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Traditional employment models are not flexible enough to meet the needs of the most sought-after executives. These seasoned practitioners want options and career development outside of traditional career development. Nolan Church (former Chief People Officer at Carta) and Greg White (former Head of DevOps at Carta) recognized the unmet needs of this highly skilled and in-demand group and founded Continuum in August 2020 as a solution. Continuum is a split executive marketplace to connect seasoned industry professionals with high-growth, venture capital-backed startups. The Salt Lake City, Utah-based startup raised a $12 million Series A round led by Pelion Ventures, with participation from Uncork Capital, Day One Ventures and angel investors including (but not including limit) Blake Murray, Vivek Sodera, Matt Mickiewicz, Sander Daniels and Joseph Woodbury.

Continuum has about fifteen team members. The startup will use the raised Series A funds to invest in product development, with the aim of creating an “executive showcase”. Continuums’ competitors are established, legacy executive search firms. Continuum CEO Church says, “We want to help executives manage their business and automate their entire back office. Eventually, startups will be able to click on an executive, book time with them, and start working with them almost immediately.

Frederick Daso: When did you first notice the demand for seasoned executives doing work or consulting assignments instead of a traditional job?

Nolan Church: I realized there was a gap in the market when I was Chief People Officer at Carta. I wanted access to consulting/advisory/angel investing opportunities, but I didn’t have time to sell myself to startups or network with VCs.

I started wondering if other non-CEO executives were having the same problem. It turns out that after talking to over 1000 executives, every executive we spoke to wants a split deal flow. These executives aren’t typically hyperactive on social media, want their work to speak for itself, and need software to help them manage their back office and operations.

Daso: What are the critical issues with traditional employment models (eg, W-2 employees) in today’s dynamic, inflationary economy?

Church: Traditional executive recruiting is expensive (recruiters charge $100,000-$150,000+), slow (searches typically take 6-9 months+), and has a low success rate (most executives leave within 18 months following their start date). It was a constant pain for me as a business operator and executive looking for my next role.

Working with a split executive is cheaper, immediate, and gives companies and executives the chance to test each other before committing to a full-time relationship.

Daso: Given the current poor performance of stock markets and companies laying off workers, how will Continuum play a role in ensuring that layoffs are done fairly and empathically with the companies it chooses to work with? associate?

Church: It is extremely important for companies to optimize for humanity rather than efficiency. Layoffs are terrible, but there is a way to do it where it can boost a company’s culture, morale, and reputation.

We are launching our layoff product to help startups during this difficult time. For tech companies considering redundancy, Continuum is offering a free hour of counseling with an HR manager who has steered them before. For leadership teams that need more support, Continuum offers a human resources manager to develop a communications plan, perform a DEI impact analysis to ensure underrepresented groups are not not disproportionately affected and to be available for general support.

Daso: How did Continuum increase supply and demand in its split frames market 20x?

Church: Executive acquisition (supply) grew organically through word of mouth. It’s the simplest thing we can do. When we ask executives if they are interested in consulting, consulting, or angel investing, it immediately piques their interest. They get more excited when we tell them that Continuum gives them access to the next generation of upcoming startups, manages their back office, and gives them a showcase to generate new business.

Executives love the idea of ​​not being owned by one company. They are able to work with multiple startups simultaneously and have the flexibility to design their lives as they see fit.

On the demand side, startups often lack in-house expertise when problems arise and only have the ability to launch a time-consuming and expensive executive search. Continuum gives these startups on-demand access to top talent who can plug in at every stage/size to solve problems immediately. Sometimes they work with Continuum executives while simultaneously searching for full-time employees. Many of our clients tell us that it’s a no-brainer to work with split frames.

Daso: What behaviors have you observed in Continuum’s market that necessitate future product development with his company’s freshly raised Series A funding?

Church: There are three types of executive personalities on Continuum. The first is the Curious Executive, who now has a full-time job, joined Continuum to consult and advise for 4-5 hours a week. They often become our second (fractional full-time) executive persona when they fall in love with the job due to the flexibility of investing their expertise in a few different startups. Finally, some executives go from part-time to full-time, essentially trying before they buy.

No matter where these leaders are on the continuum, they need a back office to support their consulting, advisory, and angel investing activities. We are deploying our Series A capital to fully automate the executive back office, build the executive storefront, and give companies a portal to quickly tap into world-class executive talent.

Daso: How can Continuum’s coaching program accelerate the growth and development of future world-class executives outside of their traditional roles?

Church: The most effective form of learning is to do the job while learning from someone in similar shoes, who has successfully solved the problem you are tackling and can help you see around corners. While it’s important to have mentors within a company, having a coach outside of your organization is also valuable in helping you see issues from different perspectives, achieve your goals, and learn first-hand. .