Exclusive: Tiger Global, Alkeon Slash Startup Valuations Amid Public Stock Selloff Read Now

Matthew Vascellaro
Q&A
Media/Telecom Uber/Lyft

Hiring the Leader Tech Startups Live or Die By

By  |  Nov. 12, 2014 11:23 AM PST
Photo: Matthew Vascellaro

Startup founders may get the most public adulation, but a company’s head of engineering can play an equally pivotal role in shaping top technology companies. It can be the most highly paid position at a company, CEO included.

When startups like Uber, Dropbox and Twitter needed a vice president of engineering, they tapped Riviera Partners, a San Francisco-based recruiting firm that specializes in hiring executives for technology startups.

The firm typically gets paid in equity in the company—about one-third of the hire’s first-year grant.

As hiring has gotten more intense, competition among recruiters has heated up too. Riviera competes with others like Parker Remick and a host of well-connected individuals and investors.

The Information chatted with Ali Behnam, a co-founder and managing partner at Riviera, which was founded in 2002. The 80-person firm is growing its revenue 25 percent a year, according to Mr. Behnam.

Mr. Behnam, who was previously a co-founder at the talent-matching startup Whitetruffle, discussed the easiest place to poach top engineering talent away from right now (Twitter), how the CEO of Uber hired the company’s head of engineering, Thuan Pham, and how much a company should pay its vice president of engineering. Edited excerpts below.

Get access to exclusive coverage
Read deeply reported stories from the largest newsroom in tech.
Latest Articles
 
The Briefing Apple Entertainment
Apple’s Mac Renaissance
Apple's new Mac laptop. Photo by Bloomberg.
For a company as routinely successful as Apple, continued success can get repetitive. Tonight’s earnings call, for instance, was so full of the usual hyperbole about record revenues that Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri repeated a segment of his commentary without missing a beat. But within the eye-glazing recitations of Apple’s various records—and, for the TV service, its award nominations...
Latest Briefs
 
DOJ, State AGs say Epic Games Antitrust Ruling Was Wrong
SoftBank COO Marcelo Claure To Leave Firm
Robinhood Stock Sinks as it Forecasts Steep Drop in Revenue
Stay in the know
Receive a summary of the day's top tech news—distilled into one email.
Access on the go
View stories on our mobile app and tune into our weekly podcast.
Join live video Q&A’s
Deep-dive into topics like startups and autonomous vehicles with our top reporters and other executives.
Enjoy a clutter-free experience
Read without any banner ads.
Photo by AP.
Exclusive
Tiger Global, Alkeon Slash Startup Valuations Amid Public Stock Selloff
For more than a year, startup founders have watched in awe and some trepidation as hedge funds and other large investors flooded private startups with big checks, pushing up valuations and making it easier than ever to raise money.
Snowflake CEO Frank Slootman (left) and Databricks CEO Ali Ghodsi. Photos by Snowflake, Bloomberg. Collage by Mike Sullivan
Exclusive Cloud
Snowflake vs. Databricks: How Onetime Friends Became Fierce Cloud Rivals
A few years ago, Snowflake and Databricks were up-and-coming cloud software startups that were so friendly, their sales teams regularly passed customer leads to each other.
Art by Haejin Park. Photo courtesy Caroline Spiegel.
The Big Read Startups Culture
Caroline Spiegel’s Porn Revolution
Birds chirp and wind rustles through leaves—the sounds of early fall. “Man, it’s beautiful out here,” remarks a deep, crackly male voice.
Pinterest headquarters office in San Francisco. Photo by Bloomberg
Exclusive Entertainment E-commerce
Pinterest Has Lost at Least 7 Senior Execs in Recent Weeks
Pinterest has lost at least seven senior executives in roles ranging from creator marketing to corporate development in recent weeks as the online scrapbooking app grapples with a drop in U.S.
Susanne Daniels. Photo by Bloomberg. Art by Mike Sullivan
Opinion Media/Telecom Entertainment
Why YouTube Sees Hollywood’s Future in the Creator Economy
Tuesday’s letter from YouTube Chief Business Officer Robert Kyncl to its 2 million–strong creator community—announcing that original content chief Susanne Daniels had resigned—read like the final salvo in YouTube’s recent PR campaign touting its creator economy successes .
Art by Mike Sullivan
Exclusive Venture Capital Startups
Tech’s Great Headhunter Shortage: Employers Shower Recruiters With Better Pay, Benefits
In the middle of 2020, not long after the Covid-19 pandemic began sparking layoffs across the country, Joe Price watched as eight members of the recruiting department at an automotive software company he worked for lost their jobs.