A progressive approach to people is core to who we are
Our CEO, Matt, ran a technology company, called Return Path for over 20 years, where Bolster’s founders all worked. Return Path was one of the first companies to establish a “people first” culture where the circle of life for a high-growth, highly scalable business began with employees at the forefront; anchored in values of equity, parity, flexibility and an intense focus on investing in employee development. This was back in 1999, before it was in vogue. Our focus on people first led to better customer outcomes, which led to better business outcomes. As a result, we invested a lot in people - including a substantial investment in growth mindset learning and development. One testament to the success of this approach was that at the point of our 2019 exit, the leadership team was filled with people who had been promoted into these roles after growing their skills at the company throughout the years.
Our focus on people was also an inclusive one...two of the most impactful manifestations of this were the creation of the care-giver returnship nonprofit Path Forward which started as an in-house initiative to diversify Return Path’s largely white and largely male engineering team, and a long-standing partnership with NCWIT (National Center for Women and Information Technology). After exiting Return Path, we wanted to do for others what we did for each other as a seasoned executive team. We wanted to know: "How could we help other CEOs, executives and boards bolster themselves to go the distance and scale with their organizations?"
While the founding team was exploring potential business opportunities that allowed us to make a bigger impact on the world, Silicon Valley Bank and High Alpha Innovation were together envisioning a platform to help VC-backed portfolio companies more effectively navigate the complex world of executive talent needs. When our three groups came together, we realized we shared a vision to build a company that puts people first in all aspects to drive high-growth businesses.
Together, we’re building a business that helps CEOs scale their companies differently...and that starts with talent. Bolster’s marketplace connects executives with startups and scaleups to match a wide variety of needs: Interim work for the in-between executives. Fractional opportunities for ongoing, consulting work. Advisory and coaching opportunities to help leaders receive the development we sought to provide our own colleagues at Return Path. Boards of Director opportunities for companies expanding their board independence. We know the tone for a diverse and inclusive business starts at the top, which is why we ensure that we provide diverse slates of candidates for all roles. And the unique suite of tools we are building for CEOs unlocks incredible potential for a new way of developing leaders and scalable businesses, leveraging data, not anecdotes.
We believe that, in today’s work environment, flexibility and diversity matter more than ever...and our on-demand marketplace offers just that. CEOs can collaborate with the best people for the work, no matter where they are located, accessing talent outside of their typical networks to promote a more diverse leadership team. Seasoned executives can be tapped for exclusive opportunities usually only known to an insular few, and select roles that balance the best of their career and their family lives. Combined, the Bolster marketplace unlocks incredible potential for a new way of forming teams.
Through our diverse member community, our founding team continues to do what we love -- help people recognize their potential, and help CEOs build inclusive, scalable, "people first" businesses.
The eight Bolster co-founders - Matt Blumberg, Shawn Nussbaum, Ken Takahashi, Nick Badgett, Cathy Hawley, Jack Sinclair, Andrea Ponchione and Jennifer Goldman (pictured below from left to right).
Founding team during national COVID-19 lockdown
And, the current team:
Full Bolster Team - December, 2021
Board of Directors
- Cristina Miller - COO, Goldbelly
- Rory Verrett - CEO, Protégé Search
- Andrea Rice - Managing Director, Management Leadership for Tomorrow
- Melody Dippold - Managing Director & Head of Innovation, Silicon Valley Bank
- Scott Dorsey - High Alpha Capital
- Matt Blumberg - CEO, Bolster
- Fred Wilson (Board Observer) - Union Square Ventures
- Greg Sands (Board Observer) - Costanoa Ventures
- Brad Feld (Board Observer) - Foundry Group
Bolster Board of Directors
- Fabio Rosati - Snagajob Chairman, former CEO Upwork and Elance
- Cindy Robbins - Equality Champion, Equal Pay, YearUp Board Member, Former President and Chief People Officer for Salesforce
- Jeffrey Leventhal - S12F founder, previous co-founder of WorkRails, founder of Work Market, Partner at Boldstart Ventures
- David Rosenblatt - CEO 1stDibs, former CEO DoubleClick, board member of IAC, Twitter and Farfetch
- Dan Finnigan - Former CEO Hotjobs and SVP Yahoo, former CEO of Jobvite, former Director of Careerbuilder, current Director at JobTrain
Always Have Heart
We treat everyone with trust and respect and assume positive intent. We are caring, empathetic, lighthearted, and grateful.
We include, elevate, and provide a safe and equitable environment for people to be their whole selves.
We are curious and have a growth mindset. We strive to be, and to develop, high performing individuals and teams.
Do The Right Thing
We operate with transparency, integrity, and candor, even when that is difficult.