“In the Studio” this week welcomes a serial entrepreneur who has previously founded four companies, three of which were acquired (two by public companies), quickly established himself as a thought-leader at the intersection of entrepreneurship and education, and now, after a brief stint as an EIR on Sand Hill Road, is back at it again founding his next venture focused on reinventing how companies identify and recruit talent.
Jon Bischke is a machine when it comes to education-related startups. After exploring some ideas as an EIR with Battery Ventures, he noticed that not only were founders troubled by the difficulty of finding and hiring technical talent, but that these activities posed one of the great scaling challenges facing startups today. In parallel, Bischke noticed changing norms around the power of credentialing from traditional bastions of higher education. Whereas in the past formal credentials in technical subjects may have provided the strongest signal to employers, new reputation systems — such as GitHub for developers — have emerged and now provide new, and in some cases, more relevant signals as they pertain to the world of software development.
And, thus, Bischke’s fifth venture Entelo was born. While Entelo is in limited beta today, Bischke and his team want to design a system whereby companies, big or small, can property identify, monitor, and recruit candidates that fit the needs for their organizations. The timing couldn’t be better, or depending on where you sit, couldn’t come soon enough. Just a few weeks ago, the CEO of a well-funded, successful startup publicly announced a $25,000 incentive for engineers to leave Yahoo!, which recently laid off thousands of employees, a move that underscores just how difficult hiring is today. Bischke’s vision for Entelo is offer a proactive solution to these bottlenecks and, of course, participate in making those connections happen early and often.
Bischke is a pro at founding startups, and now on his fifth company, this conversation showcases what makes him a standout entrepreneur and could prove instructional for many out there looking to found their own companies. Additionally, what’s most impressive to me is the thought-leadership position he’s established on using technology and his blog to challenge the status quo in education. He has invested much of his own time traveling to different cities around the country, spending time with entrepreneurial communities, and learning directly from them about their needs. He’s chronicled some of these travels on TechCrunch and has assumed leadership positions to make sure the technology community doesn’t become too disconnected from the rest of the country, what he calls the “flyover states.” For him, that’s home. Originally from the midwest himself (Minnesota to be specific), Bischke had made a new home in the Valley but hasn’t forgotten where he’s from.