As a career technologist who has led Engineering teams and organizations - both locally and worldwide - for the last 20+ years, I was really excited to join CyberCube to build a team in Tallinn, Estonia and create innovative products for the cyber insurance market.
Building a good team of professionals is always tough. Building a team from the ground up has its own set of challenges because you are a new kid on the block and nobody knows you.
So the first thing to do is to draw the attention of the IT community. But just obtaining visibility will have short-lived effect unless the mission has key ingredients which will appeal to the software development community. Answers to the following questions are material to getting the right talent:
- What are the market challenges and problems we want to address?
- What is the technology stack?
- What are the long term plans for the products and the teams?
It is also very important to have a reputable and trusted name on your side to rebut the conscious and subconscious fears of instability and being a short-term player.
At CyberCube we're extremely fortunate to have had all pieces of this puzzle put together - cyber insurance is a new and growing industry and we possess a modern technology stack to enable fast-paced product development. We also have prominent individuals on the company's Board of Directors, who are not only inspiring speakers and knowledgeable domain experts but they are also willing to support the broader team in its mission to deliver the world’s leading cyber risk analytics.
Now that the attention of the community has been established, the next step is to hire the core team of solid and experienced engineers who will provide the center of gravity that allows adding even more talented engineers to the team. Having the core team is essential because not only will they help to recruit new team members through their network of friends and acquaintances, but they will also kick-start the acquisition of the domain, product and technology knowledge. And that will provide a tremendous boost towards building new products and training new team members who will be joining later.
To sum things up, one of the ways to build a robust team in a new location when the company is trying to expand its engineering presence is to:
- Think through and execute on visibility and promotion aspects that will appeal to the target audience of software engineers;
- Build the core team which will enable production and scaling up;
- Maintain a unified culture with a strong emphasis on the company's core values.
The key thing to remember is that all of the steps above will likely fail if there are gaps in dedication, passion and initiative coming from those around you helping with recruitment, interviews and the day-to-day operations of the business.
Over the last year and a half at CyberCube, we have built a team of 12 engineers in Tallinn using these principles and developed new market-leading products like Broking Manager that advances the understanding and quantification of cyber risk for insurance brokers. I am proud of the team that has made such an impact on the business and look forward to advancing CyberCube’s product development efforts as we grow further.