Forging connections: New Viaduct and 43North collaboration aims to help startups find talent

One of the formational ideas behind the new collaborative partnership aligning Viaduct, the entrepreneur-focused arm of global recruiting power Aleron, and 43North, the Buffalo-based $5 million startup competition for entrepreneurs, is that there needs to be a better way for Western New York-based startups to hire the talent they need. Introducing Forge Buffalo.

According to Viaduct’s managing director, Peter Petrella, “Buffalo is where our CEO Scott Stenclik and his family have had a lot of success; where they grew their company and built their brands. So, about five years ago, as the buzz around things like the Buffalo Billion [Ed. note: NY State’s $1 billion+ investment for job creation and spurring investment and economic activity in the Buffalo area] and the local startup community was growing louder, Scott decided that he wanted to be a part of it. He decided to give back by helping 43North, LaunchNY, and all their portfolio companies access some of our resources, so that they can continue to hire and grow.

“43North and their companies are key in bringing new startups to the area—many on the cusp of hitting scale and getting Series A funding,” continues Petrella. “With that comes the need to hire quickly. And that’s what Forge Buffalo will help them do.”

Calling itself a hub and community for the Western New York startup world, Forge Buffalo plans to integrate via an online portal where startups can list open positions, and pre-screened job seekers can register, explore positions, and find networking opportunities.

A partnership between Viaduct and 43North already existed, Petrella says, “as we worked to get people interested in working for startups, and specifically in Western New York. Viaduct’s back-end support puts Forge Buffalo’s functionality in place to curate the list of jobs and organize the database of candidates.”

It takes a certain type of person to be successful at a startup, adds Petrella, and through Viaduct’s proprietary assessment tool, the platform will take each candidate’s pulse before they can upload their resume.

“We’ll briefly assess each potential candidate’s soft skills to see if they have the aptitude to work for a startup,” says Petrella. “A month in a startup can be like a year in an established business—things are constantly changing. To be a good fit in that environment, you can’t fear failure; you have to be adaptable and innovative. Startups are frequently trying to be industry-disrupters, and the people who work at them should be, too. It’s also important to be willing to wear multiple hats; even if you are head of sales, you might be doing other things to help the company move forward.”

Once the candidates are in the database, companies will have free access to search, and to post jobs, which will also be shared widely on other job posting sites like Career Builder, Indeed, etc. And employers, says Petrella, will also have options to tap into offerings like advertising, marketing, branding, and “full-on recruiting services.”

“The partnership, community, and platform expand startups’ reach, as they try to move quickly to add talent. They’ll be able to go beyond what their budget or resources might allow,” he says. “They’ll have a list of curated candidates who have shown interest in working for a startup.

“This is a community effort,” attests Petrella. “We’ll be partnering with more organizations, like Invest Buffalo Niagara/Be In Buffalo, and University at Buffalo, hosting events, and continue to highlight the excitement and energy in the Western New York startup world. We want everyone to be involved.”

Read more articles by Jana Eisenberg.

Jana Eisenberg is a Buffalo-based freelance writer/editor. In October, 2019, she was named managing editor of UpstartNY. She grew up in Los Angeles, called NYC home for 20 years, and now enjoys telling the stories of life in Western New York.
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