Proxibid CTO: “The technology talent pool is tight”
Online marketplace Proxibid has experienced another year of high growth, beginning with a partnership with eBay announced in February. Revenue increased by 11% in Q2, driven by the heavy machinery and collectible car markets. In August Proxibid also received significant growth capital investment from Primus Capital, and the company is currently in hiring mode to keep up with its reach. Greg…
Online marketplace Proxibid has experienced another year of high growth, beginning with a partnership with eBay announced in February. Revenue increased by 11% in Q2, driven by the heavy machinery and collectible car markets. In August Proxibid also received significant growth capital investment from Primus Capital, and the company is currently in hiring mode to keep up with its reach.
Greg Nichols is Senior Vice President and CTO of Proxibid. SPN sat down with Nichols recently to discuss the local talent pool, ecommerce, and his participation in the upcoming C-Level auction.
SPN: Recently the CEO of ConAgra said they are leaving Omaha because they are looking for a better talent pool. As a CTO, what’s been your experience finding talent in the area?
GN: As it relates to technology, the talent pool is tight. It’s tight across the country, for the most part. I think all technology people are looking for interesting problems to solve. Our experience [at Proxibid] has been that if we present ourselves as a viable option with interesting problems to solve, we get our fair share. But it is tight. Not putting all our eggs in one basket, we are looking at leveraging a development company in Costa Rica in a long-term consulting role. In case we can’t find the talent we’re looking for in Omaha, we have another avenue. Flexibility is key.
Omaha is a city that has great tech talent. It’s also a close-knit community, where technology professionals get together regularly and share ideas. If I had a problem that I wanted some input on, I wouldn’t hesitate to ask other leaders for help and direction. The tech leadership in Omaha is solid.
SPN: How’s Proxibid doing?
GN: Proxibid is really doing well. We are rapidly growing. We are looking to hire information technology professionals, sales professionals and other ancillary professionals across the company. We’re actively growing from our traditional roots in the live auction space into more of a “Buy Now / Make Offer” model. So we have lots to build and lots of interesting problems to solve.
In February we signed an agreement with eBay which has jazzed up our sellers a bit. It’s causing a bit of a stir in the industry. In addition we’re trying to extend our footprint into Europe and the UK as well.
SPN: Proxibid has been around for 14 years now. How has the online auction space changed since then, and where do you see it headed?
GN: Early on when the company first formed they had a mission of disrupting and transforming the live auction, taking down the barriers of a localized event using the Internet. The team had to convince auction companies that the Internet was going to stick around for a while and that this would bring more buyers to their event. Today we are a fully functioning ecommerce marketplace for highly valued items, most of which are going to be second-hand items.
SPN: How was your experience doing the C-level auction last year?
GN: It was good. You always like to think there’s going to be hundreds of bids on you. And there really wasn’t. But it was a fun event, and I think people had a good time. Proxibid sponsored the event and ran the auction. This year I threw in a TV set. You get lunch with me and a TV set to sweeten the deal.
SPN: So for someone who might want to bid on you, what do you love talking about?
GN: Well, we can’t talk about the Huskers much this year. (smiles) I would talk about growing a business, transforming a business. I don’t view myself as a technologist, but I do understand technology and how it can improve a business. I can talk about where we’ve taken Proxibid over the last five and a half years, the challenges we’ve faced, how we overcame them.
Ryan Pendell is the Managing Editor of Silicon Prairie News.
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