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Stealth to Series B: How BreakLine Helped Vannevar Labs Scale Quickly with Top, Diverse Candidates


Customer Success

By partnering with BreakLine, Vannevar Labs received access to top, vetted talent and grew its team 9x in just three years.

Vannevar Labs entered the market in 2019 with an ambitious goal: become a program of record for the U.S. Department of Defense by offering groundbreaking AI software to help the defense and intelligence community analyze massive datasets more efficiently. 

At the time, Vannevar was a team of five. Matching their ambition meant hiring world-class talent—quickly. 

Founders Nini Hamrick and Brett Granberg knew BreakLine’s track record of working with lean, fast-moving startups and cultivating an extensive network of top-tier, diverse candidates. This pipeline of talent includes those with relevant technical skills and in-depth knowledge of Vannevar’s customer base. Vannevar needed to expand its talent pool to gain a competitive edge against the well-established companies it was up against. 

In the three years since the partnership kicked off, BreakLine empowered the Vannevar team with:

  • Access to vetted, top talent from diverse backgrounds 
  • Candidates hand-selected for each open position, placing strategic hires across five departments to date
  • A 4x faster hiring pace compared to the industry average, with an average time to hire of 6 weeks
  • Support across the entire hiring process, building a long-term framework to attract and retain top talent

By prioritizing diverse hiring from its earliest days with BreakLine, Vannevar Labs has built an industry-leading team that drives continuous growth for the business.

The First Priority: Recruiting a Top-tier Mission Success Team

After early traction with government customers, Vannevar needed a team to deliver its product to government agencies. But with no dedicated recruiting or HR team, the co-founders and hiring managers were using up valuable time recruiting. Vannevar turned to BreakLine to help source, screen and hire top talent.

BreakLine candidates all go through an innovative program designed to help them land and succeed in their next position, via hands-on workshops, self-serve assignments, and in-depth discussions with industry leaders. Within hours of signing a partnership, BreakLine introduced Vannevar to BreakLiner Erin Biggers, who the team ultimately hired to build out their customer success efforts. Within six months, she was promoted from “Mission Lead” to “Director of Mission Success.” Erin, a veteran who had a distinguished career before joining Vannevar, remains at the company after over two years on the job and she has played a key role in the company’s growth. During her tenure, she has also hired eight fellow BreakLiners to build out her team.

Erin is just one example of exceptional Vannevar talent that BreakLine pre-vetted and coached through its participant program. Many were veterans who deeply understood the market and could bridge the gap between Vannevar’s vision and its customers’ needs. They also had technical skills from the military and felt aligned with the company mission.

A Long-Term Embedded Partnership to Fuel Company Growth 

In three years, BreakLine secured many top-tier candidates for a range of positions across five different departments at Vannevar. These include engineering roles requiring specific technical expertise and customer success and sales positions that demand a profound understanding of the industry’s pain points. 

“Breakline has been an invaluable partner for us since the early days, helping us build a mission-driven, low-ego, jedi-level team,” said Brett Granberg, founder and CEO of Vannevar Labs.

All BreakLine candidates hired by Vannevar were veterans, and many intersected with our other communities: Mavens (for women), Apex (for people of color), and Transcend (for people with disabilities). 

Once hired, BreakLine continues to support them in their journey by holding quarterly check-ins and inviting them to join an alumni network that connects them with thousands of fellow BreakLiners.

In addition to sourcing exceptional candidates, BreakLine also became a fully integrated partner, helping to build the company’s overall recruiting and hiring operation. This included introducing best practices for assessing, interviewing, onboarding, and retaining talent. BreakLine provided one-on-one coaching to hiring managers and was a bridge between candidates and Vannevar during the interview process, offering valuable insights to both sides to make each feel confident in their decision. 

Today, Vannevar is 100 strong. BreakLine remains a trusted partner, not only sourcing candidates but advising executives on everything from best interview practices to culture-building to retention strategies. By trusting BreakLine to build out hiring strategies, from recruiting through onboarding, Vannevar executives can focus their time and energy on building their products and services, and solidifying their position as a prominent player in defense technology. 

BreakLine partners with 200+ companies to build exceptional teams and close diversity gaps. Reach out to learn more about partnering with BreakLine.

Want to hear more about our work with Vannevar Labs? Listen to our interview with Vannevar founder and CEO Brett Granberg on The BreakLine Arena.

© 2022 BreakLine. All Rights Reserved.
© 2022 BreakLine. All Rights Reserved.