- Recruiting is critical at M25 because the early-stage startups in their portfolio rely on M25 to help them hire a capable and resilient founding team.
- M25 integrated GetroConnect into their talent management process to save time and scale their introductions to help more founders in less time.
- With GetroConnect, M25 has leveled up their portfolio support. Their new, streamlined process has allowed them to expand their team and be proactive at scale.
- M25 has facilitated at least one introduction from 100% of their talent newsletters, an initiative that M25 implemented with GetroConnect.
- “With GetroConnect, I'm having a lot more conversations and funneling more candidates to our companies,” says Katie Birge, Head of Platform at M25 Ventures.
M25 is an early-stage venture firm based in Chicago that invests solely in tech startups based in the Midwest. M25 also maintains midweststartups.com, a resource for anyone working within the Midwestern tech ecosystem.
As Head of Platform, Katie Birge wears many hats: events, marketing, portfolio support, talent, and more. "I aim to help our companies grow rapidly by removing barriers to growth, as well as helping M25 become the most recognized venture capital firm in the Midwest,” Katie explains.
M25 is trusted by both candidates and startups across the Midwest, and the firm’s talent introductions have become key to providing best-in-class portfolio support. M25 needed a way to organize, manage, and scale talent.
1. Save time
"Talent takes up 40% of my time.”
Over the last few years, talent has grown into a significant part of Katie’s role. “Talent originally wasn’t supposed to be part of my job, and now it takes up 40% of my time.” says Katie. “I don’t come from a recruiting background.” Katie needed to ensure that she was using her time as efficiently as possible so she could balance talent with her other responsibilities.
2. Scale introductions
Startups rely on M25 to help them hire capable founding teams.
Startups rely on M25 to help them hire capable founding teams, and Katie needed to scale and strategize the recruiting support M25 was providing. "We primarily invest in pre-seed and seed stage companies," Katie explains. "Our startups aren't seeking senior executives; they need their first customer success hire or fractional marketing role that can transition into a full-time position in the next funding round."
3. Do away with manual processes
"Everything was kept in spreadsheets. It was really hard to track."
Katie maintains a large talent network to help her portfolio fill a wide variety of roles. But tracking all those candidates was time-consuming, and manual processes created a barrier to introductions and hiring. “Everything was kept in spreadsheets. It was really hard to track, and difficult to remember who I had talked to,” she says. "And it got pretty unwieldy if I added too many notes in the spreadsheet, so I also wasn't keeping good documentation. It was not successful.”
Katie integrated GetroConnect into her talent management process at M25, and it quickly became an essential tool.
1. Candidate organization
"We use GetroConnect as the jumping off point for all of our hiring manager and candidate communication.”
“When you're trying to focus on so many areas of platform, the job can seem very chaotic at times. I really rely on GetroConnect to organize my candidates and help me figure out what our next steps are in getting those hires,” she says.
“If I think about all of the ways that we currently reach our hiring managers and candidates – even the stuff that we're doing externally outside of Getro – we're still managing all of those people through Getro. We use GetroConnect as the jumping off point for all of our hiring manager and candidate communication.”
2. Easy list building
"It’s been a game changer."
With GetroConnect, Katie can build and customize candidate lists effortlessly. “I use the Getro plugin for Google Chrome pretty heavily,” she says. "I frequently browse LinkedIn for posts about recent layoffs or tech professionals seeking new opportunities. If I have a quick 15-minute call scheduled with someone, I simply click 'Add to Getro' on LinkedIn and place them on our quarterly list. It’s been a game changer."
3. Talent newsletters
After every single newsletter, at least one portfolio company requests an introduction to a featured candidate.
Katie uses her candidate lists to send bi-weekly newsletters—one to candidates featuring open jobs at portfolio companies, and one to hiring managers showcasing promising talent. “I don't want to be so dramatic as to say the newsletters would not have been possible without GetroConnect, but they certainly would have been harder to implement,” Katie says. "Our content marketer just needs to download a list every two weeks to compile the email."
The newsletters’ open rates show how often founders and candidates trust M25 to make valuable recommendations: the newsletter to candidates boasts an impressive 50% open rate, while the newsletter to hiring managers achieves a whopping 60% open rate. And after every single newsletter, at least one portfolio company requests an introduction to a featured candidate.
GetroConnect has helped M25 maximize its talent network and provide better portfolio support.
1. Founder satisfaction
"We felt like we could jump in more quickly in hiring her because we trust M25 and who they share."
Thanks to more efficient processes, M25 has been able to help new investments and immediately deliver value to founders. Take the startup hummingbirds, for example. Within just three months of onboarding with M25, hummingbirds hired two candidates from M25's talent network.
“M25 introduced us to our amazing marketing director who was recently laid off from another startup. We felt like we could jump in more quickly in hiring her because we trust M25 and who they share. We also had the benefit of the CEO hopping on a call with us to share how much he recommended working with her. She’s now ramping up and helping us build our top of funnel strategy and execution!” says Emily Steele, Co-Founder and CEO at hummingbirds.
2. Greater proactivity at scale
“GetroConnect freed up time for us to figure out processes around our talent instead of just handling talent as it comes to us."
“GetroConnect freed up time for us to figure out processes around our talent instead of just handling talent as it comes to us. And I think that's been the biggest thing for me,” says Katie. “Before, we were just frantically sending candidates to our companies, but GetroConnect has allowed us to evolve.”
“We’re creating cohesive marketing strategies around the candidates and around the open roles, which is something we'd never done before. We’ve never been focused on how to use marketing tactics for talent. It’s not something we had ever thought we could do. GetroConnect has given us time to think strategically about how we do marketing for talent specifically.”
3. Time saved
"With GetroConnect, it's at least twice as fast it would have been."
GetroConnect freed up Katie’s time by allowing her to delegate more easily. “One of the reasons we have a talent intern this summer is because we have GetroConnect, where I can hand off some of the work I've been doing. Trying to translate the stuff going on in my head and in that manual spreadsheet would not be possible,” says Katie. “But because we have a more streamlined process, it was easy to onboard our intern. She was up and running as an admin in GetroConnect in five minutes and she’s already spending half of her time in it.”
Moving away from spreadsheets has also sped up tasks for Katie and her team. “If we were trying to do the newsletter manually, and if we were still trying to track candidates manually in the spreadsheet, I’d have to go back over and over to check for accuracy. With GetroConnect, it’s at least twice as fast as it would have been.”
4. More introductions
“With GetroConnect, I'm having a lot more conversations and funneling more candidates to our companies.”
With the additional help and automation, Katie’s talent goals are within reach.
“I am trying to talk to 100 people this quarter and send those candidates to our companies. That would not be possible without GetroConnect,” says Katie. “But now we're going to hit that goal of talking to 100 candidates a quarter much faster.”
“GetroConnect gave me the opportunity to figure out what kind of capacity we can stretch talent to at M25,” says Katie. “With GetroConnect, I'm having a lot more conversations and funneling more candidates to our companies.”
Scale your talent network with GetroConnect
”I’ve referred a lot of colleagues to Getro. I love it."
GetroConnect has allowed Katie and her team at M25 to save time, facilitate more connections, and become proactive about talent strategy in order to give M25’s portfolio companies the support they need to succeed.
”I’ve referred a lot of colleagues to Getro,” Katie adds. “I love it.”
Want to learn how GetroConnect can help your team? Request a demo today.