February 1, 2023
August 21, 2023

Hiring Appetite: How Biotech Startups Attract Talent

Hiring Appetite: How Biotech Startups Attract Talent

Attracting top talent is crucial for any startup, and biotech startups are no exception. In the competitive landscape of biotech, it's essential for founders to have a clear and effective hiring strategy in place to build a team that can drive innovation and growth.

But how exactly do biotech startups attract the best talent?

In startups the old industry meets with the new one, this requires a change of mindset for talent coming on board and creative ways for founders to build teams and culture. 

At our first  in-person event of the year, Talking Talent Berlin, we invited 4 FoodTech startups to share their hiring strategies and philosophy: Mushlabs, Cambrium, MicroHarvest and Formo.

Did you miss the event? Not to worry!
You can keep reading if you want to learn how to build a startup team.

Now let’s jump in, shall we? 

How to attract talent for your startup?

A lot of talent attraction is due to active marketing, which Cambrium has been doing through LinkedIn, as well as events like the Talking Talent Berlin, which brought in a lot of talent for various positions within the company.

Furthermore, Cambrium has been very active in reaching out to several candidates who they identify as being well-fitted and enticing them to join the company. Finally, the have been collaborating with a rather large network of investors who have invested in them, as well as their network.

As you can see, Cambrium has made an effort to invest time and effort different channels for talent attraction.

The truth is that if you're a technology company, you'll need to hire a lot of students and scientists.

“The only way to drive innovation as a startup is by having an awesome team.”
Katelijne Bekers - Co-Founder/CEO at MicroHarvest. 

People who want to work for a startup, usually want to make an impact, so you can emphasise that in your job description and marketing.

Also, when they start working, you can talk about company development and ask them: 

= Where do you want to make an impact?
= Where do you see opportunities?
= What is important to you?  

It is also critical to leverage your network, referrals and connections can play a huge part in attracting the right talent. A lot of talent attraction is on LinkedIn, and having your employees as your best influencers also helps a lot.

It was a major challenge for Mushlabs to incorporate that culture.

"When a company grows from 20 to 50 individuals and communication begins to break down, we work on several formats that we use on a regular basis to keep communication moving."
Philip Tigges, CFO at Mushlabs

How do you make employees influencers?

The most important thing is that people are satisfied with where they work. It's all about making an impact.

What is the biggest challenge you're facing in attracting talent? 
"For us, we were lucky to have a great talent flow, so the biggest challenge was to maintain our culture, to make sure we have appropriate processes and policies in place."
Roman Plewka, COO/CFO at Formo.

How do you design your hiring process to be inclusive? 

At Cambrium everyone who is employed will receive a two-day on-site interaction with candidates. Essentially, everyone gets to interact while working on a project. There will be something similar to what they will do, but it will not be business relevant at first. Then they have two days to interact with the other teams with whom they would be working.

The startup designed this project to have as much interaction as possible so that the people with whom they interact become part of their community. After two days, they can determine whether the person will fit into their culture and at the same time it allows the company to sell their culture to the candidate.

They recently started inter-sourcing minority candidates at Formo to provide them with a more accurate reflection of their total funnel. The company also does training with their hiring managers on how to include minority candidates, as well as sets a diversity and inclusion rule that is recognised by employees.

At MicroHarvest it all starts with the job description, especially when it comes to male and female candidates. As a result, you must be aware of how you write your job description and consider how inclusive it should be.

One thing we MicroHarvest does for diversity is that they don't look at diplomats or whether the candidate went to Harvard - they look at experience and how the candidate manage's their projects.

"Make your interview as diverse as possible. We make sure interviewers come from different teams, have different nationalities, and have female representation from both sides."
Final tip from Philip Tigges, CFO at Mushlabs


As you may notice, one common thread among the speakers was the importance of cultural fit. All of them emphasized the importance of making sure that candidates would fit in with the company culture and values. To do this, they all used a variety of techniques, such as team projects, face-to-face interactions, and diverse interview panels.

But perhaps the most important takeaway from the event is the emphasis on the role of the team in driving innovation. This highlights the importance of not only hiring the right people, but also fostering a culture of collaboration, curiosity, and inclusivity. By following these strategies, biotech startups can build a team.

The hiring strategies shared by these four FoodTech startups are effective hiring strategies.

While your startup culture may be different from theirs, you can still use what they shared to build your own team.

If you need to build or improve your talent infrastructure, Acelr8 is here to help you. You can contact us here.

Thank you!

Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Your inhouse recruiter on demand

Have an urgent hiring need, but lack the time to find and train recruiters? Let ACELR8 be your recruiting power!

Looking to hire

Hire your executive through our community

Taking the black magic out of executive search.

Looking to hire

Hiring Appetite: How Biotech Startups Attract Talent