Working sans a paycheck
That's how a staffing company called Peopleconnect gives high-tech start-ups the chance to hire managers or execs--even if a start-up hasn't raised enough money to pay them yet.
"It's sort of a Catch-22 because if they had the money, they could hire the people and be more valuable. And often investors say that if you would have these people on board, we would be more likely to invest in you," said Max Shapiro, CEO and founder of Peopleconnect.
San Francisco-based Peopleconnect, which has five employees, hooks up start-ups with candidates who are willing to work for free for up to three months. It obviously creates a risk both for the recruitee and for Peopleconnect.
Out of the 25 to 30 people who have been placed, however, 80 percent have started getting paychecks.
The company's business model first came to Shapiro in late 2001 after the dot-com bubble burst.
Shapiro said to himself at the time: "I bet there are a whole lot of people who are tired of not working and (are) depressed and would be interested if the opportunity were right to jump on and work before the company could start paying them."
The no-paycheck model accounts for about 20 percent of the company's work. The rest follows the normal model of recruitment.
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