Tech companies in the U.S. heartland are stepping up their efforts to convince tech talent to leave the Bay Area — and parroting some Silicon Valley lingo to do so.
On Monday, a group of 10 Colorado tech companies announced the formation of the Colorado Technology Recruiting Coalition, with the goal of supercharging efforts to recruit tech workers to Colorado. First, the group has launched a new website called Pivot to Colorado, in order to showcase Colorado tech companies. The coalition will also be launching social media and marketing campaigns to reach tech workers from other parts of the country — starting with Silicon Valley — in order to tout the benefits of living and working in Colorado.
The inaugural members of the coalition include cloud-based HR platform Gusto, a YCombinator alumnus that has raised more than $170 million in venture capital funding, and email delivery platform SendGrid, which went public in November. Gusto, headquartered in San Francisco, has approximately 250 employees in Denver, while SendGrid has about 400 employees spread across four different offices.
“Silicon Valley currently has [the] deepest pool of experienced candidates in the specific areas we’re looking to fill,” SendGrid chief people officer Pattie Money wrote in an email when asked why the campaign was targeting Silicon Valley talent first. “But, more importantly, we targeted Silicon Valley first because the individuals we’re trying to attract to Colorado are builders. Denver is still being built with innovative products, companies and even the city and growing tech scene. What we want to appeal to Silicon Valley tech talent is that there is a place and space to create and build and be part of something much bigger than themselves.”
According to the press release, Denver startups raised more than $500 million in venture capital funding last year. A recent report from IT trade association CompTIA found that Denver added more than 5,000 tech jobs in 2017 — the tenth highest number of any U.S. city.
Pivot to Colorado features testimonials from employees who have moved to the state from other parts of the country. The website also includes a form for interested tech workers to fill out indicating what jobs they are interested in and what questions they might have about working in Colorado, as well as a list of upcoming local events for tech workers.
According to Money, the coalition identified engineering and product management as some of the areas that are hardest to find qualified talent in.
“In order to get ahead of the expected and continued pace of growth, we need to bring more technical talent and tech leaders to Colorado. The Coalition is working together now so we’re not cannibalizing each other in five years,” Money wrote.
Money also said that the coalition will eventually highlight job opportunities at other companies as more startups sign on to become part of the coalition, and will eventually target other markets.
Recruiting campaigns are nothing new, but the Pivot to Colorado campaign comes at a moment when the Bay Area’s out-migration rate last year was its highest in more than a decade. As a result, many Bay Area tech companies are expressing interest in opening offices elsewhere, while fast-growing tech startups in other parts of the country are increasingly publicizing their efforts to poach talent from Silicon Valley.
During its fourth quarter earnings call in February, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said that the company planned to hire “thousands” of workers in the U.S. across nine states this year, most notably in Colorado and Michigan. In March, Pittsburgh-based Duolingo unveiled an ad along US Highway 101, encouraging tech workers to move to Pittsburgh.