Helix Recruiting Interview with Arie Brish - Challenges for CleanTech Startups and Technologies
Interview with Arie Brish, the Director of U.S. Operations at Leviathan Energy, Inc., Board member / Co-Chair of the Cleantech Committee at Texas Israel Chamber of Commerce and Chairman of Cleanovation 2010.
Arie Brish: Is that re-branding of same agency kind of?
Richard Herbert: Yes, my company Baymark Consulting is re-branding and the new name and tag line is Helix Recruiting, Building Corporate DNA since 1996. We’re still essentially the same, we’re just doing a refresh and a re-launch of the company and going after it that way.
Arie Brish: OK.
Richard Herbert: We are going to have two sections, one would be dealing with recruiting issues and the second will be more germane to venture capital issues….your specific areas like CleanTech. So when it comes to selecting the right talent, what are the underlying issues for success and failure in a startup?
Arie Brish: One aspect has to do with the founding members or the entrepreneurs that started the company. So you have a team of entrepreneurs that came up with idea and launched the company. This sometime creates a challenge regarding the talent base needed to execute and build a company….yes the entrepreneur is the one that came with an idea of something…but they may not be the best person to manage a 20 person or a 100 person company.
Richard Herbert: Right.
Arie Brish: So one of the things that sometime VCs often fail doing the due diligence is the human capital due diligence. Well I think it’s a critical aspect of success or failure of the startup. I know some VCs do that and some don’t. Now we look on the technology, the IP, the business plan, the market, the competition, occasionally they look on the talent base and try to modify that along the way, but not always. I personally was hired to be the CEO of a startup after the relationship between the entrepreneurs and VCs reached a crisis that was almost to the point of no return. So I spent my first year on the job trying to repair the situation. If they have done the homework before, they probably could have had a transition plan that was more gradual and plan ahead with transitioning different people at different inflection points of the startup.
Richard Herbert: At what point do you think startups should start developing recruiting and staffing plan?
Arie Brish: It’s hard to give a formula because it depends on the people that you have in place. It definitely should be a mandatory part of the VCs due diligence checklist and then based on the results you can say, okay I have the good thing for the next three years or I need to plan for various issues.
Richard Herbert: Do you think that the majority don’t have a plan. A lot of companies that I work with don’t have and estimate of what they are going to need for the next several quarters. I have found this for post series A, series B, and I’ve even had a series C company have this issue. They really didn’t have a staffing plan laid out quarter by quarter for various projects. What are your thoughts on that?
Arie Brish: That surprise me because usually it is expected …. I guess it depends what you call a staffing plan. Usually, you expect to have the at least the head count estimate.
Richard Herbert: Right.
Arie Brish: Growth plan is part of the business plan because it’s a big part of the expense, so in order to be successful and have targeted growth, a company needs to have a good forecast for their growth plan.
Richard Herbert: Exactly.
Arie Brish: As far as skill sets of different individuals, it is a different story, because that may vary along the way, but at least the head count is a big part of the business plan, so if you run into a startup that doesn’t have it, that I think a big no, no.
Richard Herbert: Big red flag.
Arie Brish: Yes, big red flag, exactly.
About Helix Recruiting
Helix Recruiting focuses on the Specialty Chemicals, Clean Tech, Alternative Fuels, EPC, and the Oil & Gas OEM Engineered Products industries for positions ranging from Engineers and Scientists to VPs and C Level Executives. To see other interviews of Venture Capitalist please visit http://www.HelixRecruiting.com/
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Page Updated Last on: Sep 01, 2011