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Startup Tries to Poach Workers at Tech Bus Stops

SAN FRANCISCO -- Where some see a queue of engineers awaiting private commuter shuttles, one San Francisco startup sees an opportunity to lure talent from top Silicon Valley tech firms.

Software company Bigcommerce has spent the last two weeks trying to recruit talent from San Francisco's numerous techie shuttle stops and says it's since seen more traffic to its career website.

Bigcommerce executives say they want to poach employees from Google (GOOG), Facebook (FB) and other tech giants, The San Francisco Chronicle reported Saturday.

They come bearing a clever hashtag (#poached), poached egg sandwiches and a $40 million Series C round of funding raised from former AOL (AOL) chief Steve Case's venture capital firm.

"Are you interested in changing the world of e-commerce?" recruiter Steve Donnelly recently asked some men waiting for the Facebook bus. They declined.

Bigcommerce, based in Austin, Texas, is not the first firm to try to poach people from the bus stops. Roku tried to hire Google employees in Saratoga, Calif., who were waiting for a shuttle.

The company is opening a San Francisco office and needs to hire more than 40 engineers and product developers. Since starting its recruiting campaign at the bus stops, company officials said traffic to its career site has increased by 54% and application volume has grown by 150%.

Meanwhile, the shuttles have grown controversial in the last year, with some residents who see them as a symbol of neighborhood gentrification protesting their use of municipal bus stops for $1 per stop each day.

Bigcommerce plans to keep the effort up until it fills all of its San Francisco slots, West Stringfellow, the company's chief product officer told the Chronicle. He said he came up with the idea at a previous job when he commuted within the city, passing shuttle stops on the way.

"Every day, I would just see all this top talent hanging out on the sidewalk," he said. "I thought, if I ever have to build a team really fast, I'll just go hit those folks right where they're standing."

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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