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Originally published Saturday, April 5, 2014 at 6:46 PM

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Startup poaches workers at techie shuttle stop

Software company Bigcommerce has spent the past two weeks trying to recruit talent from San Francisco’s numerous techie shuttle stops and says it’s since seen more traffic to its career website.


The Associated Press

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SAN FRANCISCO — Where some see a queue of engineers awaiting private commuter shuttles, one San Francisco startup sees an opportunity to lure talent from top Silicon Valley tech firms.

Software company Bigcommerce has spent the past two weeks trying to recruit talent from San Francisco’s numerous techie shuttle stops and says it’s since seen more traffic to its career website.

Bigcommerce executives say they want to poach employees from Google, Facebook and other tech giants, The San Francisco Chronicle reported Saturday.

They come bearing a clever hashtag (#poached), poached-egg sandwiches, free coffee and a $40 million Series C round of funding raised from former AOL chief Steve Case’s venture-capital firm.

“Are you interested in changing the world of e-commerce?” recruiter Steve Donnelly recently asked some men waiting for the Facebook bus. They declined.

If changing the world wasn’t an enticing enough offer, there also would be free drinks — at a recruiting happy hour held Thursday.

The poaching ploy is gimmicky but it is also apparently effective: The company has spoken with more than 1,000 potential candidates, extended offers to at least six and hired two.

Bigcommerce, based in Austin, Texas, is not the first firm to try to poach people from the bus stops. Roku tried to hire Google employees in Saratoga, Calif., who were waiting for a shuttle.

Bigcommerce is opening a San Francisco office and needs to hire more than 40 engineers and product developers. Since starting its recruiting campaign at the bus stops, company officials said traffic to its career site has increased by 54 percent and application volume has grown by 150 percent.

Bigcommerce plans to keep the effort up until it fills all of its San Francisco slots, West Stringfellow, the company’s chief product officer told the Chronicle. He said he came up with the idea at a previous job when he commuted within the city, passing shuttle stops on the way.

“Every day, I would just see all this top talent hanging out on the sidewalk,” he said. “I thought, if I ever have to build a team really fast, I’ll just go hit those folks right where they’re standing.”

Stringfellow’s peers at other firms are not pleased. “My friends at the executive levels at eBay and Facebook,” he said, “they think it’s clever, but they are also like, ‘Do you have to be so bold?’ ”

Meanwhile, some residents see the shuttles as a sign of gentrification and object to their use of municipal bus stops.



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