Why I started Syndesus

Since I moved to San Francisco in 1997, I’ve worked at seven startups and tech companies. Along the way I figured out a few things:

  • I love technology and innovation
  • I always cheer on the upstart that takes on the more established player or the established way of doing things
  • I also figured out that I’m a good listener and
  • I love a challenge.


One of the biggest challenges that I continually hear about is how difficult it is to acquire engineering talent. This challenge exists in San Francisco, Silicon Valley, New York, and Boston. The reasons are varied: Broken immigration policy in the US, aggressive hiring behavior and over the top salaries paid by Facebook, Google, and Twitter, poaching from well funded startups, etc.


The dearth of engineering talent has forced startups to look outside their hometowns and outsource core engineering work to developers in India, China, Pakistan, Ukraine, Russia, and across Eastern Europe.


I don’t think outsourcing core engineering roles works for startups. I’ve joined startups over the years because I believed in their mission, because they had an awesome culture and team, and because I believed my skills could make a difference.   I was paid fairly, and I had stock options. The outsourced model takes one of the most critical roles at a startup (the engineers building the product) and opens it up to the lowest bidder in a far away country.   The result:   Employee turnover/churn, low quality work, and misunderstandings due to cultural and language differences.


Why else does the outsourced model fail? Because outsourced engineers are not part of your team, are not bought into your culture, don’t visit the home office, and don’t have stock options.


I created a new model with Syndesus to combat the inefficiencies of outsourcing. Syndesus partners with US startups to build remote engineering teams in Canada. We recruit, onboard, handle cross border HR/payroll, and provide office space.


These engineers are not outsourced, they are part of the startup’s engineering team – they interview, select the candidate, determine compensation, stock options, benefits, and manage the work while Syndesus handles the back office tasks. We can help you grow a talented remote team quickly without the headaches of outsourcing.


Having lived in Canada for 5 years and spent time in venture capital and the startup community, I have a good understanding of the benefits Canada has to offer. And I’ve come to understand how Canada is different from the US and different from the countries listed above. I realized that the ideal solution to the engineer shortage in the US lies north of the border.


Syndesus solves 2 problems for 2 different groups of people:


1) Shortage of engineers at US startups.


Syndesus finds top tier engineers in Canada for US startups.   No more 8 hour or 13.5 hour time differences. No more suffering thru language barriers or cultural barriers.   Canada offers the benefits of world class universities (i.e. University of Waterloo and University of Toronto), same language, same culture, same startup mentality, and similar time zones as the US.


2)   Opportunities for Canadian engineers


Syndesus facilitates the ability for Canadian engineers to work remotely for tech startups in the US.   The US companies that hire these engineers are comfortable with remote software development and have the processes in place to make it work efficiently.   Now you can work for some of the most exciting startups in the world without having to leave you hometown.


Alternately, for those engineers who are looking for the opportunity to move to San Francisco or Silicon Valley and work with the best engineers in the world at an exciting startup, Syndesus can find you the US startup that is open to relocating you to the US and arranging for a TN Visa.


If you are at a US startup that is seeking engineers, or if you are an engineer seeking the opportunity to work for a US startup, please feel free to contact me at marc@syndesus or connect@syndesus.com.

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