HubSpot Declares Tech Talent War in BostonJanuary 24, 2011
Boston Business Journal
by Galen Moore
If you’re a software engineer, walk down Kendall Square’s Main Street at your peril: there’s a target on your back. The demand for tech talent has turned Boston into the wild East.
HubSpot Inc. CTO and co-founder Dharmesh Shah today declared he has “fire(d) the first shot” in a Boston battle for tech talent. HubSpot, a venture-backed marketing software company of about 180 souls, has been on a hiring tear. In a blog post this afternoon, Shah put up a $10,000 bounty poster on all “brilliant” software developers. In other words, HubSpot will pay you ten grand for referring a geek they hire.
Shah is hoping his swagger will have bigger companies shaking in their boots. In an email interview today (he abhors the telephone), Shah told me he has his sights lined up on developers inside large enterprises. In an as-yet unannounced program he calls “prison break,” he hopes to bait engineers out of cube farms using the allure of startup “hacker” culture.
“Come interview at HubSpot,” Shah said. “If you really are awesome (enough to make it to the final interview), we’ll give you $500 to have a nice tech dinner with a few local hackepreneurs….They can then explain to you why life is so much better in the startup world than in the big, dark, boring company you’re in. We can help plan your ‘break out.’”
HubSpot has “millions of dollars of cash in the bank,” Shah said. He declined to comment on a report last week that the company is raising a $200 million late-stage round with Google Ventures and Sequoia Capital, but confirmed the company has seen some new interest from VCs.
“We don’t need the cash, but some additional investment from some great firms would further fuel our growth—so we’re considering it,” he said.
HubSpot hasn’t raised money since a $16 million Series C round in October, 2009 led by Venture Scale Partners of California, who joined previous investors General Catalyst Partners of Cambridge and Matrix Partners of Waltham. That brought the company’s funding to about $33 million.
High-tech job board Dice.com last week reported the average Boston IT salary rose 2 percent in 2010, to $86,782. It’s not a huge increase, but it beat the national average (0.7 percent). However, Boston still lags behind Silicon Valley ($99,028), according to Dice.
Shah said Boston is in good shape as long as its salaries are “fair,” and top recruits get rewarded. HubSpot is also looking to hire away talent from smaller markets, he said: first on its list of towns to pillage is Minneapolis, Minn. Shah’s tag line: ‘It’s freezing cold here too, but at least you’d be in a vibrant startup ecosystem. Upgrade your life—join a startup in Boston.”
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