I was recently presented with an unexpected opportunity. Very unexpected actually. But if I’m honest with myself, there was a little bit of karma involved because I was ready to be surprised.
My eldest daughter, Kelsey, was about to graduate from high school, and it put me in a reflective mood. To say I had mixed feelings is an understatement. Naturally, it made me question my own journey. Specifically, it made me question my sense of purpose.
Was I happy? For sure. Was I satisfied? I knew I had more to contribute.
I was introduced to the founders of an Aussie startup. Something about hiring, merit and data. At least that’s all I knew at the time. The introduction came from someone I trusted implicitly, so I was intrigued.
Speaking to different people in the company took me on a journey.
First, I spoke to the CEO, Omer. I haven’t seen that much passion from a founder in a long time. He had such a strong sense of purpose and overwhelming strong conviction about the company’s mission. It was infectious.
Then, I spoke to David, Omer’s co-founder. That’s when I started to get excited on an intellectual level. The way these folks are using data is fascinating. AI and machine learning. Ok sure, who isn’t, right? But in such a purposeful way and in complete alignment with the company’s mission. Analyzing data to make hiring about merit. To bring out more of the humanity in people, not less.
Finally, I spoke to the company’s culture carriers. Omer said to me “don’t believe anything I say, find out for yourself by talking to the team, maybe I’m an asshole”. So I did. Turns out these folks are the real deal. Everyone I spoke to believed in the mission so strongly. And the energy levels were out of control.
As things became real, I looked at the story more closely. Vervoe is a young startup that helps companies make hiring decisions solely based on whether people can do the job.
Young, but quite clearly punching above their weight. They just closed a round, which included a significant investment from SEEK, the world’s biggest job platform. They are getting traction all over the world. And the team was mission-driven and united.
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Then I was presented with the opportunity, which Omer described like this: “our story resonates with everyone we talk to, customers love the product, now we just need to tell the world about it, can you help us out?”.
Practically that meant building, and leading, a global sales team from the ground up. A mission I was already excited about, a great product, a passionate team and full autonomy.
I felt energized.
And then came the real kicker. I started to picture my trips to Australia. That would obviously have to go into the the contract.
Since I started it has been a baptism of fire. Omer and I spent the last few days – my first in the company – together in California putting together the strategy and laying the foundation for the team. Things are moving so quickly, it feels like I’ve been here for months already.
It was immediately obvious how the team likes to roll. No bureaucracy, not nonsense, just quick decisions to make the best product possible and get it into the hands of the right customers.
There is also something instantly compelling about building a new team and having a great story to tell. Not just the company story, but also the people behind it. When we spoke to prospective new hires, we could see their eyes light up. They had all been the victims of discriminatory hiring practices at some stage. They all believed what we believe.
Funny enough, the first question they all asked was “do we get to go to Australia?”. Every single one. So we decided to write it into the employment contracts of every sale rep. Hit your target, get on a plane. No joke – that is part of the package!
Priority #1 is putting an A team in place. A diverse team. Remember what we care about. What you can do, not your background. If this sounds like something you want to be a part of, find me fast. It’s go time.