Show Me The Equity

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I’ve had a number of interesting conversations over the last three weeks with clients & candidates about equity which all prompted me to gather my thoughts and write this piece.

Last week we attended a number of the scheduled sessions and networking events at The Web Summit in Dublin – for those that haven’t been its essentially a gathering of the global tech industry with a whole heap of interesting 20 minute life experience sessions, ranging from Michael Dell & Sean Rad, CEO of Tinder. What’s less apparent in the marketing blurb, but so evidently obvious if you’re around the event and socialising in the pubs is the sheer number of venture capital and private equity businesses in town casting their eyes over the next new thing. It was suggested by a friend of mine that there was well over 2000 VC & PE folks in town for the three days. 

I met three companies who were all at an incredibly early stage of their development – all had proof of concept applications developed but none that were ready to launch. None had sold one dollar/euro/pound of revenue yet, and none had received any VC/PE funding. All of them were saying that there was no way they were going to be giving away anything less than 5-10% equity in their businesses to the funders. 

We’ve just started working with a cloud UC provider who are doing incredibly well over the last 6 months disrupting a very mature and unexciting marketplace, doing some massive deals with clients, and delivering revenue and gross profit. They’re considering a floatation in the next six months, and it was really interesting hearing some of their senior sales folk saying that the float, and their ultimate earning from it, was the single most exciting thing that was going to happen in the next 12 months. I couldn’t help but think that when this business floats, and equity and shares get vested, they’re going to lose a huge amount of the talent that got them to floatation because these guys are actually “invested”. This is a small business relatively speaking, and I’m just not sure they’ll be able to cope with the mass exodus when it comes – but maybe in the cloud space that really doesn’t matter anymore?

I’ve recently been helping a friend qualify a potential senior hire to his fast growing, but effectively start-up, technology business – the senior guy had come with a rock star CV from a number of big roles at a number of big internet brands. He was looking for a big salary and a big bonus. And a big expenses package. Plus he didn’t want to be “hands-on” building the team as he was above that. Oh yeah, and he wanted equity!! My friend is “invested” – he’s put in months and months of late nights and weekends, he’s actively hands on in the development, presales, design, sales, post sales, delivery, billing, cash flow & management of each & every deal.

So far this year, only 14% of the Initial Public Offerings (IPO) done in the US were done by tech companies, which is the smallest percentage since at least the mid 1990’s. The market for IPOs has turned chilly and inhospitable, and many in the tech space that have floated have seen their stock suffer significant loses. This ripple is impacting on some of the most promising private tech start-ups in the US and Europe, which is certainly impacting on their ability to hire and keep key people. From speaking with a number of international VC folk last week, some of the financing/funding numbers are being dramatically revised down from earlier in the year. Those from the US have big fears about what a future Fed rate rise (expected in December) will do to the market.

I have a view on all of this which comes from being an equity owner in two businesses, but I guess this is all ultimately relevant to company size, ambition and whether you’re the giver or taker of equity! If you’re looking for equity as part of a package, it’s sometimes a case of be careful what you wish and ask for. In a small business, like mine and my friends above, are you willing to give blood, sweat & tears and some in return for a piece of the business? I would certainly expect so, and that expectation can carry huge responsibility. In a larger business, that will directly be impacted by some of the micro and macro factors mentioned above, know that equity may not be the golden goose you expect it to be. And if you’ve done no revenue or sales yet, and are talking about multiple of x10 and x12, go and sign some revenue generating sales!

new-office-ingenio

New London Office

‘Open for Business’

The Ingenio London team are very pleased to have completed a recent office move to New Broad Street in the heart of the City. Our brand new office space is an amazing environment featuring open workspace, high end meeting rooms and a purpose built office for our team. We are so proud of our new space that we have literally thrown open our doors and have visits every day from clients, candidates, partners and friends.

There is always someone here in our office so please do come and visit us for a chat and a drink anytime at New Broad Street House, just by Liverpool Street and five minutes walk from Bank.

telecoms-assessment

Telecom Recruitment Assessment Centres

6 months into my career in the recruitment game I was granted a fantastic opportunity. One of my top clients, an Irish based Voice and Voice Recording Specialist, came to me looking for a couple of Junior/Trainee Engineers. Faced with filling multiple positions of essentially the same role, I came up with the idea of streamlining the process through an Assessment Centre. The concept is simple; you set a date, time and venue and invite select candidates to come in and be reviewed through a combination of group and individual exercises. This allows the client to evaluate candidates on a number of characteristics and aptitudes such as how they interact with others, react under pressure, work in groups, their technical competency, ability to understand and interpret instructions and deal with confrontational personalities, to name just a few.telecoms-assessment

I don’t claim to be an innovator with this approach in any way, this method of evaluating job hunters and applicants is a tried and true method that has been around for decades. Like most college graduates or job seekers, I have gone through many formal interview processes like this while looking for a job myself, and have had good and bad experiences. However, running the process; managing the logistics, designing the exercises and structure of the day is a completely different matter to just taking part as a candidate. After pitching the idea to client, we got the go ahead to run with the idea. The venue would be on client site, and the date was around 4 weeks out from our conversation.

The location was a perfect setting to introduce candidates to their potential future employer, and also gave us an idea of the maximum number of candidates we would be looking to invite. From there it was up to me and my team to find and screen candidates and design a process in collaboration with the client that would evaluate the candidates and allow us to make informed decisions on their potential for the role. As with any event, there is the initial difficulty of getting attendees. As a recruiter, we have traditional sourcing methods for finding candidates. However, to reach the profile of candidates we wanted for this (recent graduates from a technical course/background) we had to adapt a different approach. Figuring this out was quite a challenge, and took some tinkering, experimentation and time to get it right. When we did, we were blasted with applications for the role, which required a massive time commitment from myself and the team to pick the most suitable applicants.

The lead up to the event itself was, as one could imagine, a trying period with candidates dropping out and logistical difficulties arising. Our working motto of ‘hope for the best, prepare for the worst’ served us well as we prepared for every contingency we could think of, such as overbooking with more candidates than the venue could hold. Although we had a plan for the exercises we would run, a combination of sprint interviews and individual and group exercises, there was still some last minute adjustments made following continuous review and debate within the Ingenio team and the client. The entire process required constant fine-tuning. Thankfully, when the day came, it ran as smoothly as we could’ve hoped for.

Having tested and fine-tuned the process and seen its success, I will now be running monthly or bi-monthly Assessment Centres in both Ingenio offices in Dublin and London. We will be holding them for both young sales and technically minded job seekers. This will allow us to manage and maintain a pipeline of great candidates for both our current clients, potential clients and for our own internal hiring needs. As an Ingenio Enhanced Service, hiring from an Ingenio Client Dedicated Assessment Centre is priced at a premium rate. However, the value of an assessment centre for a client is unquestionable, as it allows you to significantly speed up the time to hire by circumventing the formal 2/3 stage process you would normally run, and do it all in 1 afternoon or morning, with the same outcome: the hiring of an ideal fit for your organisation!

If you would be interested in hearing more about the next Ingenio Assessment Centre, please get in touch by using the contact form located on the side.

AIB

Featured in AIB Business

We’re delighted to have been asked by AIB, who are one of Ireland’s leading retail & business banks, to provide some insight into how organisations can derisk the hiring process. Based upon our experiences, and what we do every day in the technology sector, we’ve come up with some recommendations to follow. Or not as the case may be!!

Hope you enjoy it, and let us know if we can help.

New Recruitment Partner to G3

Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 10.26.45We are proud to announce that we have been made the official recruitment partner to G3 Comms.

You can view this announce on RecruiterChannelWeb and Recruitment International.

ingenio global

Through the Virtual Looking Glass

I have recently joined the Ingenio Global team, we specialise in Technology Recruiting and Consulting. Rob Magee and James Smith set up Ingenio Global because of their passion for the Industry. The way Rob and James’s talk about what they do, how they help their clients and Ingenio Globals potential is invigorating. They have great ideas for the future of Ingenio, but I have some of my own.

I have always been interested in new technology, I am from the Generation Y demographic and to be fair the vast majority of us Generation Y’s love anything tech based, it has become an integral part our lives. We can embrace this fact or we can ignore it. I am a firm believer that we need to keep up with the times.  My gut feeling is that 2016 is the start of the Technology Revolution. We are teetering on the edge of every day use of Augmented Reality (AR), Artificial Intelligence (A.I) and what I’m going to talk about, Virtual Reality (V.R).

Virtual Reality is undoubtedly the future and the revolution is starting right now! We saw a glimpse of VRs potential in 2015 but 2016 is the year it’s going to take off in my opinion. According to tech adviser Digi-Capital, VR and AR are markets that could generate as much as $120 billion in revenue by 2020. The Major players in the VR industry are the Oculus Rift, HTC and now Apple.

VR is slowly but surely taking over the gaming industry and its bound to flood other industries. Gamers are obsessed with games such as World of Warcarft, Minecraft and Grand theft auto 5. These are all games where you are placed in a Virtual world, you live your life there, you build a home, you interact with other users but it is missing that real feeling and that is where VR steps in, VR gives you the sensation that you are physically there. It is the first step to lessen the gap between a Virtual life and a Real life.

Through the Virtual Looking Glass

Clearly we can see the potential for VR but what does this mean for Ingenio Global. My idea is VR Offices, interviews, and Real Life Work Situations;

VR Office:

Getting the ideal candidate is hard, but getting them to where they geographically need to be is time consuming and cost ineffective. VR could eliminate the need for a prospective candidate to travel to see a company’s office and get to know their potential work environment. They could be given a tour of the office or they could just free roam around and take it all in. This opportunity would both be easier but also exciting for the prospective candidate.

Interviews:

Imaging how great this would be for both the Interviewer and equally the Interviewee. The interview could be easy to organize and it would be a more structured and organized environment. The interviewer would have control of the situation and then it would be up to the prospective candidate to react in the correct manner.

Real Life Work Situations:

In day-to-day life nothing is certain and anything can happen, sometime it is important to see how somebody reacts in high tempo and stressful situations. Do they stay relaxed or can they not handle the pressure? These are hard questions and maybe a step too far but they might be the necessary step if you want the best and ideal candidate.

Overall VR is coming and its up to us to be ahead of the curve or we might quickly find ourselves as outdated as Videotapes.

Financial Services & Fintech under attack

Hacker typing on a laptop with binary code in background

Ingenio participated in a fascinating round table discussion hosted by Tech UK – the UK trade association for the technology industry last night. The theme was the impact of cyber crime on the financial services and fintech industries with insightful contributions made from the European Head of Information Security at Citibank, Sheridan Knowles, along with Sandeep Kumar who heads up Cybersecurity for CapGemini and Ben Lowater – a director of critical national infrastructure at GCHQ, amongst others.

It was interesting to see the ‘push and pull’ of opinions from senior individuals who come from three different perspectives: those that sell advice, those that buy advice and those that want to support the finance industry to flourish but with the principle aim of protecting national security and UK citizens. What’s clear to me is that even with some of the greatest minds on this topic brought together in one room, there is no clear answer and strategy as to how to best deal with this elusive threat of cyber crime which is becoming more sophisticated by the second. Sheridan Knowles publically commented that the Citi global network gets hit every 34 seconds by some form of attack on their IT and communications infrastructure.

With cyber crime becoming a bigger industry than the drugs trade, it is clear as to why the UK government has pledged £860 million between 2011-2015 to help protect the UK and its infrastructure from this burgeoning threat.

Ingenio is pleased to play a small part in helping to protect the UK’s biggest industry against criminal activity by sourcing the best cyber talent in leadership, know-how and consulting, incident response and business as usual support.