Yuki Notes

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The best recruitment strategy for small startups

An angel investor visited our facility and luckily he had a class for our young entrepreneurs. I could also sit there.

The main reason he had a class for us is that he realized there is a huge gap between entrepreneurs in Tokyo and entrepreneurs in other cities in terms of financial knowledge.

I've heard similar things, such as bankers in Tokyo having some knowledge of startup finance, but bankers in other cities don't.

However we can’t blame those players in other cities since more than half of the numbers of Japanese startups have office in tokyo and roughly 80% of funding money is pouring into startups in Tokyo. Less opportunity, less experienced. It is a simple fact.

Anyway, he gave us a great opportunity and we hope it will continue regulary.


The content in the class was basic financial knowledge I've read some book. However there are 2 really useful tips which I didn't know and I can share with you.

He sugested that when young entrepreneur meet a VC, check his title. If his title is associate or princpal something, he is less likely to let your startup pass their investment comittee. So do not receive his business card. Because once your information is registered their list, he is your counterpart. In short, your fundrasing prospects from them are very slim. That's why the angel investor recommends not to accept a business card from an associate or principal at a VC firm.

Another tip is recuruitment strategy for small startups, especially for seed round. As you know, hiring is a tough for small firms but crucial for their gowth. Of course everyone want to hire a super talented nice guy, but the superstar allways is performing very well and is in high demand. No reason to accept your poor offer. Many people including the angel investor mention that culture fit is of high priority. However it is really hard to see through how the candidate is actually. The more talented someone is, the better they behave according to the persona you seek. Therefore, the recommendation from the investor is to hire people brought in by the existing cool employees. The friends and acquaintances of cool employees are likely to have a similar vibe. If you provide incentives akin to bonuses to the employees who refer candidates, it becomes cheaper for the startups compared to using a talent agency, resulting in a win-win situation.

Those are tiny things and probably no one mentined in books, but really useful.