This Startup Opened An Office In Seattle Specifically To Poach Ex-Microsoft Staff

Victor Wong
PaperG’s Victor Wong

[credit provider=”Victor Wong”]

PaperG, a startup dedicated to giving small and medium-sized businesses a self-serve platform to create full-blown web and mobile banner campaigns in seconds, has opened an office in Seattle simply to poach talent that’s bailing out of Microsoft Advertising, CEO Victor Wong tells us.Microsoft’s advertising unit has had a rough year. A swathe of senior marketing talent left Microsoft in the last few months. The company has reportedly been looking to sell its AQuantive online ad unit. And also its Atlas ad server. And the ad business gave an en masse rejection to the company’s plan to install a default ‘do not track’ signal in the Internet Explorer 10 browser. It’s been rumoured since July that Microsoft might abandon the ad business altogether.

The PaperG office opened in November and already has 12 staff in it. (The HQ is in San Francisco, where about 18 people work.) The company hopes to hire up to 25 people in total, in Seattle.

PaperG reached profitability this summer, Wong says, and is now seeing $2 million a month in gross ad sales. Three of his larger clients are DexOne, Hearst, and MediaNews Group. They use the platform to allow small businesses — who don’t normally have the time or the resources to employ an ad agency to create a web campaign from scratch — to create their own ad campaigns with almost no work (an algorithm does all the labour).

Wong opened in Seattle because there is less competition for engineers than in San Francisco. He’s noticed a lot of resumes coming from Microsoft — and none from Amazon, Seattle’s other big tech employer. “We have to sift through a lot of resumes” from Redmond, Wash., he tells us.