Silicon Valley Startup Pays $20,000 for Employee Referrals

$100 Bills

ThoughtSpot, a Redwood City, Calif., company that seeks to streamline the searching of business data, just landed a $30 million Series B funding round. Still, it wants more attention.

Specifically, it wants the attention of people who know people – people who might like to join its team. And it’s willing to pay, too. If you refer a candidate and they remain on the job for three months, the company will cheerfully pay you $20,000.

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“We want the best of the best,” CEO Ajeet Singh told the San Francisco Chronicle. “We thought $20,000 was an interesting enough number that a lot of people might actually refer people to us.” (It’s certainly more interesting than the $3,000 to $5,000 referral fees typically paid.)

With its new funding, ThoughSpot has some serious expansion plans. Over the next year it wants to grow its team from 25 to more than 100 people. Finding that many new hires in the tight labor market that is Silicon Valley is bound to be a challenge, especially for a company whose product is more of a back-end business intelligence tool than a buzz-worthy social app.

Twenty thousand dollars is an attention-getter, alright, though Singh said it’s less money than a lot of recruiters would want for bringing in a hire. So far, three people have been added through the program. Singh says his team includes veterans of Google’s search index, search ranking and AdSense, as well as its Borg project, which manages computation across all of its data centers. Co-founder Amit Prakash was one of the original engineers on Microsoft’s Bing team.

The company’s product—the ThoughtSpot Data Search Appliance–is a plug-and-play solution that’s designed to allows users to search business data as easily as they search the Web through Google. It’s trying to meld the power of traditional BI solutions, which can be hard to use and slow, with the speed and simplicity of newer, less robust products.

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