Life today is filled with autonomous vehicles, virtual assistants, and advanced robotics. Artificial intelligence (AI) is changing the world, and Upstart is leveraging this new tool to revolutionize lending and increase consumers’ access to affordable credit. As vice president of recruiting, Jamie Moore applies an innovative philosophy to help Upstart onboard the right talent to take the business into the future.
Ex-Googlers started the company in 2012 and quickly built an AI-backed lending marketplace that pairs banks with borrowers. They started small, pursued aggressive growth, and closed an initial public offering in 2020. “Upstart is an absolute rocket ship. Software engineering, machine learning, and products may lead the way, but it all rises or falls with people,” says Moore, who joined in 2019 to help the company execute its long-term strategies.
California-native Moore has the right background of demonstrated experience building teams at high-growth start-ups to lead Upstart’s recruiting strategy. After building a solid foundation as a technical recruiter at Aerotek, Moore spent a number of years at Google during an important era of fast change.
He managed all staffing operations in Android, Chrome, Apps, and Social product areas and hired more than two hundred sourcers and recruiters while advising leaders on fulfilling their objectives. Moore brought in many of the world’s top software engineers and then moved into a sourcing account manager position to act as a liaison between the product leaders and executives charged with successfully staffing to meet business goals.
As Moore consulted and built roadmaps for executives to meet their goals, he learned how to harness the power of analytics within the Google system. In the process, his teams uncovered some problems with high-volume hiring.
When two of Moore’s colleagues started cybersecurity firm Shape Security in 2014, Moore joined them as director of recruiting. The move took him from the nirvana of Google to a one-room office filled with folding tables and laptops. He spent a year building a team of five recruiters and two sourcers who helped him onboard niche talent and open offices in London, Utah, and Ukraine.
Shape Security raised over $90 million in venture capital as Moore brought in the right workforce to help it mature and attract investors. In early 2020, F5 acquired Shape for $1 billion.
Today, Upstart is on a similar path, and Moore has spent the past three years helping the company’s leaders scale the operation while prioritizing high-quality candidate placement. “We’ve made recruiting a key function of the business,” he says. “Talent acquisition is more than a routine administrative arm. We have to be smart about bringing in the right people who will set us apart and help us do something special.”
Although Moore needs to attract and onboard many people in a hyper-growth phase, he refuses to sacrifice quality. A strong team keeps him accountable. “I’m not a natural recruiter,” Moore jokes. “So I make it a priority hire the best ones in the world.”
He’s built out Upstart’s sourcing division from seven to fifty-one people and expects to hit sixty-five by the end of the year. Two dozen Golden Hive staffing professionals complement their efforts. Together, Moore’s staff has taken Upstart from two hundred to two thousand employees.
“Multiple alignment factors go into developing a valuable RPO [recruitment process outsourcing] engagement,” says Kelly Guitilla, president of Golden Hive. “Strong and collaborative leadership is of the utmost importance for long term relationship success. Jamie’s dynamic leadership style and problem-solving approach is a driving force for the health of our partnership.”
A continuous focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) helps Upstart stay on the leading edge of tech and is especially important to fulfilling its mission. Upstart’s AI lending platform unlocks credit options for many people without access to affordable credit, and many come from under-represented communities. In 2020, Upstart’s model approved 30 percent more Black borrowers at interest rates that are 11 percent lower than traditional models and approved 27.2 percent more Hispanic borrowers at interest rates that are 10.5 percent lower than traditional models.
Moore is putting steps in place to drive sustainable results related to DEI. “I have zero interest in pursuing diversity for the optics,” he says. “We do it because diverse companies create strong products, and I want this company to do the right thing and be successful at the same time.”
Upstart has quarterly diversity training and twenty-three robust employee resource groups. These programs help ensure diverse candidates have the advancement opportunities they need to thrive. Additionally, Moore and his colleagues have created strong partnerships with outside groups like Techtonica (which helps women and non-binary adults overcome barriers into the tech industry) and Out in Tech (which unites the LGBTQ+ tech community) to create more opportunities and give back.
In February, Upstart announced earnings for Q4 2021 and calendar year 2021. The company grew in terms of scale and revenue, as well as profits. Revenue grew to $849 million in 2021 from $233 million in 2020, which amounts to 264 percent year-over year. After attracting millions of customers and originating more than $20 billion in personal loans, the company is targeting new forms of lending.
In 2021, Upstart entered auto lending. Next, its leaders are targeting small business lending and mortgages. The Upstart rocket shows no signs of slowing down, and Moore’s teams are in place to make sure Upstart has the right people in place to steer it on its ongoing rise.