The hiring crunch for developers in the tech industry is a pain point we hear about nearly every day. Now, a San Francisco startup called Twice — that specializes in selling secondhand clothes of all things — is taking one of the more unusual approaches we’ve encountered to get developers in the door.
Today, the year-old company, led by ex Googlers Noah Ready-Campbell and Calvin Young, said that they will offer $1 million in cash and equity to acquire alumni of startup incubators TechStars, Y Combinator or 500 Startups that have yet to move the needle on their own startups and are running out of cash.
Twice is dubbing the effort the “Restart Fund,” a play on words of the Start Fund which offers $150,000 to every graduate of Y Combinator. And here’s why the company, which is backed with $4 million from SV Angel, CrunchFund and others, decided to make the offer:
In the past few years, seed funding has exploded. The best engineers and designers haven’t been looking for jobs at startups — they’ve been starting them. There are many causes for the shift, but for most startups the end result is the same: They hit the Series A crunch and face a tough decision.
At Twice, we recognize this. If two engineers and a designer can build a world-class product, they should be compensated accordingly. And starting a company is a filter that weeds out 90% of candidates. The people who join Twice are creative, brilliant, and tenacious. These people are entrepreneurs.
The Restart Fund is taking applications through the end of the year, but may make a decision before that if a great team walks through the door. Is this offer too good to be true?
Well, of course, it comes with some stipulations. For one, the team that is acquired most have at least three engineers/designers and all applicants must pass an engineering/design challenge and standard reference checks.
Twice also said that, in most cases, the product(s) that they acquire will be shut down in a “responsible transition plan.”
“We were accepted into Y Combinator, so we saw firsthand the quality of our peer companies,” said Twice co-founder and CTO Calvin Young in a press release. “This happened right around the time our micropayments business was slowing down, so we ultimately chose to decline YC, but some of the best engineers I’ve ever met have gone through the program.”
Previously on GeekWire: Where are they now? Update on the TechStars Class of 2010