Five companies won $1 million investments on October 20th at the 43North—a Buffalo-based startup accelerator—eighth annual startup competition.

Over the next several months, the winners will begin to settle into their new workspaces inside Seneca One in downtown Buffalo. While one company is already local to western New York, the other four will be relocating to the Queen City from across the country.

Once they hit the ground running—and with significant new funding under their belts—hiring will be a top priority as they build their business.

“If you’re looking to get in on the ground floor of a rapidly growing business, now is a great time to make a move,” says Chad Witherell, recruiter for Viaduct and Forge Buffalo, the area’s go-to talent hub for startup jobs. “From sales and marketing to operations and product development, we’re looking to fill a wide range of roles.”

Witherell will be working closely to find and secure top talent for 43North’s newest cohort and will be actively recruiting for dozens of key positions. If you’re interested in joining one of these startups, keep an eye on the Forge Buffalo job board or sign up to have jobs emailed directly to you each week.  

You can read more about each of the newest 43North portfolio companies below.

AMPAworks is a team of doctors, nurses, and engineers who have built an Internet of Things (IoT) camera using computer vision artificial intelligence (AI). This technology grants them full inventory visibility in pharmacies, medical device companies, surgery centers, clinics, and hospitals. Their system enables shelf-to-shelf granularity of inventory to help with demand planning and re-stocking.

Mod Tech Labs assists enterprise companies to create universal 3D content at scale by digitizing the real world using photos. Their no-code processing platform cleans, refines, and enhances 3D imagery of objects, places, and people with automated AI-powered tools.

Otrafy is an AI-powered SaaS supplier management platform with the ability to automate compliance and manage risks. This integrated platform automates repetitive tasks and analyzes supplier performance to reduce workloads.

Phood integrates with universities’ card services to connect students’ flex dollar accounts and the gig economy. A virtual debit card is issued by Phood to students which can be used to purchase goods and services from third-party vendors—like DoorDash—at no extra cost to the university.

Twipes is a biotech materials company that has developed the world’s first truly flushable and biodegradable wet wipes. Made from natural wood pulp fibers—that break down in water in three hours and biodegrade in a landfill in seven days—this product is PETA-certified vegan and cruelty free.

Buffalo’s entrepreneurial spirit is certainly alive and well. If you’re ready to join our city in building something big, get your resume ready and head over to for a full list of opportunities with the region’s hottest startups.

The Chief People Officer (CPO) may be a lesser-known C-suite position in many companies. Nevertheless, that does not diminish the importance of the role.

When most people measure the success of a startup company, they look at the result-centered data—such as sales, clients, views, etc. Indeed, these numbers are certainly essential to the success and growth of a business. However, this data is unachievable without a manager of the inside operations—that is focused on the people working to compile this data.

Interestingly, a recent study conducted by Dr. Lauren Howe regarding the changing landscape of a CPO found that 86.9 percent of the current CPOs surveyed believe that they wear the hat of a data scientist who manages the people, training, and corporate planning of the inside operations. This data is collected and used to determine the emotional well-being, productivity, and performance of employees. Likewise, 90 percent of all respondents feel that the ability to read and understand people analytics is crucial to the role of a CPO.

The daily responsibilities of a CPO are no small feat. This person is essentially the highest position within the human resources department. They must connect the work an employee does with the corporate mission and vision of the business, or else they risk leading a team of complacent and apathetic employees who feel no strong incentive to respond to market changes and source company growth. This is done by overseeing all of the inside operations team below them, ensuring deadlines are met and work is up to company standard, and they must recognize deficiencies among the team and address them. Additionally, a CPO must also reward successes and achievements through compensation or promotional benefits. This will foster a positive employee culture and help to maintain a high employee retention rate.

At its core, the role of a CPO is both strategic and future-focused. Hiring for this position is not easy. A common mistake made by businesses is hiring someone who is solely result-focused in their methods. It is important that this individual is able to observe the business and its methods of achievement and make appropriate changes within the already established strategy.

With this in mind, there are five qualities that companies should seek out in candidates for the CPO position:

  1. A strong company understanding – It is important that a CPO truly comprehends the mission, vision, and goals of a business. A CPO cannot make decisions with other C-suite leaders if they do not understand the basics of operations that they will be deciding on. Often, these candidates obtain this understanding because they have already been employed by the company for a few years. In this case, it is often beneficial to look in-house when hiring for this position.
  2. Leadership experience – A CPO essentially doubles as a manager of company culture. First, they must be employee-focused, as a large part of this role is to develop the next generation of leaders from within the company. Secondly, when a CPO makes decisions that impact the company initiatives, these decisions also directly impact the employees of the company, as these are the people who will be implementing the initiatives. Having the soft skills to communicate their vision, be trusted by colleagues, and facilitate a coercive company culture is a large part of successfully fulfilling this role. As Shayne Payne, CPO at Finder, a financial services startup, puts it, “a CPO is a business leader with a people lens.”
  3. Strategic-minded – A CPO is responsible for optimizing “people” centered roles within a company—such as hiring, training, employee development, and employee performance management—to make sure that these positions support the company’s bottom line externally. This involves developing a plan and initiatives for long-term overall growth, identifying issues within the organization, and quickly finding solutions to those issues.
  4. Emotional intelligence – A CPO must be able to adjust for the benefit of the company.
    A CPO must be compassionate, self-aware, and able to manage their emotions.
    They must motivate and provide support where needed to push the company forward.
  5. Talent-minded – If your CPO has done his or her job properly, the company will have no problem retaining talent. However, it is important in today’s Great Resignation era, that a CPO is always looking to capitalize on people who will bring value to your company and complement the workplace culture.

To put it simply, investing in a CPO for your organization is an investment in your business’s future. People power organizations. Startup growth and financial success cannot be achieved without strong team members who are all equally as invested in its success as its leaders.

Related: 6 Ways to Attract and Hire Best-Fit Startup Talent

Related: Building a Leadership Team for Startup Success

This blog was written by Viaduct Senior Account Executive Roger Naglewski.

Whether you’re reentering the workforce after the pandemic or looking to leave your current position in search of a new challenge at a startup company, a job search can be daunting and time-consuming. A recruiter can provide tremendous value to you by streamlining the process and matching you with open positions at startup organizations that require your skills and experiences. Recruiters have access to opportunities and information about employers that candidates don’t know about or have. They have accumulated years of hiring process expertise, built an extensive network of connections, and fostered relationships with employers that can be utilized to help you land a job at a startup company and advance your career.

After applying for an open position online, you may get a call from a recruiter. Or, maybe you’re not currently looking for a new job but one day you get contacted on LinkedIn by a recruiter—95 percent are using the platform to search for job candidates—trying to fill an open position. After talking to the recruiter and learning more about the position, your interest is piqued and you want to move to the next stage of the hiring process and interview with the company’s hiring manager.

In either scenario, after talking to the recruiter, these are the steps you should take to prepare for the interview.

  1. Review the company’s LinkedIn page: There are 58 million companies on LinkedIn so there’s a good chance the one you’re interested in has a profile on the platform.On an organization’s LinkedIn page, you can often find their:
    • Industry
    • Website address
    • Products and/or service information
    • Number of employees
    • Office locations
    • Story and values
    • Employees’ LinkedIn profiles
  2. Review the hiring manager’s LinkedIn profile: Next, use LinkedIn to research the founder or hiring manager’s educational background, length of time at the company, previous jobs, career advancements, skills, and areas of expertise. This will give you an idea of who he/she is on a professional level and you may even find something that you have in common. If not, you will still know more than most candidates going into the interview. This makes it easier to bond, build rapport, and make small talk beyond the weather.  
  3. Check out recent company developments and news: It’s always a good idea to be knowledgeable about the company’s latest news and developments when you go into a job interview. Most startup organizations have a page on their website dedicated to news, press releases, and events. This is a great way to find out current information about promotions, expansions, awards, and more.  
  4. Determine your transferable experience and skills: The way companies hire, develop workers, and structure work is changing, and the future of work lies in skills—not jobs. There’s been an ongoing shift towards a skills-based approach to hiring and talent development. Using this approach, organizations evaluate job candidates and current employees based on their skill set and potential capabilities instead of their prior work history.

    Transferable skills—also known as portable skills—are competencies that you have developed throughout your life that can “transfer” to a variety of different roles and industries. You may have obtained these skills in a previous job, during your education, through volunteer work in your community, or through hobbies.

Therefore, it’s important to identify both your transferable experience and skills before interviewing. How do you do this?

After analyzing and assessing your transferable skills—when answering interview questions—be sure to provide stories to “show” not just “tell” your successful use of these skills.

The benefits of working with a recruiter

A recruiter can be a great resource in your job search because you both have the same goal—finding you a position with a great startup company where you will be a happy, engaged, and productive employee. Using their exceptional market knowledge, connections, and tools a recruiter’s role is to guide you through the hiring process and save you time and energy. By getting to know you and understanding what you are looking for in your next role, the recruiter can help ensure that your personal and professional goals and those of their client are aligned. The benefit that you gain from working with a recruiter is proportional to the amount of effort you invest. Therefore, after talking to the recruiter, take these four steps to set yourself up for success.   

This blog was written by Viaduct Senior Account Executive Roger Naglewski.  

As a startup business leader, you already know how important HR functions are to the success of your company. Recruiting and hiring employees to propel your momentum, of course, is essential for your emerging business.

But how are you handling the HR needs of your temporary, contingent, and freelance workers?

There’s a long list of personnel functions to perform, and most HR teams simply don’t have the time and resources to manage them all.

That’s where employer of record (EOR) services come in.

Let’s take a look at what an EOR is and how it can help your small business or startup manage its contingent workforce.

What is an employer of record?

An employer of record is really just a third-party payroll service provider.

“Oh, an EOR is a payroll processing company like Paychex or ADP?” you’re wondering.

Eh, kind of. But not really.

An EOR partner takes it a step further than that because it is technically the one that employs your worker. Here’s how it works, more or less:

  1. You want to hire a worker right now, but you don’t have the time or resources to do so
  2. You partner with an EOR
  3. You say to the EOR, “This is the worker we need. This is what the worker will do for us.”
  4. The EOR confirms your request and contacts the worker directly
  5. The EOR conducts all of the worker’s preliminary testing (background check, drug test, etc.)
  6. The EOR onboards the worker (time and expense reporting, safety, benefits, etc.)
  7. The EOR sets up a start date for you and the worker to get to work

In this process, the EOR assumes all hiring responsibilities for your worker. So even though the worker performs tasks and functions for your business, the worker is still technically employed by the EOR.

Why should I partner with an EOR?

Partnering within an EOR eliminates the tedious administrative and payrolling burdens that come with managing temporary employees. This way, the EOR is in charge of all the worker’s taxes, benefits, insurance, and statutory or administrative costs.

The EOR handles all personnel functions, including:

Related: Employer of Record (EOR) Workflow Video

Okay, so who’s really in charge of the worker?

You are! Your company operates as is and will continue to be responsible for all workplace safety and compliance issues. So think of it this way: The EOR doesn’t replace your HR department—it acts only as an extension of it.

As far as liability and employment issues, payroll compliance, and tax laws—the EOR assumes responsibility for all of those. This means your HR team will have more time and energy to focus on other ways to improve the health and happiness of your workplace.

Related: Should You Partner With an Employer of Record?

How will an EOR make my business more efficient?

When you partner with an EOR, your business will be able to:

1- Save time.

Outsourcing burdensome tasks to a proven EOR provider doesn’t just free up time for your internal team—it ensures a more consistent and compliant engagement process for your worker. Paperwork? Done. Tracking down candidates? Taken care of. With an EOR, it’s all good!

2- Lower costs.
Spend less time (and money) in the weeds (on tedious tasks) and more time on valuable tasks that boost your HR teams, enhance your workforce, and improve productivity—all of which contribute to cost savings. In short, working with an EOR will make your employees happy and boost your company’s bottom line at the same time.

3- Reduce co-employment risk.
Want to spare yourself from the costly legal ramifications of misclassifying employees? Partner with an EOR. Want mitigation from sensitive co-employment issues? Partner with an EOR. Want to reduce stress and alleviate concerns among your legal team? Partner with an EOR!

4- Become a more flexible workplace.

Partnering with an EOR gives you a chance to “try before you buy” when it comes to talent. So, if you’re ever interested in bringing on a resource—but you want to see how they’ll fit in first—you can do that with an EOR. More to the point, if you decide you want to bring the worker on full-time, the right EOR will help you make that transition at no additional cost.

In short, you reap all the benefits of a rock-solid workforce with none of the annoying administrative pitfalls. Everyone wins!

Related: Employer of Record Workflow Infographic

Interested in partnering with an EOR?

Contact us today! We can help you find the best startup services for you and your emerging business. And don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter,  LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube for more!

This blog was written by Viaduct Recruitment Manager Chad Witherell.

These two Aleron Group companies align to provide streamlined talent acquisition, executive search, and leadership coaching services to high-growth organizations as they scale.

Aleron Group, a talent acquisition, workforce, and business solutions company, today announced that two of its companies will be aligning their services. Viaduct—a talent acquisition and advisory firm for startups and emerging businesses—will become a specialty practice within TalentRise—a leading executive search, talent consulting, and coaching firm serving high-growth and mid- to large-market clients across a broad range of industries. As they combine their purpose and mission, both the TalentRise and Viaduct brands will remain.

This union will empower TalentRise and Viaduct—with their complementary offerings and expertise—to enable businesses that are poised for growth to succeed by hiring the right talent. From a funded startup looking to build their initial core corporate teams (sales, marketing, finance, and technology), to established businesses scaling up, building their C-suite, integrating an acquisition, and/or optimizing their leadership team for maximum performance, the team will advise and support clients as they grow.

“It was a natural partnership given that Viaduct helps early-stage startups build out their initial teams and advises them as a strategic talent partner as they enter their growth stage through rounds of funding. Through TalentRise, we help high-growth clients fill critical leadership positions and optimize business performance by assessing, coaching, and developing their leaders and teams,” said Carl Kutsmode, Senior Vice President, Talent Consulting and Executive Search. “With this alignment, we enable the entire recruitment life cycle of organizations as a true partner to facilitate growth.”

An industry player since 2008 with its roots in Chicago, TalentRise was acquired by Aleron Group in early 2019. TalentRise provides flexible executive search solutions—including a 90-day new leader onboarding coach—as well as talent and organizational effectiveness consulting to clients throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Since 2017, Viaduct has assisted startups with their talent needs in direct placement, executive recruiting, and contingent staffing. Founded in western New York, Viaduct has grown to support early-stage companies across multiple industries throughout upstate New York, Southern Ontario, Chicago, and Austin and continues to expand its network.

About TalentRise

TalentRise is an executive search, talent acquisition, and talent management consulting firm based in Chicago, Illinois. Founded in 2008, TalentRise provides flexible, customized leadership recruiting and organizational talent solutions to mid- to large-market employers. Within TalentRise, the Viaduct practice is a proven partner to the startup community and works with entrepreneurs to build winning teams. At TalentRise, we elevate your business performance through talent optimization. TalentRise is an Aleron Group company, providing a full suite of workforce management solutions. Learn more at

If you’re a founder or recruiter at a growing startup organization you may be finding it challenging to attract and recruit quality workers in today’s candidate-driven labor market. Your organization needs workers with a specific skill set, who are ready to hustle and have a sense of flexibility that comes with being part of a growing organization. As a startup, you likely don’t have the hiring resources or brand awareness of more established businesses. In fact, an inability to make key hires is the reason 14 percent of startups fail. What are some of the common recruiting scaleup mistakes made by startups that cause setbacks or failure?  

Overhiring or hiring too soon: An influx of new hires will have a large impact on a startup’s budget and resources. When founders overhire or hire too soon, a lot of their time and energy ends up being diverted into management—distracting them from doing work related to their core business. Before you even begin the hiring process, it’s important that you determine your business needs, what tasks your new employees will perform, and how many workers it will take to do the job. Doing this will save you time, money, and the critical resources that you need to operate and scale efficiently.  

Thinking that all sourcing funnels are equal: Examples of candidate sources include referrals, professional social media sites, and job boards. When building your recruitment strategy, it’s important to consider the positives and negatives of each source to ensure you’re using an appropriate combination. Founders and recruiters often make a like-to-like comparison between candidate sources without accounting for the differences between them and how each affects a startup organization’s hiring outcomes.  

Depending on one channel to source all your candidates is never a good idea. Each source has tradeoffs that recruiters must consider when building their overall recruiting strategy. Take time to evaluate each, the positions you’re hiring for, and your hiring budget. If you are relying solely on job boards and professional networking sites to find top talent, you’re missing out on passive candidates that are not actively applying for roles. If you are dependent on referrals to fill all your open positions, you may have difficulty scaling as quickly as planned because you won’t have enough qualified candidates. It’s important to use a multi-pronged approach to identify and hire top talent to meet your startup business growth goals.

Failing to “court” your candidate: Prospective employees want to know “what’s in it for me?” 89 percent of passive candidates evaluate your brand before applying and businesses with reputable brands receive 50 percent more qualified applicants. Does your company have a strong Employee Value Proposition (EVP) to effectively communicate your organization’s benefits, corporate culture, and reasons why workers should want to consider a job opportunity?

Related: What is Your Employee Value Proposition?

In today’s hyper-competitive job market, it’s critical to foster a strong relationship with prospective job seekers throughout the entire hiring process. Building trust and having good communication will reduce the likelihood of misunderstandings and candidate ghosting.

Slow decision-making process: There’s a limited supply of talent and the best candidates are in high demand and receive multiple job offers. If the interview process is two to four weeks or more, almost 40 percent of job seekers lose interest and pursue other roles. If you’re not prepared to make a quick decision, you may lose out on quality talent to your competitors.

Related: 6 Ways to Attract and Hire Best-Fit Startup Talent

Position your startup for success

When it comes to startup hiring, every decision is important and there’s little room for error. Because your team is small, each additional employee is critical to your company’s growth and success. A successful recruiting strategy requires a multi-pronged approach. Here’s what we suggest:  

  1. Post the position to job boards and/or LinkedIn to get it out in the market. This avenue requires the most time and is least likely to result in a hire. However, it’s an important step to fill your candidate funnel.
  2. Start connecting with your network for referrals. Referred candidates may end up being passive job seekers, but often a person in your network will know someone who is looking to make a move.
  3. Recruit using a targeted search based on skill set, experiences, and past employers.
  4. Have as many conversations as possible early in the search before narrowing it down to your top three candidates to move forward in the interview process.

Because they are under time constraints, many startup founders and leaders seek sourcing and recruiting assistance from outside talent acquisition firms focused on the talent needs of emerging businesses. Learn more about Viaduct’s services here.   

This blog was written by Viaduct’s Director of Recruiting and Business Operations Tom Hausler.

Long Story Short:

Buffalo’s startup ecosystem is teeming with great opportunities for emerging businesses right here in Western New York.

For candidates who are looking to get their feet wet in the startup world, who can they connect with?

As Viaduct’s Director of Recruiting and Business Operations, Tom Hausler is helping link Buffalo’s hottest startups with high-quality candidates.

Keep reading to learn more about Tom and explore his professional journey.

Where did you grow up? Do you have Buffalo roots?

I grew up in Williamsville, which is north of Buffalo, and attended Williamsville East High School. For college, I attended Fredonia State, where I received my undergraduate degree in sports management and exercise science.   

Tell us a little bit about your professional background. How did you get into recruiting?
I began my journey in recruiting back in 2011. While working at Brookfield Country Club—in Clarence, NY—as a summer job during college, I connected with a former Acara Solutions Vice President. Acara is an Aleron Group company, along with Viaduct. He suggested I submit my resume to an Acara recruiter who may have a client searching for recent graduates. I ended up interviewing and being hired for a junior recruiter role at Acaraat the time Superior Group.

How did you find the opportunity at Viaduct?
In 2017, I was the Recruiting Manager for the Buffalo Acara team. Scott Stenclik, CEO, approached me about leading the recruiting side of a new venture he was launching. The new company’s mission was to assist emerging Buffalo companies to grow by helping them find and hire the right talent. This new venture became Viaduct.

What are your primary day-to-day responsibilities?

In my role, my primary responsibility is to manage the entire recruitment processsourcing, screening, selecting, hiring, and onboarding—for all Viaduct client positions. I develop and manage relationships with clients and candidates to ensure they have a positive experience throughout the entire process. Over the past year, I have also taken on a larger business operations role within Viaduct and our sister company TalentRise.

What excites you about the startup ecosystem?

It is very rewarding to recruit talent for startup companies when you know these candidates are helping to grow and scale the client’s business to drive them forward. Seeing the placements Viaduct has made over the years and the positive impact each hire has created within their organization is extremely exciting. For example, Viaduct placed:  

I am fortunate to be involved with Forge Buffalo a talent community—of job seekers, employers, and entrepreneurial spirits in Buffalo, NY—that was co-founded by Viaduct. Powered by Empire State Development, Viaduct, and 43North, Forge Buffalo features some of the best and brightest leaders in the startup and emerging business community of Western New York. To see Western New York startup organizations hiring through Forge Buffalo is extremely rewarding to me. All our hard work in creating a platform to help emerging businesses hire more effectively is working!

What do you want people to know about you?

I have two children—Willow (4) and Gavin (1). I’m a die-hard Buffalo Bills, Atlanta Braves, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) Tar Heels fan. When I have a day off of work and my kids are in daycare you will most likely find me hiking, kayaking, fishing, or golfing. 

Interested in connecting with Tom to explore opportunities with Buffalo’s emerging startups? Shoot him a note at

Want to browse the Viaduct job board? Check out all available employment opportunities here.

Ready to get started with a startup? Create your free account and upload a copy of your resume so startups can find you!

Your employer value proposition is what you offer prospective employees when they ask, “What’s in it for me?” A strong EVP should effectively communicate your company’s benefits, explain key elements of your corporate culture, and offer compelling reasons why workers should consider a job opportunity with your company.

If your organization is committed to attracting top talent, it’s time to enhance your employer value proposition. Here are some strategies on how you can entice quality job seekers to apply for a position through an effective EVP.

How Businesses Can Improve Their Brand Awareness

What is your EVP?

When formulating an EVP, companies need to ask themselves how they’d like to be perceived in the eyes of prospective employees. What elements of your organization do you want to promote? How is your company different from others in its industry? What factors make your business a great place to work? An EVP should contain a message that’s both persuasive and compelling yet succinct and to the point—one that can be used for recruiting AND marketing purposes.

Composing a well-written EVP

What should your company prioritize when composing your EVP? This statement should emphasize three main components of your organization:

(1) Your mission and purpose;

(2) Your long-term vision; and

(3) Your core company values

The key is to incorporate these three elements into your EVP without making the statement too long or unwieldy. Articulate the things that separate your organization from the rest of the pack—but try to remain brief with your description. A well-written EVP should be no longer than three or four sentences long.

Examples of exceptional EVPs

Here are a few examples of exceptionally written EVPs from some of the world’s most recognizable brands:

Bain & Company

“Picture yourself at one of the world’s best places to work, surrounded by teams and people who challenge you, support you, and inspire you to be extraordinary. If you’re ready to do more than you think you can do, take a bold step toward Bain and we’ll walk that path with you.”


“At The Coca-Cola Company, we are a diverse, global community of people who thirst for more. With about 200 brands, a truly global footprint, and the opportunity to refresh the world, we offer more for your career. Together, we are growing and learning, building on our iconic past to make an impact.”


“Whether you’re in sales or stock, alterations or management, or are part of the behind-the-scenes glue that holds it all together, we’re all obsessed with serving our customers and oh, of course, fashion. Exciting and fast-paced, a career at Nordstrom means staying ahead of the trends, moving quickly, and being part of something we think is pretty awesome.”


“At Pfizer, we know that great things happen anywhere people come together with one shared goal. And the greatest rewards are sometimes where you least expect them. Join world-class scientists and leaders in all fields of healthcare and business who are dedicated to bringing therapies that will significantly improve patients’ lives. The future of medicine is happening at Pfizer.”


“Solve the next generation of engineering, manufacturing, and operational challenges as we work to secure a clean energy future. It doesn’t matter where you come from, where you went to school or what industry you’re in—if you’ve done exceptional work, join us to rethink the future of sustainable energy.”

Formulating a startup EVP

For startups and emerging businesses, a clearly articulated EVP is critical to attracting talent. It’s no secret that high-profile candidates are considering job opportunities with high-growth organizations as a viable employment option—just look at Prince Harry! An early-stage company with limited brand recognition in the local market must formulate an employer value proposition that highlights its differentiators. Because startup cultures tend to be more unique, fast-paced, and forward-thinking, these unconventional attributes are undoubtedly appealing for job seekers. Emphasize the elements that make working in a startup environment special to attract greater populations of job seekers. 


Creating a compelling EVP takes time, effort, and considerable thought. After all, this statement will be prominently visible in the eyes of job seekers who are considering opportunities with your company, so it’s important to make sure this is an adequate representation of your organization. Integrate your EVP within your company’s website, careers page, and recruiting collateral to ensure your messaging and tone are consistent. Following these guidelines is imperative for success with your talent acquisition and recruiting initiatives.

Is your organization looking to hire talent quickly? Learn how startups can engage the candidates they need, when they need them.

Viaduct—a leading talent acquisition provider for startups and emerging businesses—recently welcomed Roger Naglewski as a Senior Account Executive. With nearly 15 years of comprehensive placement and recruitment experience, Naglewski will support Viaduct’s executive search business by further expanding the company’s brand into the Chicago market. His sales and business development prowess and intimate knowledge of the recruitment industry will be critical in connecting him with growth-stage companies.

“At Viaduct, we’re eager to expand our footprint throughout the United States—and Roger’s expertise and enthusiasm will be critical in helping us get there,” said Pete Petrella, Managing Director. “Roger’s previous placement experience in working with funded startups throughout the country aligns perfectly with our Viaduct mission. We’re glad to welcome him aboard to our growing organization.” 

Naglewski has spent almost his entire career in the recruiting and talent acquisition sector. Based in downtown Chicago, he has specialized in recruiting and placing HR, finance, accounting, sales, marketing, and IT candidates for companies nationwide. Combining exceptional relationship-building abilities with an infectious and lively personality, Naglewski is well-equipped to connect and collaborate with high-growth startups to help service their comprehensive talent acquisition needs.

“I’m thrilled to be joining the team at Viaduct by helping to nurture growth-stage businesses,” said Naglewski. “The startup community needs a talent acquisition partner that can connect them with high-quality candidates—and Viaduct is well-positioned to provide this level of support.”

A lifelong Chicago native, Naglewski graduated from Loyola University Chicago with his degree in business accounting. He is also highly involved in the greater Chicago community and founded the Chicago Vaccine Hunters—a volunteer group to help senior Chicago residents obtain COVID-19 vaccines.

To learn more about Roger Naglewski and his role at Viaduct, connect with him on LinkedIn.

In today’s candidate-driven labor market, job seekers have an important choice to make: do they prioritize a traditional annual salary, or do they take a chance on securing equity in a startup company? For emerging businesses, startup equity is much more prevalent in conversations around compensation—and is often viewed as a means of attracting talent. Although there is risk involved in taking on equity, the reward can be monstrous. Here’s what you need to know about accepting equity as a form of compensation.

What is equity?

In the startup world, equity is a term that is often discussed—but seldom understood. By securing equity in your company, you are being given an ownership stake in the business—meaning you can financially benefit from its growth and success. Dangling equity to startup employees is commonly used as a compelling candidate attraction tool for startups and emerging businesses. Job seekers know that if they join a high-growth, high-potential company, they could cash in on a hefty payday by controlling an equity stake in the organization. For example, if an employee is given one percent equity in their business, they are entitled to one percent of all shares of stock once the company has gone public.

What kinds of equity are there?

There are several forms of equity that startups and high-growth businesses can offer their employees:

What is a vesting period?

According to UpCounsel, a vesting period is known as the time before shares in an employee stock option plan are unconditionally owned by an employee. While there are several kinds of vesting periods—such as graded vesting and cliff vesting—the concept remains the same: employees must work at a company for a certain time period (usually three or four years) before their equity vests. For startups, vesting periods are commonly deployed to help companies ensure that workers remain with their company for an extended time without fear of a departure.

What does it mean to “go public”?

You might’ve heard of something called an initial public offering—or IPO for short. Going through the IPO process is how a startup can become a publicly-traded company and begin trading on the NASDAQ stock exchange. Once the company’s shares can begin being traded on the stock market, the organization can sell these shares to raise capital—presenting it with considerable opportunities to expand its business, increase the size of its staff, pay off debt, and pursue more strategic and longer-term growth objectives.

Why do companies offer equity?

For growth-stage companies like startups, cash can be hard to come by. Rather than promising to compensate a prospective employee with a high annual salary, an emerging business may choose to provide a lower base salary with an equity stake in the organization. This can serve as a motivational tactic for employees: by earning shares in the company, resources will work tirelessly to promote the startup’s brand and contribute to its growth and development. Startup founders and critical decision-makers know that the harder their employees work, the greater the odds that the company goes public through an IPO.   

Are there any downsides to taking equity?

While accepting an offer of employment from a startup where you’re given an equity stake in the company has tremendous upside, it can also be a risky proposition. If the company flames out quickly, you may be left with equity that is worth nothing—potentially costing yourself tens of thousands of dollars in potential earnings versus if you had accepted a job with a traditional company. While you may think the organization can become an ACV Auctions-like unicorn, it’s critically important to view the opportunity with an objective—not subjective—lens.

Equity vs. annual salary: which should you choose?

When formulating an ideal compensation plan, candidates should first evaluate the stage of life they find themselves in.

Why Now Is The Best Time to Switch to a Startup Job


Before accepting a job with a startup company, do your homework on your prospective employer. Study its product or technology compared to other comparable options on the market. Ask the organization’s leaders about its exit strategy. Discover if the owners have plans to sell the business, or if they want to aggressively pursue an IPO in five years. The company’s responses to these questions should heavily dictate your decision. A well-thought-out exit strategy—if executed properly by senior leadership—could help turn your equity stake into some serious cash. Make sure you are confident in the direction of the startup before agreeing to join the organization. By being prudent—and patient—in your job search, the odds of you making the right decision for your career will drastically improve.

Interested in learning about what makes working at a startup special? Here are Viaduct’s six reasons why you should take a job with an emerging business.

Looking to browse startup jobs with some of Buffalo’s hottest companies? Check out the Viaduct Job Board today to find an employment opportunity that’s right for you!