November 4, 2015 – Jennifer Holmstrom, a leader on Facebook’s internal executive search team, has joined Highland Capital Partners as a talent partner. She will lead the firm’s talent program in Silicon Valley, focusing on helping portfolio companies recruit, retain, and develop key managers and employees. Ms. Holmstrom will be based in Highland’s Palo Alto office.
The early stage venture capital firm is among the pioneers in the VC world having a long time focus on talent. Craig Driscoll, a talent partner based in Highland Capital’s Cambridge office, was hired in 2005. He will work in concert with Ms. Holmstrom to further enhance the firm’s national talent network.
Ms. Holmstrom’s history and responsibilities at Facebook have enabled her to develop a deep network of relationships across the Valley. As the social network grew, she built out the engineering executive search team in addition to hiring technical leaders across Facebook. She also closely collaborated with the founders of Instagram and Oculus to strengthen each group’s core leadership and management functions.
“Jen’s career has been focused on team building in fast growing companies. In addition to years of experience, she has a uniquely deep network that spans both technical and product leaders in the Valley. She has longstanding relationships which further strengthen our ability to connect with talent from the most important technology companies in the world,” said partner Manish Patel, who joined Highland from Google.
Before Facebook, Ms. Holmstrom was a director at San Francisco-based Riviera Partners, an executive search firm focused on recruiting engineering, product and marketing leadership for fast growing venture-backed technology companies. Before that, she was a senior associate at Schweichler Price Mullarkey & Barry (SPMB), a San Francisco-based technology and energy focused search firm.
“Attracting the best talent is imperative for venture-backed startups,” said Ms. Holmstrom. “Different types of skills are required at different stages of growth. I’m focused on helping our portfolio companies scale while cultivating our national talent network.”
Highland Capital Partners invests in early stage and select growth opportunities in enterprise and consumer technology. The firm, founded in 1988, has $3 billion under management and is currently investing its ninth fund, which has $400 million under management. In total, 44 Highland Capital-backed companies have gone public and 102 have been acquired. Current portfolio companies include VMTurbo, Jaunt, Enjoy, Shift, Scopely, ThredUp and Gigamon.
In addition to the venture capital sector, private equity is now considered one of the fastest growing practice segments in the executive recruiting industry, with an expanding number of boutique recruiting firms now servicing it coast to coast.
But filling talent pipelines is getting so difficult that a number of private equity firms have simply decided to bring the senior staffing function in-house, much like Highland Capital Partners is now doing. Global Equity Partners Plc launched Kingsman James, full fledged executive search firm this summer. The firm is already delivering a range of executive recruiting capabilities and leadership solutions services to its private equity parent. “We now offer an in-house service to find, qualify and appoint those C-level people crucial to a company’s development,” said Global Equity’s chief Peter Smith.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief, Hunt Scanlon Media