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This Is What Tech Hiring Could Be Like In 2021

While the number of open tech jobs took a hit in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, some labor economists and tech recruiters are expecting a surge in hiring in the field in 2021.

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While the number of open tech jobs took a hit in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, some labor economists and tech recruiters are expecting a surge in hiring in the field in 2021.

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The U.S. tech industry posted the third-largest decrease in job postings among all sectors, according to ZipRecruiter data, but the COVID-19 vaccine and savings accrued by individuals and companies because of remote work could lead to robust hiring demand next year.

“We’re very bullish on hiring in 2021, particularly in tech,” said Julia Pollak, a labor economist at ZipRecruiter. “There are lots of reasons to be very, very optimistic about what’s going to happen in tech. One is that obviously the vaccine news is the big reason—there’s sort of an end to the pandemic in sight now.”

Americans who have saved money staying home during the pandemic are poised to spend more once it’s over. Additionally, many large employers, like Oracle, have moved their headquarters to lower-cost areas or taken steps to make remote work more permanent, as was the case with Pinterest, which paid $90 million to terminate its San Francisco office lease.

Shedding real estate typically leads to cost savings for companies, which in turn frees up dollars to hire more employees and grow, Pollak said.

Growth ahead

Art Zeile, CEO of DHI group, which owns tech job database Dice, also expressed optimism for tech hiring in 2021. Zeile said he expects a surge in interest in technologists once the pandemic is over.

“We believe that there will be a post-pandemic explosion of interest in technologists, and that includes within startups, with so many focusing on technological innovation,” Zeile said via email.

Zeile pointed to a Microsoft report from this year that estimated the total number of “technology-oriented” jobs would increase from 41 million in 2020 to 190 million in 2025.

The rosy outlook for 2021 is a far cry from where things were for tech hiring after February 2020.

While tech is one of the industries in which employees can work from home, job opportunities this year haven’t necessarily been up, according to Pollak.

“Tech is actually the industry with one of the largest declines in job postings and that’s perhaps surprising because with so many in-person brick-and-mortar types of industries on pause, one would think the internet would be taking over, and in many ways it is,” she said. “I think what this reflects is that many people who are able to work remotely and are continuing to have their jobs are no longer looking for new jobs the same way they were before the pandemic.”

According to ZipRecruiter data, the average count of U.S. tech job openings fell from just over 1 million in February to 497,225 in June. The figure rose to 793,852 in November.

Pre-COVID-19, more people employed in tech were “job hopping” because they were optimistic, according to Pollak. Now, the quit rate at tech companies has gone down, leading to fewer job postings.

“People who have jobs are staying put because it’s hard to do this whole onboarding thing during the pandemic when you’re not going to the office,” she said.

Despite that, there’s huge interest in the jobs that are available, according to Pollak. ZipRecruiter has seen a “very high” number of applications per tech job posting.

Filling a remote need

Remote work, however, has caused demand for certain tech jobs, according to Dice. Network engineers, for example, ranked third for tech job postings in the third quarter of 2020, according to Dice’s most recent Tech Job Report.

“In order to build, maintain, and secure these broadly dispersed networks of employees, companies need to hire network engineers and systems engineers, which may explain their high rank in Q3,” the report read. “If the nature of work looks fundamentally different in coming years, it will likely be in part because these innovative technologists figured out how to build out the necessary infrastructure.”

But shifting to a fully remote or hybrid model doesn’t always mean employees retain the same perks they had in the office. Some companies that are fully remote, like San Francisco-based Sourcegraph, offer location-agnostic salaries, where employees in the same role make the same amount regardless of where they live. Other companies, including large tech companies like Facebook, have said employees who relocate to lower-cost areas to work remotely will have their salaries adjusted (read: reduced).

According to Dice’s data, California and Texas topped the list of states leading tech hiring in 2020 Q3. California had 124,000 job postings—more than double Texas’ 54,000 job postings–with established tech hubs like San Francisco, Sunnyvale and Los Angeles leading the state for tech job postings. What’s more surprising, though, is that Florida and Georgia—not necessarily known as tech hubs—saw their state rankings for tech job postings jump in Q3. Florida moved up one spot to be ranked No. 5 and Georgia jumped five spots quarter over quarter to be ranked No. 8.

Home: the new workplace

Some companies have already taken steps toward permanently working remotely.

After Arizona-based startup Trainual executed its virtual company retreat successfully, CEO Chris Ronzio realized that even when things go back to “normal” post-COVID-19, the world still won’t be the same.

“If we can do everything, month after month of growth and productivity, and we can even do a company event fully remote, I think this (remote work) can work and it’s only going to get better if we can meet in person a couple times a year,” Ronzio said.

The company made the decision to open up hiring to talent located outside of the Scottsdale, Arizona, area where Trainual is based, without the expectation that out-of-state hires would ever relocate. Trainual gave up its office in May and instead opened a 4,000-square-foot “company hub” in Scottsdale where employees can come and go if they need a place to work. The company now has employees in states including Pennsylvania, Tennessee and New Jersey.

Trainual’s adjustments are just one example of how startups and tech companies are adapting their hiring practices with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Dropbox said in October that it would move to being “virtual first” and open “Dropbox Studios,” or spaces in cities where Dropbox currently has offices for employees to work should they choose to do so. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in May that the company would “aggressively” speed up remote hiring, CNBC reported.

According to ZipRecruiter’s Pollak, employers are being more “adventurous” with remote hiring, and it could be here to stay.

“I think that’s a major reason why a lot of this move (to remote work) will be permanent,” Pollak said. “Companies will see the benefit of expanding the talent pool is huge.”

Illustration: Dom Guzman

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Source: https://news.crunchbase.com/news/tech-hiring-in-2021/

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Exclusive: Forager Chews On $4M To Digitize Local Food Access

Its platform digitizes and streamlines the discovery of new local food vendors, onboarding and management of those relationships.

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Forager, a startup connecting local farmers with grocery stores to source local food, raised $4 million in a funding round led by a group of backers, including Duncan Saville via ICM and Coastal Enterprises.

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The Portland, Maine-based company was founded in 2015 by David Douglas Stone to develop a platform that digitizes and streamlines the discovery of new vendors, onboarding and management of those relationships.

Joe Blunda took over as CEO in 2019, while Stone is still involved as executive chairman. Local food accounts for 3 to 5 percent of what people buy from stores, and while that number shifted during the global pandemic, it is still in the single digits, Blunda told Crunchbase News

“The original problem is building a supply chain and getting it organized, which is what we are doing,” he added. “Grocers bring the cultural perception of what will resonate with the consumer, and we bring the ability to execute that.”

Blunda intends to use the new funding to expand the company’s sales outreach and product development. Grocers want to invest time in building local supply chains, but have difficulty operating them afterward, he said.

One of the problems they face is that there are so many small vendors, and grocers are trying to layer them on top of their platforms that were made for a small number of large vendors, Blunda added.

“Local food access is such a critical problem and patience is waning,” he said. “Grocers are passionate about fixing the problem, and we have some product development to do.”

The company has 10 employees and Blunda expects to add another two to five people by the end of the year. Forager operates in more than 12 states and works with more than 40 grocers and institutions, as well as 500 local suppliers.

In addition, the company has seen 4x growth since 2018, with nearly 200,000 local products sourced through its platform to date. It has also doubled both its supplier and buyer bases. Blunda expects even faster growth in the second half of 2021.

Saville, ICM’s founder and chairman, said in a written statement that local food is a “market trend that cannot be ignored and is critical to the future health of our planet.”

“I invested in Forager for two reasons, first this is a $40 billion fast growing market that is largely analogue and in desperate need for technology so it can scale and be data driven,” Saville added. “Second, the majority of people I know are interested in buying more sustainably sourced products, especially at the local level. This is an important market trend that cannot be ignored and is critical to the future health of our planet.”

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

Stay up to date with recent funding rounds, acquisitions, and more with the Crunchbase Daily.

Joe Blunda took over as CEO in 2019, while Stone is still involved as executive chairman. Local food accounts for 3 to 5 percent of what people buy from stores, and while that number shifted during the global pandemic, it is still in the single digits, Blunda told Crunchbase News

Source: https://news.crunchbase.com/news/exclusive-forager-chews-on-4m-to-digitize-local-food-access/

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Exclusive: Boston’s Aryeo Raises $3.65M Seed Round

The Boston-based startup aims to streamline content in the real estate industry, helping agents get photos and other types of content where it needs to go.

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Real estate content platform Aryeo has raised $3.65 million in seed funding, the company told Crunchbase News.

The Boston-based startup aims to streamline content in the real estate industry, helping agents get photos and other types of content where it needs to go. Hyperplane Venture Capital and Amplo led the seed round.

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Aryeo co-founders Brendan Quinlan, Matt Michalski, and Branick Weix.

If you’ve bought or sold a home before or done any late-night Zillow surfing, you know how important photos and videos are to a home listing. Photos and 3D tours are essential to selling a home, especially now, according to Aryeo CEO Branick Weix, given the COVID-19 pandemic and the social distancing guidelines that have come with it.

“It’s very similar to a Dropbox system, but it’s more tailored to the real estate industry,” Weix said in an interview.

Aryeo goes a step further than Dropbox. When content is uploaded into the system, Aryeo automatically makes promotional materials for the property, such as flyers, Facebook ads and a website.

One of Weix’s first jobs in high school was as a photographer taking photos for real estate agents. Most people don’t even realize that’s a job or industry, he added.

The idea for Aryeo came about when drones became more popular and real estate agents were interested in using drone footage to market homes. Aryeo’s co-founders Weix, Brendan Quinlan, and Matt Michalski began a drone photography business in Minnesota, but it wasn’t long before agents began asking for more content, and the team realized all of the pain points involved with getting content where it needed to be.

“How things normally work for many of these agents, they just have content emailed to them and they have to download it to their computer and then they have to go to all these sites separately,” Weix said.

Consolidating content in a “highly fragmented marketplace with multiple data sources” is a pressing need in the real estate industry, and Aryeo’s platform can universally solve the problem, Hyperplane VC managing partner Vivjan Myrto said in a statement.

The company was founded in 2019, and Aryeo processed more than 50,000 homes last year, or about 1 percent of the total annual home sales in the United States. The company works with more than 40,000 real estate agents and photographers and operates in all 50 states and countries including Canada, Belgium, Australia, and South Africa.

The company, which currently has around 15 employees, plans to use the funding to hire, especially in sales and customer support, Weix said. Most of its work so far has been with photographers, but the company is expanding and building out tools to work more with agents and brokers.

Aryeo bootstrapped for the first 1.5 years and grew through word of mouth before raising $3.6 million in outside funding.

Other investors in the company include Contrary, Shutterstock founder Jon Oringer, and WePay founder Bill Clerico.

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

Photo courtesy of Aryeo.

Stay up to date with recent funding rounds, acquisitions, and more with the Crunchbase Daily.

If you’ve bought or sold a home before or done any late-night Zillow surfing, you know how important photos and videos are to a home listing. Photos and 3D tours are essential to selling a home, especially now, according to Aryeo CEO Branick Weix, given the COVID-19 pandemic and the social distancing guidelines that have come with it.

Source: https://news.crunchbase.com/news/exclusive-bostons-aryeo-raises-3-65m-seed-round/

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Mimicking A Hospital At Home: Huma Brings In $130M Series C

Huma Therapeutics

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Huma Therapeutics is creating digital “hospitals at home” across different disease areas so that the pharmaceutical and research industries can run decentralized clinical trials.

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“Our mission is to create a world where everyone lives longer and has a fuller life,” Dan Vahdat, founder and CEO of Huma, told Crunchbase News. “By using technology, we can do better research, which enables new treatments to come to market faster through virtual clinical trials.”

To continue to do this, the company, based in London, closed on $130 million in Series C financing co-led by Leaps by Bayer and Hitachi Ventures. The firms were joined by Samsung Next, Sony Innovation Fund, Unilever Ventures and HAT Technology & Innovation Fund, as well as from individual investors, including Nikesh Arora and Michael Diekmann.

In addition, the company received a further commitment of $70 million in equity funding that can be exercised at a later date. It brings the total funding raised to more than $200 million since Huma was founded in 2011, Vahdat said. Goldman Sachs acted as lead placement agent, while HSBC Bank and Nomura acted as joint placement agents.

Huma’s digital hospital at home was co-created with clinicians and independently shown to almost double clinical capacity, reduce hospital readmissions by over a third, and has patient adherence levels of over 90 percent, Vahdat said. The service supports governments’ pandemic responses on a not-for-profit basis and is now used for a range of patients including those going through knee- and hip-replacement surgery.

Huma app

The company works with four national governments, including England’s NHS, Wales, Germany and United Arab Emirates. The new funding was driven by its plan to go after additional government contracts and 10-year strategic partnerships with clinical research organizations, health care providers, payers, research organizations and technology companies. However, the company didn’t need the money — Huma still had most of its $25 million Series B funding in the bank, Vahdat said.

“We wanted to bring together strategic investors in the areas and geographies where we want to expand,” he said. “We ended up having more interest, but put certain conditions on the $70 million equity for the investors to achieve so that they would help us get where we need to be. For us, we are selective with partners, and it is most important what we can do with the company, but also how their reach can accelerate the impact for patients.”

Over the past few years, Huma grew 3x, Vahdat said. The new investment will be invested in growth in new markets, including the U.S., Asia and the Middle East. In the last year, Huma was able to build a solid team, and plans to double and triple down in this market. It will also work on R&D with technology aimed at collecting patient data in real-time to make it possible for new insights, predictive care and to make sure the right patients are prioritized, he added.

Juergen Eckhardt, head of Leaps by Bayer, said in a written statement that Huma’s mission to improve health outcomes will be accelerated by those and future new partnerships.

“Aligned with the vision of Leaps by Bayer, Huma’s expertise and technology will help drive a global paradigm shift towards prevention and care and may boost research efforts using data and digital technology,” Eckhardt added. “We invest into the most disruptive technologies of our time that have the potential to change the world for the better. As an early investor into Huma we know how perfectly the company fits into that frame as one of the leading digital innovators in health care and life sciences.”

Feature photo of Huma’s Dan Vahdat and inset screenshot courtesy of Huma.
Blogroll illustration: Dom Guzman

Stay up to date with recent funding rounds, acquisitions, and more with the Crunchbase Daily.

In addition, the company received a further commitment of $70 million in equity funding that can be exercised at a later date. It brings the total funding raised to more than $200 million since Huma was founded in 2011, Vahdat said. Goldman Sachs acted as lead placement agent, while HSBC Bank and Nomura acted as joint placement agents.

Source: https://news.crunchbase.com/news/mimicking-a-hospital-at-home-huma-brings-in-130m-series-c/

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