As talent war accelerates, venture firm hires a veteran recruiter to find top execs and developers

Robin Andrulevich

It’s getting much harder for startup companies to find the technical, engineering and executive talent that they need to grow their companies, especially in Seattle where fast-growing technology companies such as Facebook, Hulu and Salesforce.com have recently opened engineering offices.

But Madrona Venture Group is looking to lend its entrepreneurs a hand in this talent war. The Seattle venture capital firm just named Robin Andrulevich — a veteran HR director who previously worked at Lockerz, Amazon.com and Qpass — as director of talent.

In her new role, Andrulevich will assist Madrona’s companies with recruiting and HR support. The move is part of a larger trend by venture capital firms to diversify beyond money, offering additional services such as public relations, accounting and HR.

A sign outside Amazon's HQ in Seattle. Photo: Matt Shobe

Andrulevich tells GeekWire that she’s looking forward to making an impact on the startup ecosystem in the Pacific Northwest, finding the best talent for Madrona’s growing flock of startups.

“There are a lot of people out there who don’t have startup fatigue, and they want to be at early stage companies,” said Andrulevich.

Madrona recently promoted three of its investment professionals — Len Jordan, Scott Jacobson and Tim Porter — to partner. Last year, it also added former Amazon.com product manager Julie Sandler as an associate.

Finding qualified candidates, both developers and executives, is a challenge for startups, said Jacobson.

“Id say in every board room, there’s at least one slide on recruiting. It is a competitive job environment,” said Jacobson.

Andrulevich also describes the market as tight. But she thinks there’s a different type of person that’s attracted to a startup company.

“Everybody is looking for the same top five percent,” she said. “But it is really the differentiation between joining an early startup versus joining something like a Facebook.”

This marks the first time that Madrona, which manages more than $650 million, has added an in-house recruiter and HR professional. The venture firm is a backer of companies such as Decide.com, ExtraHop Networks, Apptio, AppFog, Optify and others.