Photo by Danny Fulgencio

Hollywood Heights resident Chris Gay owns a tech startup, Zengine, a cloud software firm focused on the insurance business. It is Gay’s second tech startup, and he noticed that he and his colleagues have a hard time recruiting employees. Not only do they compete for talent among themselves, they must also fight what Gay calls “the brain drain to the West and East coasts.” In other words, the most talented programmers, engineers and other savvy techies from our area often are swooped up by firms in Silicon Valley or Massachusetts.

So, in an effort to retain local tech talent, Gay is planning an event called the Roundup for Startups on April 21. The event, at Deep Ellum Brewing Co., will feature about 40 startup companies offering at least 100 salaried jobs. But don’t call it a job fair. No suits are allowed.

“We don’t want to see a résumé in sight,” Gay says.

Too often, startups offer new hires a stake in the company or other prospective perks, which causes misconceptions about what startups have to offer. There are plenty of tech companies in the Dallas area with salaried jobs available. They just need to find the right candidates. Gay says he expects about 1,000 seasoned pros as well as recent college graduates will attend.

“We’re hoping the startup community will help the unemployment situation, and Dallas will be a vibrant place for startups,” he says.

• The Roundup for Startups is at 4 p.m. Saturday, April 21, at Deep Ellum Brewing Co., 2821 St. Louis.

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