Fintech-focused headhunters describe the rush of work they're seeing as the battle for top talent intensifies amongst startups
- Fintech recruiting draws on a broad array of talent across Wall Street and technology.
- Venture funding for fintechs reached record levels in the first quarter of 2021.
- Insider compiled the top 10 fintech headhunters you need to know.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
There’s no one phrase that can describe the activity of fintechs. Situated across both finance and technology, these startups range from those looking to upend traditional banking to ones redefining how we pay for things.
In short, these companies encompass a wide array of sectors and industries, which means that the headhunting firms catering to the world of fintechs are just as varied. And as funding for these startups continues to grow — in the first quarter of 2021, venture funding for fintechs reached a record level of more $22 billion, according to CB Insights — so too are the search firms catering to them.
Many startups, particularly early-stage ones, are young enough that they might not have dedicated hiring and sourcing teams. Others are looking to grow quickly — perhaps after a new round of funding — and require a partner to help fill multiple roles.
Either way, that’s where external recruiters step in. Oftentimes they work hand-in-hand with the venture firms investing in startups or the companies themselves. In some cases, headhunters might even operate as venture firms themselves, investing in the companies in which they place top talent.
“The business economics around fintech are really sound. In many cases, early-stage companies are able to generate revenue early on, which lowers burn, better run rate, a little bit more predictable. That as a candidate is safer as well,” said Jason Van Voorhis, the CEO and founder of search firm V3 Talent Partners.
“I also think the banking industry and its technology is really primitive, so we’re seeing companies like Acorns, Dave, Robinhood, appealing to more Gen Z and millennials who are typically on their phones, typically mobile first,” he added.
Insider compiled a list of 10 of the top fintech headhunters, gathering nominations from startups, venture capitalists, and industry insiders.
Some deal more in the proprietary trading space, a realm that has become all the more quantitative in recent years. Others are established Wall Street headhunters that now, recognizing a growing opportunity in cryptocurrencies and blockchain tech, are redefining themselves within the industry.
And some are startup veterans themselves, having previously led recruiting at some of the fastest-growing companies in the space.
The headhunting firms range in size, from some of the world’s largest consulting and recruiting organizations to smaller shops with less than 10 employees. And while some focus on sourcing executive talent and filling board of director seats, others place candidates across every hierarchy of a startup, from entry-level developers to chief information and technology officers.
All, though, seem to recognize that the lines have blurred between fintech and traditional finance, making it impossible to ignore.
“There’s lot of crossover happening right now. Over the last couple of years fintech is really building and building. There are people who just specialize in that. And there are people who just specialize in the traditional space. But there’s much more of a merger happening than ever before. So many of the candidates are now able to fit on both sides,” Danielle Greenberg, a managing director at Glocap, told Insider.
Some startups are maturing enough so that they can build out their own, dedicated hiring team internally.
In March, for example, online brokerage Robinhood announced the acquisition of Binc, an 80-person search firm based in San Francisco. In doing so, Robinhood doubled the size of its recruiting organization in one fell swoop.
“As we introduce more products to the growing communities we serve, we also need more talent to help us expand as a company, bring our mission to life, and deliver financial access to more people,” Robinhood said at the time.
For the rest, however, external search firms that have their feet planted firmly both in the world of finance and tech remain a key to sourcing the industry’s top talent.
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