Bench CEO Wants More Tech Cross-Pollination, Hires Former Hootsuite VP

Bench has announced Geordie Henderson as the company’s new SVP of engineering and product operations. Henderson was the former VP of engineering at Hootsuite.

Ian Crosby, co-founder and CEO of the Vancouver-based Bench, used the announcement to discuss “cross-pollination” in the technology industry. He said it does not set the field back but rather pushes individuals and companies to succeed and further strengthen their businesses.

Henderson will be an important addition to Bench’s leadership team, helping the company maintain its dedication to automating small business bookkeeping and status as the largest online bookkeeper in North America. Henderson helped scale Hootsuite’s engineering department from a small team to a global force, and more importantly, he is a Vancouver-tech stalwart, founding Metalogix which sold in 2008 and continually pushing for excellence in both his field and city.

“Geordie is a real win for Bench, bringing with him a wealth of knowledge and successful techniques for fostering Vancouver tech talent,” said Crosby. “When deciding where to base Bench, Vancouver was the clear choice. It has most of the talent that we need and, when it doesn’t, the city is attractive to individuals who are willing to relocate. Bench is now in a critical growth phase, and Geordie will be instrumental in our ability to accelerate through it and thrive in Vancouver’s premier tech ecosystem.”

With several huge companies like Microsoft (and maybe even Amazon) taking up shop in Vancouver and Canada as a whole, the need for talented technology workers is rising higher. Vancouver is already home to successful local companies like Slack, Hootsuite and PlentyOfFish, but in order for home-grown companies to really soar, Crosby calls for more collaboration.

“At some point or another people come across an idea or startup they really like and jump ship, cross-pollinating the tech and startup communities,” said Crosby. “This movement and collaboration played a huge role in our early success, and has continued to fuel our growth.”

What Crosby describes is that the best employees cannot stay stagnant in a single position at a single company—they have to hop from startup to startup, unicorn to unicorn, and make sure their skills are put to use in the widest sense possible. Only by spreading talent will multiple companies in a single city or country have the chance to bloom.

Cross-pollination in this sense is not terribly uncommon—look at Craig Hunter, who has gone from Bitmaker Labs to Ritual to ChefHero in less than two years—but it can be stigmatized, as executives may feel the employee lacks loyalty.

Crosby and Bench obviously do not feel this way, welcoming in Henderson from Hootsuite with open arms and singing the praises of sharing talent. As technology talent supply dwindles and demand increases, more companies may be forced to cross-pollinate in one way or another.

Bench has set a company goal to double bookkeeping efficiency by 2020.