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Bolster is the new way to find the right executives

We accelerate companies’ growth by matching CEOs with transformational executives for full-time, fractional, and board roles—without the hassle of traditional talent sourcing. Built by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs, Bolster combines the power of experienced recruiters with an intelligent sourcing platform, delivering smarter executive search faster and at a fraction of the cost.
Connect with our team to learn more about how we run successful searches.

A progressive approach to people is core to who we are.

Our eight founders started, scaled, and exited a global enterprise SaaS company called Return Path for over 20 years. 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. That 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 and our prior venture investors Union Square Ventures, Foundry Group, and Costanoa Venture Capital were exploring potential business opportunities that allowed us to make a bigger impact on the world, our friends at 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. Our groups came together with a shared 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, starting with talent.

Bolster connects executives with startups and scaleups to match a wide variety of needs: Full-time executives for business-critical roles. 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. Board of Director opportunities for companies adding independent directors and diversity to their boards. 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.

Bolster 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. Bolster 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.

Our Values

Scale existing executives as far as possible

Operator-driven search

Curious, growth mindset

Develop high performing teams
They’re members, not names in a database

Clients have a lot on their plate

Assume positive intent

We welcoming and lighthearted
Simple pricing that aligns incentives

Technology and data make recruiting more efficient and effective

Be honest with ourselves

Avoid complexity
Clients’ needs and priorities evolve

The right type of role at the right time

Bias for action, strong opinions loosely held

Collaborative MSMO
Admit gaps and mistakes

Remove bias

Do the right thing

Steady diet of feedback

Information yields good decisions

Our Founding Team

The founding team during national COVID-19 lockdown - Matt Blumberg, Shawn Nussbaum, Ken Takahashi, Nick Badgett, Cathy Hawley, Jack Sinclair, Andrea Ponchione and Jennifer Goldman (pictured below from left to right).

Our Current Team

Full Bolster Team - July 2023