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Max Ong Zong Bao
Max Ong Zong Bao

Posted on • Originally published at

How to Attract a Developer to Your Startup?


When you first start to create a startup for the first time in Singapore as a founder or co-founder. You will have a hard problem with hiring & attracting a developer. Who might be interested in your startup. This becomes more difficult as you are competing in a talent crunched Singapore.

From FAANG companies, Financial Institutions like DBS & Citi, System Integrators for the government like NCS to Crimsonlogic to MNC that are setting up engineering departments like Revolut, Transferwise, Twitter. You also have famous startups within the startup ecosystem like 99 Co, PolicyPal, Carousell, Shopee, Shopback for talents.

Given the amount of choice you have in Singapore as a developer, it's really no wonder that 1 in 4 university graduates join startups. I hope to share what I know to help you to attract a developer as one of your first 10 employees in the startup.

What is Your Vision & Problem You are Trying To Solve?

When you are looking in hiring a developer. Startups should focus internally on what are the vision and problem you are trying to solve as a startup.

Sure having a deep tech startup will be useful to attract the talent due to funding for deep tech startups is a priority in Singapore. Which attracts developers who are interested in developing cutting edge technologies.

If you are not one of them, I would suggest that you should look at the values or benefits. Benefits like mentoring, subsidising training programs, allowing time off for learning in conference or courses, remote work, family-friendly, liberal annual leaves like 14 - 21 days.

Form Tours of Duty with Them

As an employer, you should treat them that they may leave your startup one day to pursue other opportunities.

Therefore I would suggest that you should look at the motivations, dreams or career aspirations of the developer. To help craft a tour of duty of 2 years - 3 years within your startup to support and help them in reaching those dreams or aspirations.

Along with a market rate salary on the skills, you will require for your startup. I would suggest that you head to Jobtech to get a rough sense of the market rate for a developer without going through a recruiter.

Focus on the Finding Undiscovered Talent Through Your Network

This is a huge pet peeve of mine. I believe one should hire a developer through their own personal network or through friends who are developers themselves if you are not one of them.

Having been one of the organising team or executive team for JuniorDevSG and Python User Group Singapore for a while now. Time and effort are saved by your startup by just hosting a developer interest group in your office or sponsoring food per month for these developer communities. Yes, I'm serious since you are finding a self-filtering and untapped market in working with developer communities in Singapore.

If you are having problems in searching for these developer communities. or Engineers.SG is a great place to find them through watching their talks or developer community that you would like to reach out.


I hope it is useful for you as a founder or co-founder who is looking to hire a developer for your own startup. Remember that you should provide a compelling reason for them to join you. Giving a market rate salary is a good start. You are paying for the cost and not the price for it if you are seeking a local developer.

On yeah the last thing on what you should not do is giving false promises or asking those developers to work for free. I had heard of stories on blockchain startup giving them a lower salary with cryptocurrency tokens that are made by them to pay the difference in salary.

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The original post was on How to Attract a Developer to Your Startup? - Reading Time: 4 Mins and cover image by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash


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