When Manny Medina started pitching GroupTalent to VCs, many of them scoffed, “so you’re a dating website for developers.” They’d say it in a derisive way, Medina recalls, prompting him to get defensive. Sure, he’d say, GroupTalent was a marketplace for hiring developers using a “try before you buy” approach–developers and companies would start with a basic contract before moving on to a full hire–but it wasn’t as trivial as some dating site.
“As we kept growing,” he says now with a laugh, “companies started describing us as a dating site for developers. If a customer’s telling us that’s what we are and are paying, they can call us whatever we want.” GroupTalent now proclaims loudly on the part of its website facing developers: “Get paid to date companies.”
Fundamentally, GroupTalent is a “matchmaking platform between employers and, at this point, developers,” says Medina. Developers sign up on the site, listing languages they’re adept at as well as–crucially–what they hope to get out of their next job. GroupTalent conducts a short interview with developers to flesh out their file. Meanwhile, GroupTalent also allows companies to post positions they’re looking to fill. GroupTalent then runs a bit of algorithmic magic to match developers and companies.
In a recent example, Leap Motion, the makers of a much-anticipated Kinect-like device, was looking to staff up quickly. GroupTalent provided five developers Leap Motion was interested in, and the company wound up hiring two of those. Medina finds interesting that one of the hires had previously worked at another startup that was “literally two blocks away” from Leap Motion in the SoMa neighborhood of San Francisco. “Even with that close geographic proximity, you still don’t have clarity about who is hiring for what,” says Medina, who adds that he would like GroupTalent to bring greater transparency to what he calls a murky labor market.
Ultimately, says Medina, he’d like GroupTalent to move beyond the market for developers. “Our ambitions are clearly grander. We want to be the platform where discovery and engagement for the labor market actually happens.”
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