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What is Acqui-hiring?


"acqui-hiring," which is a blend of "acquisition" and "hiring." This is a strategy often used in the corporate world, especially within the tech industry, where a larger company acquires a smaller company primarily to recruit its employees, rather than to gain control of its products or services.

The target of the acquisition is usually a startup with a highly skilled and talented workforce that the acquiring company wants to integrate into its own team.

Example of Acqui-Hiring

Tech Company (Acquirer)

Startup (Acquiree)


Motivation for Acqui-Hiring




Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Talent Acquisition

Integration of InnovAI's skilled AI researchers and engineers into TechGlobal's AI R&D teams, enhancing innovation capabilities.

Imagine a tech giant, let's call it "TechGlobal," which specializes in artificial intelligence (AI) technologies.
TechGlobal is always on the lookout for fresh, innovative minds to enhance its capabilities and stay ahead in the competitive market.

There's a small startup named "InnovAI," which has developed some groundbreaking AI algorithms. Although InnovAI's products are still in the early stages and haven't captured a large market share, its team consists of top-notch AI researchers and engineers.

TechGlobal recognizes the talent and potential within InnovAI's team but is less interested in its current product line. Instead of simply offering jobs to InnovAI's employees (which might not succeed due to loyalty or contractual obligations), TechGlobal decided to acquire InnovAI entirely.

Through this acquisition, TechGlobal effectively "hires" InnovAI's talented workforce, integrating these skilled individuals into its own AI research and development teams. This move allows TechGlobal to bolster its innovation capabilities significantly. Meanwhile, the employees of InnovAI get the opportunity to work on more significant projects, often with better resources and potentially greater impact.

This scenario illustrates the essence of acqui-hiring, where the primary motivation for the acquisition is the talent within the smaller company, rather than its products, services, or customer base.

Also Read : Understanding the Term "Cohort" in Startup Acceleration Program


What is acqui-hiring?

Acqui-hiring, a blend of "acquisition" and "hiring," refers to the process where a larger company acquires a smaller company primarily to employ its staff, rather than to obtain its products or services. This strategy is often employed to quickly bring in a team of skilled professionals.

Why do companies choose to acqui-hire?

Companies opt for acqui-hiring for several reasons:
- To Secure Talent: It's an efficient way to bring on board a team of skilled individuals, especially in competitive fields like technology.
- To Save Time: Building a team from scratch is time-consuming. Acqui-hiring can quickly bring in a team that already works well together.
- To Innovate: Acquiring a team with unique skills or innovative ideas can help a company enhance its product offerings or explore new markets.

What happens to the acquired company's products or services?

The fate of the acquired company's products or services varies:
- Integration: Sometimes, the products or technologies developed by the startup are integrated into the acquiring company's offerings.
- Discontinuation: In many acqui-hires, the acquired company's products or services are phased out as the focus shifts to integrating the team into the new company.

What are the benefits for employees of the acquired company?

Employees of the acquired company may benefit in several ways:
- Opportunities for Growth: They often gain access to greater resources, broader projects, and opportunities for career advancement.
- Stability: Joining a larger, more established company can offer more job security.
- Incentives: Employees may receive financial incentives as part of the acquisition deal.

How is acqui-hiring different from traditional hiring?

Acqui-hiring differs from traditional hiring in that it involves acquiring an entire company primarily for its team, rather than recruiting individuals through standard hiring processes. It's a strategy used to onboard teams that have a proven track record of working together effectively.

Are there any criticisms of acqui-hiring?

Yes, acqui-hiring has faced criticism:
- Impact on Innovation: Some argue that it can stifle innovation by absorbing startups into larger entities where their ideas may not be prioritized.
- Employee Integration Challenges: There can be cultural and operational challenges as the acquired team integrates into the larger company.
- Neglect of Products: Products and services developed by the startup may be discarded, which can be disappointing for the founders and customers.

How can a company prepare for an acqui-hiring process?

Companies looking to acqui-hire should:
- Identify Key Talent: Clearly define the skills and expertise they seek.
- Due Diligence: Conduct thorough due diligence to understand the startup's team dynamics, culture, and potential integration challenges.
- Plan for Integration: Develop a detailed plan for integrating the acquired team, including cultural assimilation, role assignments, and incentives.