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Tech Talent Flocks to Young Startups as Late-Stage Valuations Tank

The recent pressure in startup valuations and a clogged pipeline of initial public offerings has upended the recruiting landscape. Big stock packages from firms backed by billions of dollars in capital now look less likely to result in lucrative payoffs. That’s led early-stage startups to swoop in, poaching tech workers with equity that could have more upside.

Take DoNotPay, which offers automated legal services for handling problems like parking tickets and was valued at $210 million in its Series B round in July. It recently convinced two engineers to join—one was from a publicly traded software firm, and the other jumped ship from a more mature startup. Part of seven-year-old DoNotPay’s pitch was that the recent market selloff would make it difficult for equity at the bigger companies to grow reliably over time.

“If this was six months ago, they would have easily gone with growth offers,” CEO Josh Browder said in an interview. Those kinds of conversations are becoming commonplace across the tech industry, recruiters say, and more workers are swayed to leave jobs at big private companies or publicly traded companies and roll the dice on upstart rivals.

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