Collaboration has become the cornerstone of success in the Dutch tech ecosystem. Two areas where collaboration is taking prominence are recruitment and product development. By collaborating with an external partner for recruitment or product development, tech founders are able to focus on building and scaling their company.
When to outsource
We have seen founders handle recruitment directly in the past, but now many have seen this as either distracting or time-consuming.
By outsourcing their tech recruitment needs to a specialist tech recruiter, founders are freed to focus on growth and scaling their business.
How do you decide on when to outsource your tech recruitment needs? Lebinh Luc, CEO and co-founder of LevelUp Ventures, says, “It really depends on the company’s growth stage.”
A talent expert, Amsterdam-based LevelUp Ventures helps startups and scaleups “find, attract, and hire the best tech talent.”
Luc says outsourcing tech recruitment can help with expertise and accelerate hiring.
She explains, “Specialist tech recruiters can predictably fill a pipeline with candidates, drive a proper selection process and ensure the right hires are made on time and according to the hiring plan.”
As a tech recruitment specialist, Luc says LevelUp Ventures also improves the existing recruiting operations and turns access to talent into a strategic asset.
“Our recruiters can transfer their knowledge to the team, streamline processes, and leverage data and tooling for greater efficiency and accuracy, quickly optimising the hiring machine to run smoothly and effectively,” she adds.
Focus on core business
Tapptitude CEO Gabriel Dombri sees partnering with a product development agency is an excellent solution for businesses where technology is not the core offering.
He says this will free up founders’ time to focus on core business activities even though building an in-house team for product development can seem like the natural choice.
“It [an in-house team] offers the allure of having your product team just a few steps away, fully immersed in your company culture, and working exclusively on your project.”
The decision whether to set up an in-house team or work with an external firm is always challenging.
Many startups are increasingly outsourcing their product development as the benefits far outweigh the efforts of having an in-house team.
Jeroen van der Horst, Proshore Co-founder & Accounts Director, says a studio for product development is “perfect for leaders who prefer to assess solutions instead of problems.”
LevelUp Ventures’ Luc says when it comes to recruitment partners, startups should first determine what they need per vacancy.
She recommends choosing a partner that suits those needs, whether that’s a no-cure-no-pay agency (suitable for easy-to-find profiles) or end-to-end outsourcing of some vacancies (focused on culture fit, next to the required competencies).
She says startups should decide which vacancies to outsource and which to keep in-house.
Levi9’s sales director Pauline Vogelzang wants startups and their founding team to focus on people and see if the partner is a “cultural match.”
Proshore’s Van der Horst says most outsourcing companies fail at freeing your time.
He says, “The more tasks you outsource with them, the more managing you have to do.”
Proshore solves this problem by offering self-managed teams of three or more people, and a Scrum Master.
“They’re accountable for execution and managing your devs, while communicating with you regularly”.
Tapptitude’s Dombri says startups fail to make working with an external product partner successful when they don’t do proper due diligence about the team’s competencies and delivery track record.
“Take your time and research. A good fit between you and your product partner is crucial,” he says.
The “size and velocity of the team” working on your product should also be clear to you.
Moving forward together
Dombri firmly believes that “a reliable partner can support your journey; a bad fit will undoubtedly set you back.”
He says startups should not settle for a partner who “won’t challenge you and only tell you what you want to hear.”
Organisations like LevelUp Ventures, Levi9, Tapptitude and Proshore aim to help their partners move forward together.
When it began operations in 2015, Amsterdam-based LevelUp Ventures was one of the first startup specialists on the market.
“Our versatile team of recruiter resources allows us to easily scale up or down depending on your specific recruitment needs,” says Luc.
The great resignation and the recent mass layoffs in the tech industry have shown adaptability is key to meeting recruitment needs.
LevelUp Ventures is all about adaptability, and Luc explains that this attribute makes them “capable of catering to startups and scaleups in various growth stages”.
While Tapptitude takes an inquisitive approach, asking “tough questions investors might ask” to founders it chooses to work with.
Dombri says, “This is to ensure the foundation is there for a better partnership, and we don’t embark on one doomed to fail at some point.”
For many startups, the first few years are essentially about survival; having a product development partner that speaks the same language can be the difference between day and night.
Every project a success
The mission of Levi9 Technology Services is to make an impact on business with technology.
“Digital technology has the potential to realise multiplying effects wherever it’s applied well,” Vogelzang says.
Eindhoven-based Proshore calls its ability to work on strategies, business development, and customer / stake-holder management its USP.
Co-founder Jeroen van der Horst says its pool of over 3,000 vetted developers allows startups to “get a self-managed team that can operate on their own”.
He adds that such a self-managed team incentivises the startup’s core team to stay, while a dedicated scrum master ensures every project is a success.
To succeed, startups need to get out of their comfort zone and embrace new ways to build products and recruit team members. By collaborating with a capable and proven leader in outsourcing, startups can optimise operational costs, focus on their core business, and dedicate more time and energy to their vision.
- Time to Market: Outsourcing product development to a trusted partner can expedite time to market. Their established methods and readily available resources are often able to deliver products faster than an in-house team starting from scratch.
- Cost efficiency: Partnering with a company is a more affordable option than building an in-house team. Startups only pay for the necessary services and avoid extra costs like recruiting and training. Local talent is currently scarce, expensive, and can pose a threat to a startup’s runway.
- Diverse expertise: Tech recruiters can hire diverse talent and ensure the right hires are made on time. Outsourcing specialised service companies offers expertise in product definition, market fit validation, strategy, design, and development.
- Focus on core competencies: Outsourcing product development to a partner or studio is advantageous for startups as it frees up time for them to focus on core competencies like networking, fundraising, and strategic planning. Similarly, partnering for tech recruitment allows the core team to concentrate on their strengths while the partner handles flexible scaling of recruitment needs.
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