Pizza parties are awesome! It’s important to celebrate wins.

Leadership & Love Are Your Highest Calling

Leadership & Love Are Your Highest Calling

I went to India to study one of the greatest forces in world history: religion. What I got was a profound, life-altering appreciation for the three most powerful invisible forces that drive all human motivation and behavior:

1. Love
2. Self-determination
3. Fear

Fear drives people to make decisions for the sake of simply surviving. Self-determination drives people to satisfy their ego’s desire, personal significance, fortune and fame. Love drives people to make decisions about “we” and act from a place of wisdom, meaning and purpose for the greater good.

Stephen Prothero, a leading authority on the world’s religions, made a compelling case for understanding the differences among the great religions of the world. Religions are, among other things, great philosophies, and an understanding of philosophical traditions empowers us both socially and intellectually as leaders of teams.

While I myself grew up in the Catholic tradition, understanding the unique beauty and distinctions of other traditions offers practical insight into our common humanity.

Religion is not the same as spirituality. Whether it’s the Five Pillars, the Seven Sacraments, the Ten Commandments, the Four Noble Truths, or some of the other great traditions of the world, having a richer understanding for other perspectives allows us to have a greater grasp on the whole truth — that the greatest force in the universe which binds all of humanity, the force that the greatest spiritual leaders throughout the ages have all fundamentally professed is love.

Belief systems are immensely powerful

What’s even more powerful is that we can choose the beliefs that empower us most. Many great leaders and entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs and Marc Benioff have been students of the profound impact of spiritual leaders and leadership. Aside from our personal beliefs, understanding what drives the motivation and behaviors of others is a critical component of leadership. All communication is either a loving response or a cry for help. And as a leader, operating from a place of awareness and affect for your team members and the people with whom you connect allows everyone to operate at their best and create the greatest good in the universe.

Entrepreneurship is the highest calling of the self determined

It’s great to have talent. Only by applying hard work to talent for years can you have something greater: skill. Becoming highly skilled and developing mastery of a functional discipline — this is the path of self-determination. Entrepreneurship is the highest calling of self-determined people who have developed insight, functional mastery and a vision for how things could work better.

Leadership is the highest calling in business

The greatest growth a startup will make is when a visionary entrepreneur grows into a leader of leaders or hires a leader to help drive progress. And most startups will never get to scale or have the kind of growth to see an exit without a true leader.

Love is the highest calling of humanity

Business can serve a high purpose in a human life. It has the power to redeem, transform and shape the fate of a person, a team, a community, and the world. And the best leaders inspire their people with wisdom, meaning and purpose. The greatest spiritual leaders in human history, the ones with the greatest influence, all professed the one powerful force that brings humanity closer: love. Caring about your people is the best way to get people to care about your business, performance, and results and to create the greatest good.

Leaders Have The Most Influence When They Serve a Higher Purpose

True leadership is about bringing people together for the advancement of human progress. The belief systems that we choose for ourselves have the power to move us from self-interest towards the advancement of humanity. Learning from compassionate leaders and developing our deep beliefs can inspire us to keep humanity in mind in our business lives and rise up to our greatest calling. It allows us to move from a group of self-determined people in an entrepreneurial environment to something much higher. Just as it did for Jobs and Benioff, learning from the great spiritual leaders to serve the universal good with divine meaning can awaken you to love and to the great calling of leadership.

All entrepreneurial ventures, if they are to succeed and become more than a lifestyle business require leadership. Leadership has the power to impact positive change on the lives of people, teams, communities, and the world. Leadership advances human progress by bringing wisdom, meaning and purpose to those people in a business. In business and in life, leadership and love are the highest calling to the life that is inside of you.

How To Tell If You Need To Fire Your CEO

How To Tell If You Need To Fire Your CEO

Everything bad that happens at a company is fundamentally a people problem. Most startups fail. Often, they fail because the person at the top fails. The problem is exacerbated by the reluctance of board members who for reasons of self-interest, have no desire to be branded as being non-friendly to startup founders and turn a blind eye to CEO incompetence. Venture investors with their risk-adjusted calculations and with the same yearning to be perceived as pro-entrepreneur are also often remiss to exercise the intellectual rigor and moral imperative of ensuring that real leadership is established from the top down.

The greatest growth a startup will experience is when the CEO / Founder becomes or hires a leader of leaders. That is the pivotal point when a startup becomes a real business. CEO / Founders can help launch a business and can help grow a startup. A startup will only metamorphosize into a high-growth business with leadership. And it all starts at the top.

For the CEO to take the helm of the company, he or she must be Chief of Strategy, Vision, Coaching, Cheerleading, and Mentoring. CEOs should also surround themselves with giants — people who are better than them at any number of functional areas. If they don’t, the consequences will be dire and the only question will be ‘fast & sudden?’ or ‘slow & painful?’ An under-performing CEO, whether he or she is a founder who’s unsuited to running a growing company or a hired CEO who simply isn’t living up to expectations, can drag a whole team down and make success impossible, making CEO failure the primary cause of the destruction of value in startup land.

The competitive nature of venture investing puts pressure on investors to further lower their standards in order to win the deal, and adds yet another vector towards the destruction of value.

And so how can boards and venture investors still be supportive of entrepreneurs and also uphold the merit and virtue of being intellectually honest and morally correct in their analysis of the founder/leadership gap dilemma?

The time for the title of ‘Chief Entrepreneur Officer’ is now.

Most board members would never hire the CEO / Founder to be the CEO of any other enterprise. So let’s not kid ourselves anymore!

Let’s hold Founding CEO’s accountable to a different yardstick, that of Chief Entrepreneur Officer, and let’s reserve the title of Chief Executive Officer for a well defined leadership role to be filled by someone who deserves it, based on proven leadership and merit.

How do you know when it’s time to take your CEO out? Usually, a CEO replacement happens for one of two reasons:

  1. The board has lost faith in the CEO’s ability to drive the company toward its strategic objectives.
  2. The CEO has lost the faith and/or the will of his or her people.

Whether the verdict comes from the top down or the bottom up, a consistent pattern of failing to meet expectations is hard to miss, and requires immediate action.

Advice to board members: keep a sharp eye on executive turnover and turnover in general. Engage in exit interviews. You will get all of the raw data you need.

The board’s first responsibility is in succession planning and in ensuring that strong, competent, functional leaders are in place to support the continuity of the business and drive growth. The second-in-command, as the person most likely to succeed the CEO, should be a detailed-oriented, operations person with a strong grasp of the business. They should also have been mentored in the skill set that a CEO needs: Selling the vision of the company to team members and the world, making sure all of the right people are on board and sitting in the right seats, and making sure the company has enough cash in the bank to execute the vision.

The board has a responsibility to investors to make sure the CEO is surrounded by strong executive leaders who can lead the operational functions with high excellence. If you’re a board member, do yourself a favor now and make sure your company has a deep bench of potential leaders in case of crisis.

To get started with this, you will need to perform a brutally honest assessment of your organization as it exists.

Here’s a simple 3-step plan for success:

  1. Get crystal-clear on your company’s strategic objectives for the next 6, 12, and 24 months.
  2. Build a functional org chart that is pure and honest in its assessment of what your company needs to achieve those outcomes. Take individual executives’ names out of the equation, so that you can create a plan of the necessary functions at your company, not the people filling those seats.
  3. Perform a gap analysis and form a strong understanding of the leadership team you need, versus the one you have — and then start filling those gaps.

There’s a common misconception that it’s better to have someone doing a bad job than to have no-one doing the job at all. This is motivated purely by fear — and like a lot of fear-based beliefs, it’s a bad one. An underperforming employee is a cancer in your company, at any level. So if your CEO isn’t the right fit, discuss with your board members the opportunity for value creation, organize a communication plan and begin a (confidential if necessary) search for a new CEO today!

You can do a search to fill that role with a true leader.

In the meantime, the strong leadership bench you’ve developed will come together, in that vacuum, to heal the damage a bad CEO has caused. Soon, you’ll have the best possible person doing the most important job at your company. You’ll create good in the universe. And give everyone a real chance at maximizing value creation.

— –

Thanks for reading! If you liked this post, show some love with a like or comment. You might also enjoy my other work: Check out

Leadership and Love Are Your Highest Calling

The Two Most Common Skills of the Top 1% of A+Executive Talent, and

The Ultimate Key to Millennial Start-Up Success

And please do my a favor — hit RECOMMEND!

His Holiness The Dalai Lama, Leadership And Five Truths

His Holiness The Dalai Lama, Leadership And Five Truths

On a journey to spiritual enlightenment, I ran into the Dalai Lama.

I flew from New York City to New Delhi to gather with 140 amazing people from all over the world on our way to a spiritual journey with world-renowned, peak performance coach Tony Robbins. Unexpectedly, the Dalai Lama who was on his way to New York City, appeared in our hotel lobby.

In a previous post I stated: In business and in life, leadership and love are the highest calling to the life that is inside of you.

I believe that understanding the unique beauty and distinctions from the great traditions of the world can open up and fortify our own beliefs while developing new ones — all for the purpose of expanding our capacity for love and leadership.

Here are a few from His Holiness, The Dalai Lama:

I.) Right View And Right Conduct

Leadership of any people, mission or cause begins with the leadership of oneself. Mindfulness is a key aspect of leadership and makes one capable of having the right perspective and making the right decisions that create the greatest good. This requires one to be free from the negative emotional influences that can cause one to deviate from right view and right conduct. Buddhist monks are expected to keep to the principle of compassion for all beings, and the precept of right speech. Right speech means not saying anything malicious or untrue.

It also emphasizes mindfulness and being present in every conversation. Active listening, empathic leadership, caring about your people — these are the keys for leading a team towards the achievement of good. And not just toward achieving what is good for the team — what is good for clients, good for investors, and good for humanity. This understanding of how things really are represents wisdom in its true form.

II.) Training Your Mind

The scientific evidence on the benefits of meditation is clear: increased brain activity in the frontal lobe, which causes an increased sense of happiness. It has also been proven to increase brain activity, increase the ability to concentrate, create new neurons, decrease anxiety & negative emotions, and boost the immune system. Meditation has been proven to increase the thickness of brain tissue in the prefrontal cortex where improved functioning of emotions, attention and working memory take place. Visualization is another key practice in Buddhism. In business, sport and life, training your mind to visualize can not only calm the mind, but also help create a pathway for its actualization.

III.) Inspire With Purpose

Leaders create faith and certainty with purpose. What values will you champion in the organization? Whatever they are, it’s important that you, the leader of the organization, personally live by those values.

The Dalai Lama leads millions of people because he builds faith and optimism in the future of Tibetans and humanity as a whole. He was never elected, nor did he inherit his position; his leadership is entirely ideological and is a paragon of influence. People trust and support him solely because they believe he’s the world’s best example of Buddhist values in practice.

Accordingly, he lives those beliefs and values every day and in every way. When you live by your company’s cultural values, this sets the code of conduct throughout your organization. People will mirror your choices. Hire people who can adapt and amplify your values. In this way, you can make people and culture your strategic advantage and leadership your legacy. As a business, you will contribute to the well being of society at large.

IV.) Doing Business Right

The impact that a company has on the lives of many people including employees and their families, clients, and investors drive the reputation of the company and whether it acts with a warm and strong heart. Humility is an essential quality of both Buddhism and leadership as is kindness, equanimity, and self-confidence. In business, right conduct, reputation, trust and high quality are all connected and create a loyal customer base, attract top employees and create sustained profitability.

V.) Interconnection

Especially at work, the organization is a network of highly complex conversations. The quality of discourse determines the health of the organization. Our words become thoughts. Thoughts become feelings. Feelings become fact. The role of leadership is to clear the path for productive conversations and to amplify the positive, forward-moving dialogue while buffering the negative distractions.

The Dalai Lama has both spiritual and political power because he serves the Tibetan people, who lost their home and their autonomous government to China. The loyalty he commands is based, not only on his skill as a great Buddhist monk, but on the fact that he has been a tireless advocate for Tibetans everywhere, and his people genuinely trust him to be a compassionate and effective servant of their needs and their culture.

The Dalai Lama is a great philosopher to study, because he does not ask you to “believe in” him, or try to force anyone to “become” Buddhist. He simply presents his ideas and beliefs, and encourages others to test those ideas to see if they work in practice. I believe that lots of them do work very well, even for non-religious people.

Hope you enjoyed this! If so please keep reading and kindly press the “Recommend” button below — it would mean a great deal to me!

This post originally appeared on LinkedIn.


Please Don’t forget to RECOMMEND this article if it was useful to you, it could be useful to others.



As Silicon Valley’s wunderkinds outgrow their hoodies, tech companies are seeking new ways to land and retain talent.

Forget the foosball table in the lobby and the beer Kegerator in the community kitchen. The newest crop of perks — paid parental leave, backup day care, student loan repayment assistance — reflect both the more adult preoccupations of today’s workers and the tech industry’s efforts to shed its reputation as a boys’ club.

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Facebook recently announced that it was expanding its four months of paid parental leave to include workers outside the U.S. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

“The market is incredibly hot, particularly for technology people,” said Dave Carvajal, CEO of Dave Partners, a technology executive recruitment firm. “Companies are having triple-digit, year-over-year growth in terms of revenues, and that usually requires them to double in size in terms of people.”

While earlier cycles of technology innovation were driven by hardware and products, today’s startups are more likely to be focused on mobile applications, services or software development. Without the overhead of manufacturing, the bar to entry is much lower and entrepreneurs can raise enough capital to start hiring more quickly.

“The cost of capital has gone down over the last 15 years,” said Mehul Patel, CEO of Hired.com. “It takes less and less money to get a technology company off the ground, so what really becomes important is being able to find talent.”

Vincent Antonelli, a senior consultant at HR consulting firm Towers Watson, said many tech companies have reached parity on salary structure, as well as more run-of-the-mill benefits like health insurance and 401(k) matching. Offering unusual perks helps them stand out.

“The thing I love about perks are that you can use them to target discrete employee segments,” he said.In this case, that usually means millennials, who are reshaping the compensation landscape as both employees and entrepreneurs. To compete, tech companies have seriously upped the ante in the perks arms race, particularly when it comes to parental leave.

For instance, Facebook recently announced that it was expanding its four months of paid parental leave to include workers outside the U.S., shortly after founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg became a first-time father.

Netflix announced unlimited parental leave in August, to go with its unlimited vacation policy. Microsoft more than doubled its paid maternity leave from eight weeks to 20 the same month.

The movement really picked up steam in November: Adobe expanded its parental leave to 26 weeks for new moms, Amazon bumped its up to 20 weeks and music streaming service Spotify announced that its employees could take six months.

“With our expanded policy, we can better support our people across a spectrum of age, gender and experience,” Donna Morris, senior vice president of people and places at Adobe, said via email.

With paid parental leave becoming near ubiquitous, companies are adding sweeteners to the generous paid-time-off policies.

Real estate platform Zillow Group, for instance, announced in November that in addition to 16 weeks of paid maternity leave — an increase from 12 weeks — plus eight weeks paid parental leave for all employees (such as new dads), it is offering a $1,000 “baby bucks” stipend.

“Our employee population is starting and building families,” said Zillow Group COO Amy Bohutinsky, “Many … find themselves making a choice between balance and their career path. The objective (is) having them stay at the company longer and build careers.”

Many tech companies are actively courting women and new mothers in particular, both to acquire skilled workers and to ditch the “fraternity row” culture that has characterized much of the industry.

IBM, for example, said in July that breast-feeding moms on business trips would be able to ship breast milk home for free. Other companies have offered to pay for female employees to have their eggs frozen, or for nannies to accompany working new moms on business trips.

Consulting company Accenture is among those making overtures to moms to be, announcing in March that it would double paid maternity leave to 16 weeks.

“We’ve made a very big commitment to gender equality at Accenture, and in order to do that you have to look at almost every part of your organization (and) think about what it takes to make sure that you can have that,” said Ellyn Shook, chief human resources officer. “You need to make sure that you have the programs and practices in place… for people to be successful.”

Shook said the additional leave, along with a policy keeping consultants — who often travel for extensive stretches to meet with clients — at home for the first year after having a baby will help keep professionals, particularly women, from feeling as if they must choose between their career and having a child.

Accenture also is one of a number of companies that is adding or expanding on a perk known as backup day care or emergency dependent care. The idea is that if a family’s regular babysitter comes down with the flu or a snowstorm shutters the day care but not the office, parents won’t have to burn a vacation day so they can stay home and watch their kid.

Experts caution that workers need to evaluate perks to ensure that they aren’t just gimmicks. For example, while “unlimited vacations” — which just stipulate that employees have to clear taking time off with their supervisors — sound great and have gotten more popular, some say the open-ended policy may make employees in ultra-competitive workplaces feel pressure to take even less time off.

Although experts say the new benefits arms race will eventually benefit workers in other industries, including the blue-collar labor market., for now they are primarily available to white-collar, salaried technology employees.

Bruce Elliott, manager of compensation and benefits at the Society for Human Resource Management, predicts the unemployment rate would have to fall to between 4 and 4.5 percent for the policies to spread dramatically.

“Once we see the job market start to recover a little more robustly… we could start to see these perks bleed down,” he said. “I think it’s a little bit too early right now.”

But some industries that need workers with the same skill sets as tech companies, like financial services and consulting, already are beginning to offer similar perks to compete for top talent.


“We’re actually starting to see this stuff bleed out,” Elliott said. He noted that Credit Suisse bank recently increased paid leave for new parents from 12 to 20 weeks and made nannies available for workers on business trips, while PricewaterhouseCoopers initiated a program to help new hires pay off student loans.

“They’re exploring this new best practices model, and it is starting to get picked up,” agreed Sara Sutton Fell, CEO of FlexJobs.com, adding that she hoped the growing awareness would reach all the way from Silicon Valley to Washington, D.C. “I do hope it trickles into more of the federal guidelines and employment law. As a country, we should be so embarrassed about the lack of support for working parents.”

Adobe’s Morris concurred. “Government mandates for paid leave in America are nearly nonexistent, so it’s up to companies… (to) help ensure employees have the support they need,” she said.




San Francisco tech “unicorns” Airbnb and Uber have poached more than 100 Google employees in recent months as the battle for top talent in the Bay intensifies and stocks gyrate wildly, a report in the New York Times said.

Airbnb has poached more than 100 workers from Google alone, the paper said. Unicorns are startups valued at $1 billion or more and there are currently 124 of them worldwide. They are closely held and as such their equity isn’t vulnerable to the volatile swings of the stock market. The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged more than 1,000 points at the New York open this morning. Google shares (NASDAQ: GOOG) are down 15 percent since mid-July.

In addition, tech companies that have seen their stock prices skid or their valuations slip, like Twitter and Yelp, have also seen their employees leave for younger companies that appear to be on a faster, safer growth trajectory. That trend is likely to intensify after the tech stock implosion, which saw Twitter dip below its IPO price for the first time since going public.

“The things that excite young tech workers are high growth and fast execution,”Dave Carvajal, founder of Dave Partners, a tech recruiting firm, told the New York Times. “It’s not that tough for the new unicorns to swing by these big, older tech companies and pick up busloads of talent.”

San Francisco-based Airbnb has more than doubled its workforce over the last year to around 2,000 employees worldwide, and has focused on hiring talent from Google than can help it build out its business.

Uber has ballooned from only 1,300 workers a year ago to 3,500 now, specifically in its engineering department, where its enhancing its mapping technologies. The Times reported Uber has hired at least a dozen former Googlers for its mapping department alone.

“These people think quite a bit about what our future growth potential is, what kind of impact we will have on the world, and, yes, what that would mean in terms of their equity,” Mike Curtis, vice president for engineering at Airbnb, told the paper.

Via: San Fransisco Business Times



Three mid-level bankers in Goldman Sachs Group Inc’s (GS.N) technology investment banking group in San Francisco have left to take positions at ride service company Uber Technologies Inc in recent months, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The bankers are the latest to leave Wall Street banks for Silicon Valley startups, where the lure of more flexible hours – and in some cases stock options and share grants – can be hard to resist. For tech companies, having bankers on staff can help smooth the path to an initial public offering and other capital raisings.

Uber, currently valued at around $51 billion, said in August that it expected an IPO within 18 to 24 months. It has already raised $7.4 billion from multiple financing rounds, and is the biggest so-called “unicorn” – the term for privately held tech startups worth $1 billion or more – that has yet to go public.

Goldman does not disclose attrition figures, but it has lost enough employees to startups, private equity firms, and other companies in recent years that it announced earlier this month a series of changes designed to help it retain more junior employees at the analyst and associate level, including promoting them faster. It has also set up a task force to help it retain mid-level employees who hold the vice president title.

Spokespeople for Goldman and Uber both declined to comment.The increasing attraction of other fields for Wall Street bankers underscores how increased regulation after the financial crisis has weighed on employees’ potential earnings from careers in the sector.

There is a lack of publicly available data documenting how many people have left the big banks, but there have been a series of high profile exits, including Ruth Porat, former chief financial officer at Morgan Stanley (MS.N), who earlier this year took a similar role at Google parent Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL.O), and Michael Evans, former vice chairman and head of Asia at Goldman, who became president of China e-commerce company Alibaba Group Holding (BABA.N) in August.

A vice president in Wall Street investment banking can get paid $500,000, including bonus, while a mid-level corporate development employee at a technology company like Uber might earn closer to $200,000, recruiters said. The banker’s salary will often fluctuate depending on how the deals and capital raising areas are doing in a particular year. Bankers may take pay cuts to move to Silicon Valley, but there is often the appeal of a better work-life balance and the opportunity to work at fast-growing private companies that can offer shares or stock options, and therefore the possibility of big IPO paydays for senior staff. Those gains can sometimes more than make up for the reduced salaries.


Some younger workers who would have been expected to head to Wall Street in the past are avoiding banks altogether. At Harvard Business School, for example, 20 percent of graduating students from the class of 2015 said they were taking jobs at technology companies, up from 11 percent in 2011, according to the school’s employment report.

While 31 percent of students said they were going to work for financial services companies, about three quarters of that group went into venture capital, private equity and leveraged buyout firms. The numbers going into investment banking and sales and trading, the traditional focus of firms like Goldman, halved to 5 percent, from 10 percent in 2011.

Banks may not like losing employees, but they would rather lose them to clients than to competitors, said Noah Schwarz, a senior recruiter at headhunters Korn Ferry. A banker that goes to a client is “viewed as a ‘good leaver,’” Schwarz said.

The three Goldman employees who joined Uber – Ian Kleinfield, Prabir Adarkar, and Chris Lapointe – did not return emails and LinkedIn messages seeking comment.

Uber has hired a number of senior employees from Goldman’s technology investment banking group before, including finance chief Gautam Gupta and corporate development head Cameron Poetzscher.

The ride service company often hires bankers for corporate development. They focus on plotting the company’s strategy and handling financial transactions including capital raising.Some of the bank’s employees would know Uber’s finances well as Goldman helped it to raise $1.6 billion by selling convertible securities to Goldman wealth management clients this year.

Former Goldman employees on the engineering side have also played key roles in creating the formulas that Uber uses to determine how much it should charge for rides at any given time based on demand, recruiters said.

Uber has relationships with a number of other Wall Street banks. They include Morgan Stanley, which was the lead arranger of a $2 billion line of credit for the company, also this year.


Uber is growing very rapidly, and now has about 5,000 employees, up from only about 550 at the beginning of 2014. The company has expanded to dozens of new cities in the past two years, and now spans 68 countries.

Chelsea Cooper worked at Goldman for four years before leaving the banking world behind during the financial crisis for a career in technology. She was hired at Uber in 2012 as general manager of the company’s United Kingdom operations, where she launched the service. For employees on the business side, “Uber really hired from two pools: from bankers or consultants,” said Cooper, who left Uber in 2013 and is now head of technology at recruiting firm Hired. Goldman ranks in the top 10 companies that Uber recruits from, ahead of even large technology firms like Twitter Inc (TWTR.N), Oracle Corp (ORCL.N) and Intel Corp (INTC.O), according to LinkedIn. Tech companies like Microsoft (MSFT.O) and Facebook (FB.O) are bigger sources for hiring than Goldman.

Other Silicon Valley companies have also been hiring former Goldman employees. The bank is one of the most sought-after for technology companies, who believe that Goldman screens and trains its employees rigorously, recruiters said. “If someone has made it through the Goldman Sachs process, you know they are a high-caliber hire,” said Dave Carvajal, founder and CEO of Dave Partners, a tech recruiting firm.

Goldman’s expertise in technology banking helps too. Its technology team, which is one of the bank’s largest investment banking groups, has advised technology companies on more merger deals than any other bank in the world so far this year, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Via: Reuters



En temps normal, l’introduction en Bourse de Pure Storage serait quasiment passée inaperçue. Mais voilà, cela fait près de trois mois qu’aucune société technologique ne s’est risquée à se frotter aux investisseurs de Wall Street. Du jamais-vu depuis plus de six ans. Mercredi 7 octobre, les premiers pas boursiers de l’entreprise californienne, spécialisée dans le stockage de données, ont donc été observés de près. Ils n’ont pas été positifs : introduite à 17 dollars, l’action a terminé la séance à 16,01 dollars, soit une baisse de 5,82 %.

Cet épisode confirme que les entreprises high-tech ne font plus recette à Wall Street. Les plus hauts historiques récemment touchés par Apple, Google, Facebook ou encore Amazon masquent les plongeons de nombreuses entreprises du secteur. A l’image de Twitter, dont le cours a chuté de 46 % depuis la fin avril. Ou de Yelp, site spécialisé dans la publication d’avis de consommateurs, victime d’une dégringolade de 59 % cette année ; ou, plus récemment, de GoPro, le fabricant de caméras miniatures, avec un repli de 53 % en deux mois.

Les derniers arrivants ne font pas mieux. Six mois après ses débuts réussis sur les marchés actions, le titre du e-commerçant Etsy évolue sous son cours d’introduction. Idem pour la plate-forme de prêts entre particuliers Lending Club et pour Box, le spécialiste du cloud computing, après moins d’un an de cotation. Plus surprenant, Alibaba est aussi dans ce cas. En septembre 2014, le géant chinois du commerce en ligne avait fait une entrée en fanfare sur le New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Il s’était même octroyé le record de la plus grande introduction en Bourse de l’histoire. La valeur a depuis perdu 43 % sur ses plus hauts.


Au-delà des problématiques spécifiques, plusieurs points communs émergent. Le plus important : un optimisme initial des marchés ayant entraîné une surévaluation. Fin décembre 2013, quand l’action Twitter a touché son plus haut niveau historique (74 dollars, soit trois fois plus que le cours actuel), la capitalisation boursière du réseau social dépassait les 40 milliards de dollars (35 milliards d’euros) contre 20 milliards de dollars aujourd’hui. Cela représentait plus de trente-cinq fois le niveau de chiffre d’affaires alors attendu pour 2014. Le réseau de microblogging était la société Internet la plus chère. Dans ces conditions, il était difficile, pour le groupe basé à San Francisco (Californie), de satisfaire les attentes de Wall Street.

Il n’est pas le seul dans ce cas. Au bout d’un moment, les marchés doivent affronter la réalité des chiffres et des perspectives de croissance. Dans ce cadre, la publication des résultats trimestriels est un exercice périlleux. Fin juillet, l’action de Yelp avait ainsi perdu un quart de sa valeur en une seule séance. Quelques jours plus tard, Etsy avait vu son cours plonger de 28 %. « Leur croissance ralentit. Ils ne peuvent plus justifier leur valorisation », estime Gil Luria, analyste de Wedbush Securities.

Ces dégringolades boursières n’affectent pas que les actionnaires. Elles pénalisent directement les employés. Dans la Silicon Valley, il est coutume de distribuer des actions gratuites aux salariés. Les sommes en jeu sont parfois colossales. Chez Twitter, les rémunérations en actions devraient être comprises entre 750 et 790 millions de dollars en 2015. GoPro a déjà dépensé 45 millions de dollars cette année.

Un cours de Bourse en baisse ou de faibles perspectives de croissance peuvent alors se traduire en départs de salariés. D’autant que les ingénieurs de la Silicon Valley n’hésitent pas à changer d’emploi. « Il existe de nombreuses opportunités dans des start-up en forte croissance, indique

Dave Carvajal, directeur du cabinet de recrutement Dave Partners. Pour ces entreprises, ce n’est pas très compliqué de débaucher un talent. Et la tâche est facilitée si un employeur connaît des difficultés sur les marchés boursiers. »


« Le moral des employés de Twitter est très bon », assurait, lundi 5 octobre, Jack Dorsey, peu après sa confirmation au poste de directeur général du réseau social. « Beaucoup de personnes se posent des questions sur leur avenir », rétorque un salarié. Les employés de Twitter sont en effet devenus une cible privilégiée des recruteurs d’Uber, de Airbnb et d’autres « licornes », ces start-up valorisées à plus d’un milliard de dollars. Elles leur offrent davantage de responsabilités et des salaires élevés. Surtout, elles peuvent leur faire miroiter des gains importants en actions.

Lire aussi : En Bourse, Twitter est revenu à son niveau de fin 2013

Twitter, Yelp et les autres ont aussi davantage de mal à recruter. Le site de microblogging s’apprêterait même à supprimer des emplois, rapportait, vendredi 9 octobre, le site d’information Re/code. « La bulle causée par les licornes a aggravé les défis en termes de main-d’œuvre, en particulier pour les entreprises cotées dont le cours de l’action stagne », estime Mark Mahaney, analyste chez RBC Capital. « Pour compenser, elles doivent offrir des rémunérations plus importantes », ajoute M. Carvajal. Cela se traduit par une hausse de leurs dépenses, ce qui complique d’autant leur chemin vers la rentabilité. « Dans plusieurs secteurs, nos coûts ont augmenté », reconnaissait fin juillet Geoff Donaker, le directeur opérationnel de Yelp. La société a revu à la baisse la croissance prévue de ses équipes commerciales, à 30 % cette année, et non plus 40 %.


La situation n’est pas près de s’arranger. Au deuxième trimestre, les start-up américaines ont levé plus de 17 milliards de dollars auprès des fonds de capital-risque, d’après les données compilées par National Venture Capital Association. Un record depuis fin 2000, peu avant l’éclatement de la bulle Internet. A cela s’ajoutent les investissements réalisés par les sociétés de gestion d’actifs, les fonds souverains ou de grandes entreprises étrangères, notamment chinoises.

Ces liquidités permettent aux licornes de rivaliser avec leurs aînées. Mais aussi de retarder leur entrée en Bourse. Seul le spécialiste du paiement mobile Square prévoit de franchir le cap cette année. Selon la firme Renaissance Capital, les entreprises high-tech n’ont représenté que 11 % des opérations boursières réalisées en 2015 aux Etats-Unis. Les conditions de marché jouent un rôle important – certaines sociétés auraient eu à justifier leur valorisation à Wall Street. Mais pas seulement. Les licornes ne souhaitent pas être soumises aux aléas de la Bourse. Car elles pourraient se retrouver dans la même position que Twitter, Yelp ou GoPro.
Via: La Monde



Venture capitalists have fueled a boom in so-called unicorn startups, companies valued at $1 billion and up. Now software engineers and developers are setting a target of their own — $1 million pay packages — to go work for the unicorns.

Companies ranging from ride-hailing giant Uber to grocery delivery service Instacart to cybersecurity specialist Tanium are offering compensation packages to software experts in high-demand areas worth $1 million and up, recruiters and venture capitalists say. To reach $1 million, however, the packages count a few years of salary at $150,000 to $175,000 plus equity that vests over several years and may or may not ultimately be worth as much as it is today.

“For startups with $1 billion-plus valuations, they’re willing to pay aggressively and offer stock,” says Scott Purcell, a division manager at recruiter Jobspring Partners in San Jose, Calif., who focuses on developers and big data experts. The big appeal of stock from unicorns is that “with a large, private company, it’s already worth something.”

The offers come as VC money pours into startups at a heady pace not seen since the Internet bubble. In the second quarter, venture capitalists invested $17.5 billion to back startups, the highest total since the fourth quarter of 2000, according to a report from PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association.

Equity-heavy compensation packages make sense given the battles over the most sought-after engineers, says Jeff Bussgang, general partner at Flybridge Capital Partners.

“We are in the midst of a talent war and there’s no truce anticipated,” Bussgang says. The best engineers are worth 10 times more than a mediocre developer, but huge differentials in cash salaries wouldn’t go over well. “It is against social norms to offer 10 times the cash to a 25-year-old as compared to their cube mate,” Bussgang says. “So, equity is the best tool.”

More money freed up for salaries

Talent wars for engineers in Silicon Valley are nothing new, of course. Software engineers on average make $134,000 in the Valley and benefit from all kinds of lavish perks, from free lunch and dry cleaning to private Wi-Fi-enabled bus rides to and from the office. Steve Jobs even conspired with some of his fellow CEOs to stop poaching each other’s workers and hold down salaries. But it isn’t just the amazing amounts of money flooding into the unicorn start-ups that’s changed the market.

Companies’ ability to spend more of venture capitalists’ resources on engineering talent is also a result of the declining cost of other aspects of startups. In the 1990s, companies spent huge sums on hardware to build their own server farms and online infrastructure. Now they contract out to Amazon (AMZN) and other providers on an as-needed basis, explains Dave Carvajal, a co-founder of the web site HotJobs in the 1990s and now the CEO of his own recruiting firm, Dave Partners.

“The thing that’s really changed is the cost of computing has gone down so significantly,” Carvajal says. “Today the best and highest use of capital is for people.”

Uber’s pitch to in-demand mobile app developers can include one- or two-thousandths of 1% of equity in the San Francisco-based startup. That doesn’t sound like much until calculated against Uber’s recent private valuation of $51 billion. Two-thousandths of 1% of $51 billion is just over $1 million. Uber did not respond to a request for comment.

Of course, packages from Uber or other “unicorns” won’t be worth close to $1 million if valuations collapse like they did at the end of the first Internet bubble. The debate over whether the market is in the midst of another tech bubble fueled by flowing VC money rages on.

Uber is the most valuable of all the 140 known “unicorns,” according to data from CB Insights. So lesser-valued startups must offer somewhat larger slices of equity to hit the desired $1 million package value. Last month, longtime VCs Jim Breyer and Bill Gurley sounded off about their fears of a bubble. Others, like Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff and a trio of analysts at Andreessen Horowitz, maintain there’s less risk in the market than feared.

Another firm making big offers for engineers is grocery-delivery service Instacart. In a heated battle with Amazon to crack what’s previously been a low-margin black hole for startups, Instacart raised $220 million in January at a $2 billion valuation. Now it’s offering as much as a few hundredths of 1% of the company plus salary for top talent, some recruiters say.

The company declined to comment on compensation. “The engineers at Instacart are solving for very complicated and robust challenges, so we compensate them accordingly,” spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg said.

Tanium and Medallia, a startup aimed at improving customer service that’s also mentioned by recruiters in the $1-million-offers club,  declined to comment.

Very few tech companies have gone public lately — just one in the third quarter. But engineers and other employees at large private companies can still cash out their shares once their equity awards vest. The secondary market for private shares, where participation is limited to wealthy accredited investors and funds, remains quite active, says Joe Riggione, managing partner at recruiting firm True.

“There’s always a way to get your money out even without an IPO event,” he says.

That will remain true for the foreseeable future, at least until the bubble pops — if there is one.

Via: Yahoo Finance