[Week Six] Hub Ventures : Leveraging Human Capital

This week in Hub Ventures, we dove into the topic of Leveraging Human Capital: How to attract world class talent to your organization, especially when financial resources are slim. Companies are always trying to figure out how to divide up equity and reward employees in an equitable manner.

The conversation began with Arno Harris from Recurrent Energy talking about his experience hiring various teams, what you are looking for in talent, and how to retain the best people. The topic then switched to a more straight forward explanation of equity structures and some do’s and don’ts to be aware of when offering stock options and equity to employees. One of the biggest points was to be aware of offering percentages, because  as multiple rounds of investment proceed and the founders shares are diluted, a percentage (even a small percentage) can end up being fairly substantial.

After Arno finished, Premal Shah from Kiva spoke about how he has been able to attract lots of talent to work for low-pay or free.  One of the points he made is to go after the young, eager, and optimistic people who are willing to drop out of college to come work for your business, because they are so passionate about what is going on.

Premal also brought up lots of questions about for-profit vs. non-profit, and why the non-profit route was appropriate for Kiva.  This brought up a lot of questions for the cohort since many teeter on the for-profit/non-profit line. Premal had many great pieces of advice for organizational strategy, talent attraction and retention, company values, and ways to scale impact.

After this workshop, I feel these are important questions to answer for a start up: How do you attract top quality talent early on in your venture when money is tight?  What are the limitations in the different structures of non-profit vs. for-profit, and which one makes the most sense for my venture?  Can you attract free or discounted services as a for-profit with a strong social mission?  Do I need a co-founder or is it ok to go it alone?

I’m excited about next week. Penelope Douglas is speaking about Thinking Like an Investor.  What are the key things that investors want to hear when making investment decisions?

Remember to continue this discussion of ideas on Twitter: @HubVentures

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