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1871+ Hirewell: Building Chicago's Tech Startup Community

Executive Summary

In 2014, Hirewell and 1871 came together to develop a unique program to support the hiring initiatives of 1871’s startup companies. Two senior Hirewell recruiters are onsite at 1871 and offer their expertise to 1871 companies and alumni. Hirewell has partnered with over 100 of 1871’s member companies resulting in over 110+ hires, with over 50% of the hires being difficult-to-find engineering talent. Forty-eight percent of those hired met an inclusion standard in 2016 with an average salary of $72,500. Hirewell is contracted at 1871 through 2019.

About the Client

Founded in 2012, 1871 was created as a home for Chicago’s digital startup community. Since that time, it has become the hub for the city’s thriving technology and entrepreneurial ecosystem. Today, 1871 is the home of 400+ early-stage, high-growth digital startups. Located in The Merchandise Mart, this 150,000 square foot facility is also the headquarters of nationally recognized accelerators, industry-specific incubators, tech talent schools, the Illinois Science and Technology Coalition — the state’s leading technology advocate, a number of Chicago-based VCs, and satellite offices for Northwestern University, University of Illinois, University of Chicago, Loyola University Chicago, Illinois Institute of Technology, DeVry University, and DePaul University.

The Challenges

It is very difficult for startups to compete with larger, more established companies for top talent -    especially top engineers, who are in incredibly high demand.  Speed and velocity are key for startups. A custom program needed to be developed - one with the structure that could support and scale with the world-class company and the 40+ companies it houses.

The Solution

Hirewell and 1871 collaborated on the development of a unique recruiting program to support 1871’s startups in their hiring initiatives. Our recruiters sit onsite at 1871 and offer their expertise to 1871 companies and alumni. In two and a half years, Hirewell has partnered with over 100 member companies on over 150 openings. The Hirewell recruiters have also managed the internal hiring for the 1871 team, placing more than 20 1871 teammates.

Results

The combined recruiting efforts have helped startup organizations compete for top talent, resulting in 110+ hires to date, with over half of the hires have been for difficult to find engineering talent. Forty-eight percent of those hired met an inclusion standard in 2016 with an average salary of $72,500. Hirewell and 1871 have both subsidized the program to make it affordable for startups. The average cost to hire for 1871 companies has been under $2,500/hire. 

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