McKinsey Alums Target Tech Talent War With Y Combinator Startups

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HireArt and Coderwall both aim to replace the run-of-the-mill resume with online applications that do a better job measuring an applicant’s skills.

The investors assembled at Y Combinator’s Demo Day in Mountain View are no strangers to the challenges of finding top engineering talent in Silicon Valley. So the crowd was especially attuned to pitches from HireArt and Coderwall, which are working to make it easier for startups to staff up well.

Besides going through the Y Combinator incubator together, HireArt and Coderwall have a lot else in common.  They’re both founded by former McKinsey & Co. consultants. Both seek to raise $1 million from investors. And both aim to replace the run-of-the-mill resume with online applications that do a better job measuring an applicant’s skills.

HireArt helps recruiters who need to hire talent with a specific set of proven skills. Need a copy writer? HireArt vets candidates with writing samples. Need a head of marketing? The site picks from those who have provided sample sales pitches. “What’s the best way of finding whether someone can do something?” asks Eleonora Sharef, the former McKinsey consultant who co-founded the company last year. “Ask them to do it.”

Sharef intends for the system to help companies find what she calls “Moneyball candidates” — a nod to the Michael Lewis book about using statistics to build a better baseball team for less money — that they would not have discovered using paper resumes. The other new company, Coderwall, is focused more narrowly on the hot market for programmers.

On Coderwall’s site, programmers are awarded badges for accomplishing feats of varying skills. One badge depicts a coiled-up snake and is given to coders who have built a program using the computer language Python. Another, showing a bird feeding a hatchling in a nest, is given to programmers who have helped out on an open-source project.

“I wanted to figure out a way to attract developers, so they could come and show what they’re doing,” said Matthew Deiters, who founded Coderwall after working at McKinsey. ”I can tell what skills you possess and how involved you are with that technology. It’s very different than the LinkedIn resume.”

During the pitch, Deiters made no secret of his ambition to knock LinkedIn from its professional-networking perch: “I look forward to talking to anybody that wants to eat LinkedIn’s lunch.”

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