Interview: Tammy Wang, VP of Data Science and Engineering on Approaching Tech Hiring as a Data-Driven Exercise

Tammy Wang,  our VP of Data Science and Engineering connected with InsideBigData to discuss her team's work with the University of Virginia Economics department to build an AI-powered application that can help people successfully navigate STEM career paths, with a focus on developing a long-term career trajectory in tech. The solution has the potential to impact U.S. labor supply by addressing the increasing demand for technology talent, which has resulted from the rapid digitization and automation of the labor market. We invite you to learn more in the excerpt below, or click through to read the full Q&A on InsideBigData. 


insideBIGDATA: The National Science Foundation recently awarded you a large grant to use AI in a compelling new way to help women and other underrepresented groups break into STEM careers. Tell us about it.


Tammy Wang: I lead the data science team at  Riviera Partners, a retained search firm specializing in placements of executive leadership in engineering, product, and design, and we have a front-row view of how skewed supply and demand are in tech recruiting. There is a notable talent shortage in tech, and qualified candidates in software engineering or data science can walk away with multiple offers within a few weeks with large compensation packages. We also know that this hot talent market is remarkably unbalanced when it comes to gender, racial and socio-economic backgrounds. Only 26% of the software engineering workforce were women in 2018, only 2.2% of first-generation graduates major in Computer Science, only 3.41% of software engineering degrees are awarded to Hispanics, and only 1.3% of degrees are awarded to people who identify as black or African American. In the big picture, the talent shortage and the narrow field of typical candidates is a warning signal that digital transformation efforts and innovation among US firms will be limited by a growing shortage of qualified talent.  I believe companies across the US can have a bigger and better supply of tech talent if the STEM field can be more inclusive. Our team partnered with the University of Virginia Economics department to propose a project to build an AI-powered application that can help underrepresented groups navigate STEM careers, with a focus on developing long term success in tech fields. The project received a grant as part of the Convergence Accelerator awards from the National Science Foundation. We’re just starting this journey – and it's exciting!


insideBIGDATA: Why do you think an app like this was never created before?


Tammy Wang: Until recently, technology hadn’t advanced enough to amass and analyze the data that’s necessary to provide valuable recommended steps. The data set necessary to get to an accurate representation of detailed career paths is incredibly difficult to collect and integrate. Riviera is uniquely able to support this effort because it has nearly 20 years of history and data gathered from its efforts placing executives and individual contributors at companies.  We have a horizontal view over a time series study that others lack. With this large volume of fine-tuned, clean data at our disposal, we’re able to deliver recommendations that are trustworthy. Also, understanding and recommending data-driven career steps for entire demographic groups is a difficult problem, and the process to do so is an obscure, exploratory area that requires a tight collaboration between industry and academia, and large-scale funding. It can be daunting to try to make all of these components align, which I think is why this type of project hasn’t been attempted until now, but with our data, technology and skill sets we were able to gain the necessary partnership and funding to make this opportunity a reality.


Read the full Q&A at InsideBigData, Interview: Tammy Wang, VP of Data Science and Engineering on Approaching Tech Hiring as a Data-Driven Exercise or contact Tammy to learn more.

Riviera Partners Answers Increased Demand for Tech Leadership with New COO Ryan Giordano and Acquisition of Tech and Blockchain Specialty Firm WorthyWorks

Tech Industry’s Leading Engineering and Product Talent Search Firm Meets High Demand for Tech Leader Search Services with Deeper Bench in San Francisco and New York


SAN FRANCISCO & NEW YORK – June 11, 2019, Riviera Partners, the leader in technology-assisted retained search for senior engineering and product talent, today announced two strategic moves to help the company scale in response to high demand for its services.  Riviera named Ryan Giordano as Chief Operating Officer, strengthening the firm’s operational structure to support its rapid growth. The firm also completed the acquisition of New York based WorthyWorks, led by founder Kyle Langworthy, that specializes in searches for engineering and product leaders within the blockchain ecosystem.

“We are in a phase of hyper-innovation in the technology market,” said Will Hunsinger, CEO of Riviera Partners. “Established companies are embarking on digital transformation initiatives while startups and growth companies are embracing new technologies and approaches to deliver better products, faster. Tech is the fastest growing segment of the $16B recruiting market with 12 million jobs in the U.S. We are experiencing the highest demand for our services in our history.  Adding experienced operators like Ryan and Kyle helps us scale to meet the demand. We intend to continue to lead this market in focused search services for tech leaders.”


Chief Operating Officer Post Supports Rapid Growth

Ryan Giordano joins Riviera’s executive leadership team, and will head the firm’s Operations, Customer Success, and Analytics initiatives with a focus on enabling scale and unlocking business insights to support growth. Ryan brings broad experience in start-up to multi-billion-dollar organizations across SaaS, platform, hard-goods, subscription, and marketplace (e.g. gig-economy) models. As COO, Ryan will oversee the development of systems, business practices, tools and training to ensure that Riviera’s rapid growth is efficient and that the company can scale to meet its market opportunity.

“After an exhaustive search, we are thrilled to add Ryan to our ranks,” commented Hunsinger.  “Ryan’s operational expertise, strong analytics acumen and modern approach to business practices and systems will ensure that we scale appropriately and create the greatest amount of value for our clients and stakeholders.”


WorthyWorks Brings Blockchain and Machine Learning Specialty

WorthyWorks brings a broad network of client and candidate connections to the Riviera family.  Kyle and his team have a track record of successful placements of tech and product leaders in start-ups to mid-stage growth companies in New York, San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, Denver, Mexico City, London and Paris. The firm has developed a deep understanding of the specialized needs of companies participating in machine learning and blockchain ecosystems with successes at companies including Axoni, BitGo, bitFlyer, Bitso, CoinDesk, CoinList, Curv, Genesis Global Trading, Horizen, MakerDAO, ShapeShift and others.

“We are engaged in more active searches for senior tech leaders than at any other time in our history,” continued Hunsinger.  “The addition of Kyle will increase the ability for our New York office to meet the demand for our services in the area. New York is a vibrant tech hub requiring deep understanding of important technologies like blockchain, machine learning, and cloud infrastructure as well as the ability to navigate and fully participate in the New York tech community.  We welcome WorthyWorks to our exceptional New York team.”


About Riviera Partners

Founded in 2002, Riviera provides full-stack, technology-enabled Recruiting and Advisory Services focused exclusively on the three pillars of software development and delivery; design, product management and engineering. Riviera brings an innovative approach to an evolving industry, combining insights from years of recruiting expertise with a sophisticated technology platform that uses machine learning to score and predict the best fit for a company's specific needs. Based in San Francisco with offices in Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, Atlanta, New York and Bozeman, the firm is recognized by leading venture capitalists and technology innovators for its efficient and effective recruiting process. The firm has placed candidates in leading financial services, consumer products, technology, and manufacturing companies in markets that include San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, New York, Boston, Chicago, Austin and Southern California. For more information, visit

Riviera Partners Raises $25 Million in Growth Capital

SAN FRANCISCO -- June 4, 2019 – Riviera Partners, a  leading retained search firm specializing in placements of executive leadership in engineering, product and design talent, today announced that it has closed a minority investment of $25 million led by the growth equity teams at Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors and ROCA Partners. The financing will be used to fund Riviera Partners’ continued geographic expansion, strategic acquisitions, enhancements to its Sutro™ proprietary recruiting platform, and to add expert staff to meet the increased demand for its services.  


“Technological advancement is the most important driver of company growth and value creation,” said Will Hunsinger, CEO of Riviera Partners.  “Riviera places technology leaders that power this transformation for companies of all sizes, enabling them to deliver products and services that serve customers better than ever before. We have the most experienced, data-driven recruiting team in the industry, a powerful platform that speeds the process, and the best candidate relationships. Our partners choose Riviera because of our proven track record, and they are confident that by working with us, they’ll make a great hire.”


Riviera regularly places the most sought-after, proven tech leaders in the most interesting companies with the greatest potential. These executives are able to build products and services that deliver unparalleled value. The firm works with companies at all stages, and with roughly half of the “Tech Unicorns” –– privately held startup companies valued at over $1 billion.  Riviera has completed thousands of searches for A-List clients such as Asana, Dropbox, GitHub, DoorDash, Hulu, Pinterest, Uber and others.


Through sophisticated, machine learning algorithms, Riviera Partners identifies specialized, highly-qualified candidates that fit an organization's needs from 600,000 professionals in the most important tech geographies. Riviera can often provide a short list of exceptional candidates in 30 days and has a track record of over 95% success rate.


“Kayne targets high growth companies that bring game changing software, processes and analytics to industries that are often behind the technology curve. In the same way that advanced analytics changed the game of baseball, we believe that Riviera’s proprietary technology and processes are changing the way executive recruiting is done.  We are thrilled to become an integral part of helping them grow during this exciting time,” said Nishita Cummings, partner, Kayne Partners Fund.


In addition to its headquarters in San Francisco, the firm is rapidly expanding in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Seattle and Bozeman.  It now has over 90 team members across the nation, and regularly works with the tech industry’s most accomplished venture capital, private equity and growth equity firms as well as CEOs of growing companies.  


“We are excited to partner with the Riviera team given their collaborative, results-oriented culture and commitment to providing best-in-class service to their clients. With this growth investment, Riviera can continue to enhance its technology platform, which enables its recruiters to deliver superior service and outcomes for its clients,” said Ravi Sarin of ROCA partners.


Alantra served as Riviera's financial advisor to Riviera Partners on the transaction.


About Riviera Partners

Riviera Partners is a key driver of innovation for today’s most influential companies by expertly placing executive talent in the crucial areas of software engineering, product management and design. By combining nearly two decades of recruiting expertise with a proprietary platform that uses machine learning to score and predict the best candidate for a company's specific needs, Riviera is the go-to talent partner for leading venture capitalists and technology innovators. Learn more about what Riviera Partners can do for your business at  


About Kayne Partners

Kayne Partners, the dedicated growth private equity group of Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors, L.P., is a leading provider of capital and connections to privately held, high growth, enterprise software and tech-enabled service businesses in North America. The Kayne Partners team has invested over $500 million in platform investments and add-on acquisitions together across four funds. Kayne Partners seeks to partner with driven entrepreneurs and provide capital to high growth companies at a transformative point in their life cycle in the following industries: security & compliance, supply chain & logistics, financials, industrials, healthcare, and media & telecom. For more information, visit


About Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors, L.P.

Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors, L.P., founded in 1984, is a leading alternative investment management firm focused on niche investing in upstream oil and gas companies, energy and infrastructure, specialized real estate, growth equity and both private credit and diversified liquid credit. Kayne Anderson manages $30 billion in assets (as of March 2019) and employs over 350 professionals in five core offices across the U.S. For more information, please visit


About ROCA Partners

ROCA Partners is a Los Angeles-based private equity investment firm focused on providing leading technology-enabled services and healthcare services companies with flexible capital and operational resources to accelerate growth.


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