Forget Hollywood: New Talent Agency To Set Up Shop In Silicon VallleyBY: Kathryn Hough | June 3, 2012
Talent agencies are not just for models and actresses hoping to make it big in the entertainment business. The newest hotspot for talent is in engineering. If geeks are the new rockstars, then former Foursquare head of talent Morgan Missen is with the band.
Missen will be opening her own talent agency, called Main, that will focus on serving the software engineering community. Hiring top engineering talent has gone beyond challenging to almost impossible for many ambitious startups. The small talent pool combined with competition from a growing number of startups is causing companies to change their talent acquisition strategies, from offering perks like in-office massages, to outright stealing employees from other top technology companies.
Missen is hoping to both help build engineering teams for startups, and help guide individual engineers through the onboarding process at companies. With many startups offering new employees attractive benefits like equity with vesting schedules, navigating through contracts and relocation packages can be confusing for those who are not so business savvy.
Missen’s talent agency fills a hole in a niche market that has needed a service like this for a long time. Many startups are still founded over a handshake and a beer. The informal culture of technology startups can sometimes leave potential business relationships ambiguous. The startup industry does need an independent agency that can professionally advocate for young or inexperienced developers. Main will work with talent that is navigating the ins and outs of multiple job offers. The agency will help engineers decide who to work for, how to evaluate offers, and how to negotiate benefits.
With an impeccable track record, which includes talent acquisition at International Programming & Systems, Google, Twitter, and Foursquare, Missen already has a rolodex ( a digital one of course) that extends to some of the top talent working in digital technology today. Main is expected to launch within the year.
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Kathryn HoughKathryn is a writer for Techli covering ecommerce, social, and the startup hubs of Portland, St. Louis, and Chicago. She is the CMO and co-founder of Huedio, a startup that is currently in stealth mode. Kathryn was an early employee at DailyBurn, a TechStars class of 2008, which was acquired by IAC in 2010. Prior to her foray into startups, Kathryn co-founded the New School Free Press at New School University.
Why didn't anyone do this before? (Or did they?) At first when I saw the headline, I thought it was referring to the entertainment industry having more prominence in Silicon Valley (like that new reality show.) But this makes a lot more sense.