My Story (Entrepreneur/Founder)
Jeff Sears is a Seattle native and has grown up enjoying the beauty of the Emerald City. He graduated from Bellevue High school and went on to attend University of Washington. Soon after graduating, Jeff worked in radio advertising for his first 5 years. This is how he honed his skills for cold calling and closing sales. An early, enriching professional experience for him was joining Intelius – a B2C (Business to Customer) background screening company – as one of the earliest employees. Post-Intelius, Jeff joined Talentwise and was part of the leadership team there that built it from the ground up into a $90 million-dollar market cap organization. After Talentwise merged with Sterling Background Check Jeff stayed on as a Senior Vice President for 16 months after the acquisition.
By 2017, Jeff was ready to launch his own his own venture. He co-founded and launched TalentReach – a recruiting company that focuses on industry veterans as well niche recruiting including sales, marketing engineering. TalentReach uses a blend of deep industry experience and innovative technology to recruit at unprecedented speed and cost. Its high touch recruiting that can scale with your company.
Jeff’s stint at Talentwise was his most defining professional experience as he was part of the company growth from 0-$90 million. Being part of it from beginning to acquisition was an incredible learning experience and tremendous team effort, and he was proud to be part of it.
Inspirations and Doubts
Jeff’s experience with launching and building TalentReach has made him realize that bootstrapping a venture from scratch leads to a lot of sleepless nights. Another big challenge for startup ventures, in the currently competitive landscape for employees, is finding the right employees. Jeff’s experience has also made him realize that living without regular paychecks, after having earned regular salary for more than two decades, is a big change of pace for startup founders.
Jeff is constantly inspired by the feeling of gratification when finding a perfect recruiting match for a client. He has also been inspired by the books written by successful entrepreneurs like Reed Hoffman – the founder of LinkedIn.
If I could do it again…
Jeff believes that he would not be where he is today if he had not gone through this journey. So he doesn’t feel the need to redo anything – no regrets!
What I’d like to share with other entrepreneurs
Jeff believes that an entrepreneur should try to meet and talk to people who have been there before them. Talking to others saves entrepreneurs from reinventing the wheel. Another message Jeff wants to share is that there is no substitute to burning midnight oil – hard work is always necessary for a successful entrepreneur!
What I’d like to share with investors:
Focus on the leadership team; if you don’t have the right people then no matter how good the idea is, it will fizzle out.
Jeff recommends to the investors to focus on the leadership team of the company and do a good vetting job of researching the strengths and weaknesses of the team. It is important to identify and spot people who can stay through the any rough patches and crunch times. Jeff also believes that a stage appropriate team is very crucial – who you need at the beginning is not always the same people you need 2 years down the road.
What I’d like to share with the state/government
Jeff would like both state and national government policies to be entrepreneurship and business friendly.
What I’d like to share with the youth
Jeff believes that his college education didn’t give him many practical tools to work in the real world of creating and running a business. He wishes he had more business exposure early and had a business mentor early on his career.
Is there a point where TiE has helped or do you have suggestions for how TiE could have helped
Jeff and TalentReach have a valuable relationship with TiE. TiE has helped Jeff get in touch with influencers who might not have been otherwise reachable. Jeff believes that the Module trainings by TiE are very helpful in various aspects of starting a business.
Jeff suggests that TiE can help more with cross pollination among its members via events like TiE career fair to help CEOs get access to TiE members who happen to be industry veterans and who are latently considering a career change or getting into entrepreneurship themselves.