I-Group HotBank Unleashes a Monster –

BOSTON – Along the lines of venture capital firms providing their portfolio companies with access to strategic relationships, I-Group HotBank NE established a strategic relationship with Monster.com in mid-November.

“If you hire from Monster your cost of acquisition is significantly lower than with an executive recruiter,” said Jennifer Chrisler, director of operations at the New England incubation affiliate of Softbank Corp.

Chrisler said that recruiting costs are significant for start-ups. For example, she said a standard headhunter might charge 33% of the annual salary to place an executive earning in the low-six-figures.

Chrisler estimated that Monster might charge closer to 4% of the annual salary for the same placement.

Michael Wishnow, director of new business at Monster.com, said one of his sales initiatives is focused on start-up companies and emerging markets, and he has established a pricing program called Monster VentureClub specifically for organizations like I-Group.

“Seed and early-stage companies have the most need for these services,” Wishnow said, adding that these firms have fewer resources and typically less experience recruiting people.

Wishnow said Monster is interested in establishing relationships with young companies and benefiting from their increased staffing needs as they grow.

Wishnow compared the VentureClub program to Costco Wholesale Corp., a warehouse wholesaler that gives retail customers access to wholesale prices in return for club membership fees.

Chrisler said I-Group is using the firm’s aggregate buying power to get the portfolio companies access to Monster’s services at lower rates than they would get if they approached the company individually.

She said the agreement gives the portfolio companies full access to search the database of resumes and entitled them to reduced rates on job postings. Chrisler said each portfolio company could also establish up to ten sets of search criteria that would automatically email them matching resumes.

I-Group currently supports six portfolio companies: ClubTools Inc., Concentric Visions, myEZsale.com, Lobby7 Inc., Here2fix.com and iDL Systems Inc., which all have between 10 and 20 employees according to Chrisler. She says the companies plan to grow to up to 60 by the end of 2001.

Chrisler said the firm still needs the services of traditional executive recruiters, because headhunters find people who are not actively looking for new jobs.

Chrisler said Monster will help portfolio companies recruit all types of employees, and both she and Wishnow thought Monster would be most useful for filling technical positions. Chrisler said Monster might also be good at recruiting for marketing and business development positions.

VC firms may still be relying on headhunters and personal contacts to fill their top positions, but the online resume clearinghouses are trying to eat into that market too. Wishnow said Monster recently rolled out Chief Monster, a program that screens candidates for executive level positions.

I-Group is not the only group Wishnow is targeting with his new initiative. He says he has established a relationship with CMGI Inc. and is negotiating with other firms.

I-Group also offers other services through strategic relationships to its portfolio companies. Chrisler mentioned relationships with Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, ExecuStaff and HavardNet.

Charles R. Fellers can be contacted at