Via by On Deck

Referrals to breakout startups from top investors

#3 Product of the DayJuly 10, 2019
Via’s referral-based hiring platform lets top investors introduce world-class talent to the companies they support. Talented people looking for their next thing can browse opportunities inside an investor's portfolio and request to be referred to top startups.
Discussion
Would you recommend this product?
14 Reviews5.0/5
MakerHiring
Since we launched On Deck a few years ago, our mission has always been to help top talent start or join their next company. A few months ago, we launched On Deck Fellowship, to help people start their next company. (https://medium.com/@beondeck/the...) Now, we’re thrilled to announce a product dedicated to helping people join their next company. We all know that the best hires come through trusted referrals. Via’s hope is to streamline & boost the amount of referrals that people are able to make, and thus the new opportunities candidates are able to find. Let us know if you have feedback and hopefully we can help ya’ll find your next thing, whenever that time is.
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@beondeck @eriktorenberg Very cool. Would be extra nice if you could also browse by company and company location (in order to get all the results for a particular city, and then find the relevant connectors through that). What steps do connectors make to vet the applicants? Do you guys have some kind of checklist or process or is it gut-feel?
MakerHiring
@beondeck @iamabirdlawyer Definitely building that in very soon. Good call. Re: Connectors, that's up to them! whatever their criteria would be for recommending talent to their startups.
@beondeck @eriktorenberg @julianweisser - congrats on the launch! question - why did you chose to make browsing investors the first / main action users take? On one hand starting a job search looking at great investors' portfolios makes a lot of sense. On the other, not everyone knows all of those investors / they usually care about role/company first. Either way, allowing people to filter for role early on would be a valuable feature!
First off, thanks to @nickabouzeid for hunting Via! Nick (and @nivo0o0) are making referrals to their portfolio companies alongside 150 investors from Sequoia, Benchmark, LSVP, a16z, General Catalyst, Susa, Box Group, and many more. We’re also grateful to angels like @justinkan, @jonathanswanson, @briannekimmel, and @delk for raising their hands to participate in Via from day 1. On Deck launched 3 years ago on Product Hunt. We're excited to be back on PH sharing our first digital product here today! The team that built Via is @emmalsalinas, @kunalsh23, and of course @eriktorenberg. We’re happy to be here to answer your questions. We’re especially delighted to be here to help you find your next thing!
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@eriktorenberg @julianweisser well done! congrats on the launch! excited to help more folks find roles through this 🙏
@eriktorenberg @benln thanks Ben! We’re excited to have you involved as a connector!
Smart idea. Plugging my profile: https://via.beondeck.com/ryanhoover
MakerHiring
@rrhoover Thank you Ryan! 🙏
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@rrhoover Thank you Ryan, excited to have you and @vedika_jain representing the Weekend Fund on Via! ☀️
Unbelievably proud of this team! Just the beginning... 👀🚀 @julianweisser, @kunalsh23 @emmalsalinas @eriktorenberg
@julianweisser @kunalsh23 @emmalsalinas @eriktorenberg @brandon_taleisnik +1 on this! Really an incredible team that has inspired me for my whole career. Congratulations!
@kunalsh23 @emmalsalinas @eriktorenberg @brandon_taleisnik @kyle_billings wow Kyle it means so much to hear that from you. It’s been amazing to see you grow into the super talented designer you are today from way back when in music school. Grateful to have you as a friend and collaborator. 🙏
Like this focus on referrals as that's how most of hiring seems to happen nowadays. I wonder how @beondeck team think about two things: 1. If the product helps get referrals from impressive folks how do you avoid it creating even more for for people who have limited time? Meaning if the top investor is the bottleneck isn't me asking for a referral just making more work for them. If I'm the young scrappy up and comer who wants a referral I presumably have more time than the top investor. At some level is asking for referral shifting the burden up the chain? 2. Vetting. I think I'm a decent entrepreneur. But it probably takes weeks (or hopefully days) of working with me to prove i'm not full of it. If I'm asking for a referral from someone I only follow on twitter and have no real connection with how do you/they process the vetting aspect. I can write a great referral request and a stunning cover letter . . . . . but at the end of the day the real work is not sending the referral but determining if I'm worth referring. Hiring is such an fascinating challenge and only getting worse. Very interesting to see how your team approaches this 🤜🏻🤛🏻🤜🏻🤛🏻
@beondeck @mrmikesmith love how you are thinking about this, Mike! 1) wrt creating more work for investors: helping source talent is the #1 ask founders make of their investors so this is the exact type of value-add work investors want to be doing. 2) re vetting - this is why it's so critical for people to submit thoughtful referral requests - even more so when they don't have a pre-existing relationship with the investor. Luckily it seems like people understand this as the vast majority of requests that have come through are thoughtfully written and focus on why they a referral makes sense. At the end of the day, vetting talent is subjective (so is vetting early stage startups!) and it's up to the investors so I expect this to be variable. Fwiw I don't think this is a bad thing! This is a very human process as opposed to some code that parses submissions and tries to make a determination without a human being involved. It's our goal to bring humanity and community into hiring and we're thrilled to have so many amazing investors on board to build something positive-sum with us. Thanks again for your questions and comments!
@beondeck @julianweisser thanks for the replies. hope my comment didn't come off as critical. just trying to have a discussion. I would be super interested to learn how these top investors use this platform. I would imagine when this pops they will have hundreds or maybe even thousands of requests. Would love to know their filtering process for my own professional development. re: vetting. yup that is the ultimate problem in hiring. everything I hear from recruiters is that the first step they always take in the hiring process is taking the stack of 200 resumes and narrowing down to 10-20 that were referred in. So this solves a big paint point. Will be playing around with via later this week excited to dive in. Wish me luck!
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