Venture funding Is Cool, But Who Is Raising Human Capital?

September 30, 2013

1:00 pm

So much of the tech blogosphere is filled with announcements of closing rounds of financings, so much that you’d think Twitter was acquired by Bloomberg. Although raising money is hard and to some extent worth celebrating, why aren’t there more conversations around startups developing talent?

Working at a startup is a challenging job, and there’s no getting around it. The learnings and responsibility you gain can be unparalleled to any other career experience. Just as much credit can be given to the employee as the startup for providing an environment for their people to grow. Here’s a glimpse into just a few Chicago startups taking talent development seriously:

1. WeDeliver. By crowdsourcing its delivery workforce with native Chicagoans, WeDeliver is proving that startups can lift up all of Chicago.

2. Spartz Media. Giving new meaning to putting your money where your mouth is, Spartz Media trains all employees on word-of-mouth marketing by purchasing Andy Sernovitz’s book on the topic for every new hire.

3. ParkWhiz. In hosting events with organizations like HackerX, ParkWhiz empowered many a developer to test the waters at a startup, or move to a startup of better fit – this week’s speed dating event being another shining example.

4. Red Frog Events. Bringing on an army of interns each season, Red Frog gives many a hungry young professional her start in the startup ecosystem and extends invites to stay onboard based on merit.

Guest author Shaun Johnson is a technologist, early adopter, and helper of people. He is the cofounder of Startup Institute. Previously, Shaun was an associate at TechStars, the #1 startup accelerator providing seed stage investment and mentorship. He is a recovering management consultant and has advised companies in various spaces across the emerging technology landscape. Shaun is also an entrepreneur in residence at Georgetown University and has helped numerous startups with product roadmapping, getting off the ground and taking market share. Shaun holds a BA in computer science & sociology from Georgetown University and an MS in information systems from The Johns Hopkins University.

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