We are excited to announce that Lauren Ipsen has joined Decibel as our talent partner. Lauren was one of the top performing executive recruiters at Daversa Partners and has worked with several dozen high growth startups in Silicon Valley including Airbnb, Canva, Discord, Snap, and Twitter. She most recently was a talent partner at General Catalyst where she focused on scaling their talent practice for seed stage companies. She has placed over one hundred product and engineering leaders throughout her career and has a passion for helping technical founders at the earliest stage. In her new role at Decibel, she will be focusing on helping pre-product market fit companies find rising stars for every critical role. Lauren shares more about her background and vision for the next phase of Decibel in our Q&A:
I grew up in Clayton, California, which is a small town on the outskirts of Silicon Valley with a small rural population. My parents owned one of the only restaurants in the community, Skipolini’s, a pizza restaurant named after my grandfather Skip. As a young child, I went to elementary school by day and then would run to the restaurant and help my parents at night. Anyone that has worked in food service will tell you that it is one of the most difficult jobs, but also one of the best places to learn about people. Our restaurant was the central hub of our community and we got to know everyone personally. If it was your birthday, we wanted to make sure it was your best ever. If you were having a bad day, we tried to make it better. No matter who walked in the door we went above and beyond to make sure everyone had a great experience and over time built a loyal following around the world (even Steph Curry’s family still visits us when in the neighborhood). My parents now have 10 restaurants throughout the Bay Area and I have always admired their drive and success as entrepreneurs.
Our family was always competitive in sports - my brother was an Olympic diver and I was recruited to play golf at the collegiate level. When you compete at an elite level you are naturally drawn to people who challenge you to think about the world differently, and I was grateful to have met Paul Daversa soon after graduating from college. Paul founded Daversa Partners, one of the most well known executive search firms in Silicon Valley, and established himself as one of the greatest recruiters in our industry. He convinced me that my graduation path of starting a career in traditional media would not be as fulfilling as helping the next generation of media platforms like Snap, Twitter, Reddit, and Discord scale successfully. I didn’t really understand what it meant to build a career in recruiting but will always remember Paul’s wise words: “ideas are nothing without great people.” These words changed my life and the lives of many founders I have since served, and I have been forever grateful to be mentored by him and my extended family at Daversa.
There are many counter intuitive skills required to be a successful recruiter. Many recruiters are great at selling, but more importantly we are great listeners who are trained to be acutely aware and observant. There is an art to acting with urgency but leading with empathy and patience. There are days where you want to shake a founder and convince them to make a game changing hire. There are days when you have to tell everyone in a search that their top candidate is not the right person, and you have to trust your intuition to make those types of calls. You can only do these things with confidence if you take the time to deeply understand what is unique about each business and each candidate. Finally, searches may be measured in weeks but cultivating relationships with great people often takes years to develop. Whether I have been recruiting a CEO from a Fortune 50 company, or nurturing engineering talent for an emerging AI startup, my approach is always to take a long term view. There are no shortcuts to building trust in any relationship.
Our goal at Decibel is to be the best partner for technical founders at the earliest stage, and we want to help them find the essential, game-changing talent that will accelerate their growth. I firmly believe that the right person in the right role can be the catalyst that transforms a company's trajectory, and the best recruiter will be one who can identify those force multipliers for founders. Our goal will be to create what we call “talent density” for startups building developer platforms, data and AI engineering, and cybersecurity products, and cultivate a unique network of rising stars for every critical role needed at the Seed and Series A stages. Our areas of focus in technical software are the fastest growing sectors in recruiting and are rapidly changing due to the major shifts in AI innovation. Our goal is to be a hub for this new community, and to continue to attract those that are energized by the chaos. I’m excited to start building and if you want to join our network, please find me on LinkedIn and let’s connect!