How He Went from Startup ➡️ IPO ➡️ $4.5B Revenues (Recruit Rockstars 454)

So few entrepreneurs “go the distance” from startup to IPO.

Most are “promoted to Chairman” at some point by their board of directors, because they fail to scale their personal skills as rapidly as their business.

But I found one.

Martin Babinec is Founder & Former CEO of TriNet, the legendary hypergrowth Professional Employer Organization (PEO) that got its start in Silicon Valley before becoming a global phenomena.

Serving more than 15,000 clients and their 325,000 employees, TriNet is the largest independent cloud-based HR provider leveraging the Professional Employer Organization model.

Martin founded TriNet in 1988, served as CEO until 2008 and Chairman until 2010. Along the way, he raised $130M in 5 rounds of equity financing, completed 6 acquisitions, and grew the PEO industry over two decades.

Today, TriNet is a public company with 3,500 employees, doing $4.5 Billion revenues annually.

I was a TriNet customer, and I simply couldn’t have started my companies without it. Because they handled all of the people part – payroll, benefits, administration, legal – which let me focus on what we did best.

Now, Martin is a leading venture investor in Upstate New York. As Managing Director of UpVentures Capital, he funds early stage technology companies. Portfolio companies include, Bungee, Carta, BrandYourself, Outmatch, and Drafted.

I asked Martin what made it all possible.

His answer was instantaneous and authentic: core values.

Martin was inspired by Jim Collins and EO (Entrepreneurship Organization) and understood the importance of building TriNet based on distinct & authentic core values. They became filters for deciding who would join the company.

He didn’t just write down some core values a the beginning, but he operationalized them thru the interviews, reference checks, Test Drives, and assessments to ensure that poor hires couldn’t slip in.

In this 20-minute conversation, Martin walks you through how to do the same at your company.

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“Jeff has recruited Rockstars and built winning cultures for 25 years. Finally, he shows us how!” —Brad Feld, Managing Director, Foundry Group Venture Capital