Nuvalence hired 50 people in the first quarter of 2022. That latest explosion came on top of continual growth since the software development company was founded in 2018.
The company started with six people – the three founders and three early employees – and now has more than 170 people.
“Come mid-summer of 2020, it was full steam ahead, and we started hiring like crazy,” said Sinclair Schuller, co-founder of Nuvalence. “We killed our hiring pipeline entirely; we had to rebuild it. We had to hire a ton of people, relative to where we were, very quickly. Clients were asking us for more help than we knew how to handle.”
The Troy-based company is a contract-based firm that designs platforms and products for mostly private companies, as well as some public organizations and a few startups. The company is focused on helping large, established companies – such as those in auto, pharma, or financial services – that are working to adopt new software and make a modern technological shift.
The company wasn’t set up with specific hiring targets in mind, but Schuller expects to grow the employee base to about 250-300 in the next year. He says hiring is more intentional for now, based on specific needs of clients rather than a need for general growth, as there’s talk of a possible recession.
“The bigger the team, the more challenging, higher impact projects we can take on. The bigger the team, the larger each individual impactful project can be,” he said.
Talent with specific skills
Early conversations revolved around the fact that the Nuvalence founders – Schuller, Abraham Sultan and Rakesh Malhotra – still had access to a strong network of talent, and it was just a matter of figuring out where to apply them.
Schuller said the significant growth has been possible because of the company’s effort to hire people with very specific skills through a thorough hiring process.
Traditional consultants tend to come from consulting backgrounds. Because of Nuvalence’s specific type of work, the company has instead focused on hiring software engineers and product managers with commercial software engineering experience.
“That sensibility has become key to our success,” Schuller said.
“Most organizations don’t really consider the importance of having staff that come from commercial software engineering backgrounds. They’ll hire people who are developers, but not necessarily that worked at a product company delivering products to market. That distinction is massively important in how successful a consulting organization can be today.”
Looking beyond Albany
Talent is the top expense in this business, Schuller said. More than any other factor, like geography, Nuvalence is focused on hiring the best talent it can find, he said.
“If you find great people and get out of their way, magic happens,” he said.
That’s why the company recently opened an office in Toronto and employs people throughout Canada. And, the company started hiring people in Colombia, South America. Sultan, from Venezuela, was familiar with the talent in that area. All employees serve U.S. clients. There are no clients outside of the U.S. yet.
“There’s a lot of demand for great talent, period,” Schuller said. “You can either say we’re going to focus on one region … and not expand beyond it, or you can start attracting great talent anywhere that you can. We have to pick and choose, so we chose Colombia to start because of the talent pool there.”
There are more than 62,000 software developers in Colombia.
Nuvalence has about 55 people based on the second floor of the Troy Innovation Garage. The company is considering moving into a new office in the region, depending on how many people choose to work in the office regularly.
In any case, Schuller plans to stay in the Capital Region.
“The amount of great talent here is actually very high,” he said.
Nuvalence has no sales team. The founders are responsible for securing new contracts. Despite how many people they hire, Schuller said the founders will continue working alongside them, sometimes on development projects. The first reason is because he doesn’t want the culture to be negatively affected.
And, reason No. 2: “I love getting my hands dirty. All of us founders do. The entire executive team does,” he said. “We’re a lead-from-the-front company — don’t sit behind a desk telling people what to do; roll up your sleeves and help them.”