Sequoia hires — and kicks tires — with Talenthouse deal

Sequoia Capital is hiring. The Silicon Valley venture capital firm — known for its early investments in tech superstars such as Apple (s AAPL), Google (s GOOG), and LinkedIn (s LNKD)– is looking to fill 20 graphic design vacancies at its portfolio companies in a decidedly unconventional way.

Sequoia will be crowdsourcing its job application process through Talenthouse, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based startup that allows companies and artists to hold design contests for things like album art and logos. According to Sequoia’s design job contest page, which will go live on Talenthouse Wednesday:

Sequoia invites graphic designers to submit their work for a chance at 1 of up to 20 full-time, permanent positions at one of their portfolio companies in the fields of consumer Internet and mobile solutions. This is your chance to get your work in front of some of the hottest companies and get to work in Silicon Valley.

Sequoia will choose the winners from all submissions with special consideration for the top voted entries and for those with user interface experience. Up to 20 designers will be selected to be placed on Sequoia Capital’s shortlist and shared with their portfolio companies.

Perhaps the most surprising part of it all? Sequoia is not currently an investor in Talenthouse. A Talenthouse spokesman tells me the company is backed only by its own CEO Roman Scharf, European seed funding firm 3TS Capital’s Cisco Growth Fund and a number of angels. To date, Talenthouse has taken on about $7 million in outside capital, he said.

Crowdsourcing is hot, particularly in the graphic design space — graphic design marketplace 99Designs recently closed on a $35 million series A round led by Accel Partners. Even so, the high profile utilization of Talenthouse seems like a bold move for a Sand Hill Road stalwart like Sequoia. Could the firm’s use of Talenthouse for its latest hiring effort essentially be a very public tire-kicking session?

“Talenthouse cannot comment on venture capital firms it may or may not be speaking with,” the company’s spokesman told me. Well, whether it’s speaking with Sequoia or not, one thing is for sure: They are working together. And that in itself could speak volumes.


Image courtesy of Flickr user Tess Aquarium.