To serve its rapid expansion as an on-demand transportation service for New York City and beyond, Via has partnered with Underdog.io to build a promising talent pipeline. Underdog.io’s flexibility has enabled the company to foster organic relationships with candidates over time, converting seven into full-time hires within a year. We connected with Monica Ceragioli, Via’s Business Operations Principal, to discuss the company’s talent needs and their work with Underdog.io.
The hiring challenge
Via has scaled rapidly over the past few years, growing from a handful of staff members in 2013 to a community of about 90 employees. Around 40 are based out of New York, another 40 are in Tel Aviv focused on product management and R&D, and several are in Chicago.
As the company has expanded its service and entered new markets, its hiring needs have exploded. It now faces the task of keeping pace with ambitious staffing goals—while finding exceptional high-fit candidates and maintaining its relational and long-term approach to recruitment.
“We’ve been extremely picky with our hiring—we really want to bring on people who are outstanding and a great fit for us—in skill set and personality,” said Ceragioli. “The challenges we’re trying to solve are very difficult. We’re looking for extremely smart, motivated optimists excited to work on big projects—flexible thinkers who understand the realities of a startup. We need people who can take on both day-to-day tasks and longer forward-thinking strategy projects. And we look for enthusiasm and positivity, as core elements of our internal culture.”
Partnership and impact
Via has been partnering with Underdog.io for the 18 months, originally aiming to bolster its hiring efforts after it closed its Series A funding round. Prior to working with Underdog.io, Via used a mix of job boards, LinkedIn, and employees’ networks to recruit.
Ceragioli pointed to both the strength of the candidates and the relationship-building process that the platform facilitates as reasons for Via’s continued use of Underdog.io. “The value-add is finding people who are both looking for new opportunities and interested in startups – it’s a specific personality and skill set. All the vetting Underdog.io does creates an interesting pool of people,” she said. On the recruitment process, she added, “We try to have a very human recruiting process. At the end of the day, a match needs to happen on both sides.”
Regarding what makes Underdog.io stand out among competitors, Ceragioli pointed to the platform’s flexibility, noting that it enables the recruitment process to proceed organically. She noted that it’s exciting to get a pool of high-quality candidates each week and to take an individualized approach to outreach and relationship building. “The interesting conversations and connections with no strings attached create a fantastic sense of freedom on both our side and the candidate side. There’s no middleman or forced process – just an open dialogue.”
“The interesting conversations and connections with no strings attached create a fantastic sense of freedom on both our side and the candidate side. There’s no middleman or forced process – just an open dialogue.” This flexibility aligns with Via’s hiring philosophy, striking a balance between being proactive and reactive. “If we find someone great, we create a position for them, and [for open roles] we wait and find the right person,” Ceragioli said.
Via has hired seven candidates through Underdog.io across a range of functions for its NY office—from a senior operations leader to a community manager. Team members hired via Underdog.io have made a mark at Via. Two Underdog.io-hired candidates on their operations team have been building out major new systems, and a recently-hired recruiter has facilitated rapid staffing growth.