Tech Recruiter Says New York Startups Poised to Compete with Silicon Valley

New York startups, built largely on the city’s foundations in advertising, finance, media, and fashion, are the new smart bets for both investors and prospective employees, according to NIAH Recruiting founder Tatiana Becker.

Becker specializes in recruiting top talent for New York’s most innovative startups, and has placed top talent in many emerging tech firms. Prior to launching NIAH, she held key recruiting positions that helped launch the growth of New York’s best startup success stories, including Etsy and AppNexus.

“When I first moved here five years ago, it was hard to get someone to move to New York for tech. The best talent wants to live in a place with a vibrant tech ecosystem,” Becker said.  “Now, people from the West Coast are reaching out to me. Our ecosystem rivals what they are used to, and they also find it exciting that these aren’t just pure tech plays, but iterations on already rich industries.”

With her focus on helping tech startups find the talent they need, Ms. Becker is well known in New York’s tech startup scene. Those connections have given Becker an insider’s view of the changes in the New York tech scene. Among them, compared with five years ago, is the willingness of developers to leave stable jobs at banks and with media companies to join startups.

“They see examples of New York City companies making it to $1 billion unicorn status, either through an IPO or acquisition, and they see the potential rewards that startup employees can reap for creating true innovation,” she said. “Combined with the allure of working in a faster-paced environment, often with more modern technologies and development practices, they often see moving to a startup as a step that will kick their careers up a notch.”

One of NIAH’s differentiators is that its client list is a roster of some of the up-and-coming darlings of the New York tech scene, companies that are working with very few if any other outside recruiters.

“I’ve been very proud of my former coworkers. I’ve seen them go on to head up their own companies or run teams. They’ve then come back to me for help, remembering how I staffed up their teams in the past,” she said.

Examples include Josh Halickman of  Etsy, who went on to found Abacus, a corporate expense tracking solution that already has over 400 customers. They also include Isaac Oates, who headed up payments and HR projects at Etsy and went on to start his own HR software company, Justworks.

“You’ve probably seen their ads on the subway,” Becker said. “There’s also Eric Bogs, who’s leading engineering at Hinge, a dating app which shows users only matches that are friends of friends, for a safer, more curated experience.”

Becker’s former AppNexus coworkers started TripleLift, an adtech startup named one of America’s most promising startups by Forbes Magazine. And Johnny Jiang, who worked with Becker at AHAlife, now runs marketing at Peloton Cycle. They sell spinning bikes with handlebar-mounted tablets that stream high energy, interactive classes to students around the world.

Becker said that if she wasn’t running NIAH, any of these startups are places she would work “in a heartbeat” because they have the perfect ingredients for success. Those ingredients – a strong vision, the funding, incredible work environments – are what she’s finding across New York City startups. Delivering the best people to those tech enterprises is the heartbeat of her own NIAH tech recruiting.


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