4. Gain street cred through a rock star advisory board and investors.
Recruiting a strong advisory board does a few things for you:
a. Validates your concept and you as a founder
b. Provides needed expertise: my advisors were instrumental in evaluating technical talent and helping me understand what qualities to look for in a Chief Technology Officer (CTO)
c. Provides an additional selling point: you may find that some of your CTO candidates didn’t have access to or just simply never tried to make connections with professionals of this caliber.
The seasoned executives and entrepreneurs I brought onto my team early were strong selling points as they became mentors to the entire team.
5. If appropriate, brand your venture as a technology company within the tech community.
Your initial team sets the engineering culture for your company and can impact your ability to attract engineering talent as your company expands. I’ve realized that talented engineers are not interested in working at a fashion company that has a technical component, but they are willing to work at a cutting-edge technology company focusing on the fashion sector.
Your technology branding should be communicated clearly and appeal to a technical maverick that can come up with creative solutions. If your venture offers the opportunity to work on interesting technological challenges, highlight them (i.e. solving for large amounts unstructured data, machine learning, augmented reality).
My best contacts for potential team members were all referrals from other engineers and investors. These contacts were great sources for framing the opportunity and can also help craft enticing formal job descriptions.
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Karen Moon has over a decade of experience in retail and technology. She has invested, advised and worked with several retail and consumer products companies that have redefined their categories. She is co-founder and CEO of a stealth technology start up.
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