DeveloperAuction, a platform where engineers can put themselves out to dozens or hundreds of potential employers, raised $2.7 million from NEA, Sierra Ventures, Crosslink Capital, Google Ventures, Jeff Clavier’s SoftTech VC, and John Suliman’s Step Partners. Part of the idea behind this round is to tap the portfolio companies of each of these venture firms.
DeveloperAuction is trying to reverse the way that in-house recruiters attract top-flight engineers. Developers that are actively interested in leaving their current companies can apply to be part of a batch of 150 or so candidates. They put themselves and their resumes out there for venture-backed companies like Dropbox to bid on with salary and equity offers over a two-week period. If they’re interested, the engineers can follow up for interviews and go through the normal hiring process.
So far, that’s resulted in $225 million in job offers for developers on the site. The company used to run auctions about every six to eight weeks, but eventually we could see them stepping up to do auctions in different regions or for different skill levels (like for fresh college grads or engineering managers).
If the engineer follows through and ends up taking a job with the company, the employer pays DeveloperAuction 15 percent of their base salary. That fee ends up being a little bit less than what a standard recruiting agency might charge at 20 to 25 percent. DeveloperAuction also splits their bounty with the candidate, sending them 20 percent of the 15 percent commission on their first day of the job (plus some balloons and Dom Perignon). The platform also controls who sees which candidates to prevent the awkward situation where a current employer sees one of their engineers.
Matt Mickiewicz, one of the company’s co-founders, says that they’re seeing 80 to 90 percent of the employers coming back. He says the platform is also helping talent in other parts of the country compete on the same level as Silicon Valley developers.
“A big missed opportunity for startups is that they only want to hire from within 50 miles,” he said. “If they would just pay for a Southwest plane ticket, they might end up getting a much better price and not facing nearly as much competition.” He also says that engineers rarely choose the top-paying bidder and instead go for companies that are a better cultural fit for them.
The team behind DeveloperAuction is a veteran one: Mickiewicz previously founded 99designs, while another co-founder, Douglas Feirstein, was a founder of LiveOps. Allan Grant, who runs YC-backed CureBit, is another co-founder.
The company has 11 full-time employees and will probably grow to 15 within two months, Mickiewicz said.