Photo: Flickr / Groupon
Top Hat Monocle has just raised $8 million, and the Toronto-based educational software maker is on a hiring tear.That aggressive recruiting caught the attention of Groupon. Deputy general counsel Matt Miller fired off a letter to Top Hat CEO Mike Silagadze demanding that the company knock it off, according to a copy of the letter Top Hat provided us.
Unfortunately, we have reason to believe that Top Hat has improperly solicited Groupon employees and that’s what precipitated this letter.
Specifically, Miller is concerned that Top Hat used former Groupon employees’ information to solicit other Groupon salespeople to come work there.
Top Hat’s chief revenue officer, Andrew D’Souza, says that it’s true that his company has hired five ex-Groupon employees—but that Groupon has no case.
It’s common knowledge, D’Souza says, that Groupon has a good training program for salespeople, and its recruiters simply went looking on LinkedIn for candidates. And when it hired Groupon employees, Top Hat took pains to have them talk to Top Hat employees who hadn’t previously worked at the online-discount company.
It’s understandable that Groupon is feeling defensive about keeping its employees—what company wouldn’t? But there’s no law against hiring employees away from a company. Groupon would have to show that Top Hat induced its employees to break nonsolicitation agreements they signed—and Top Hat’s D’Souza says that the startup didn’t do that.
We emailed Miller, the Groupon lawyer, about the email he sent to Top Hat, but haven’t heard back.
Top Hat raised $8 million in a Series A financing round led by Emergence Capital Partners and iNovia Capital.