Startups’ Secret Weapon for Recruiting: Their Investors

One of the hardest things for any startup is attracting great employees. But new research from Harvard Business School points to a shortcut:

New research finds that job seekers are two-thirds more likely to apply to a startup if they know it is backed by a top venture capital (VC) investor, according to a new study coauthored by Harvard Business School Professor Shai Bernstein.

To test if the name of a top investor makes a difference in luring applicants, the researchers collaborated with AngelList Talent, an online recruitment platform, to conduct a randomized experiment on the platform.

The researchers found that exposure to information that a startup is backed by top VC investors increased job applications dramatically—by 67 percent.

“The same startup receives significantly more interest from potential employees when it is represented with the top investor badge than when it is not,” they write.

Early stage startups benefited the most. For companies at Series B and later, having top investors had less impact on applicant interest.

This points to a great strategy for startups with top investors: shouting the investors’ names from the rooftops.

If you have Sequoia, Benchmark, or any top firm on your cap table, put it in every job ad. Have your employees mention it when they recruit their friends.

Another great way to land top prospects is press coverage. PayPal got a huge recruiting boost from media reports in its early days.

And unlike capital from top investors, media coverage is available to anyone with a great story to tell.

Founders: how do you recruit top employees? Investors: what recruiting strategies are working well for your portfolio companies?

Leave a comment at the bottom and let me know!

More on tech:

Adam Neumann Was Their Biggest Investor — Now He’s Their Biggest Competitor

John Doerr’s Biggest Mistake

Talking Startup Fundraising with Travis King of Launch Point Labs

If you found this post interesting, please share it on Twitter/Reddit/etc. This helps more people find the blog! 

Save Money on Stuff I Use:


This platform lets me diversify my real estate investments so I’m not too exposed to any one market. I’ve invested since 2018 with great returns.

More on Fundrise in this post.

If you decide to invest in Fundrise, you can use this link to get $100 in free bonus shares!

Misfits Market

I’ve used Misfits for years, and it never disappoints! Every fruit and vegetable is organic, super fresh, and packed with flavor!

I wrote a detailed review of Misfits here.

Use this link to sign up and you’ll save $15 on your first order. 

Photo: “Sequoia Capital” by isriya is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.


One thought on “Startups’ Secret Weapon for Recruiting: Their Investors”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s