Former Nerdery Recruiter Turns Tech Entrepreneur With Croocial


“Tired of being recruited? Become the recruiter.”

That’s the motto of new Minnesota startup Croocial which has developed a recruiting platform that’s all about referral networks and bounty hunting.

“Croocial is for those who aren’t necessarily seeking a new job but know others who are,” explains founder James “JD” Dietrich.

The idea first came to him back in 2013 based on previous experience with technical recruiting while at The Nerdery during their heyday.

“We were really trying to grab all of the best talent around town, just like everyone else is, right?” he explains.

“What I realized is the quality and retention rates were just that much higher of those who came into us via individual referral vs. all other channels.”

He describes a scenario whereby current employees there could receive cash credit for making referrals to peers who end up joining the company, a common practice for many firms these these days as another tool in the box.

“…the limitation I found around it though, if someone was referred, but not the right fit, the bucks stopped there…meaning the person referred then had no incentive to pass the job along,” Dietrich continues.

So Croocial beta came about in 2014 based on the fundamental principle that anyone can become the recruiter, whether they work at a given already company or not. For example, Acme Inc. can post their positions using Croocial with their set financial incentives attached that are eligible for anyone anywhere to make the connection and get paid.

“From an employers standpoint, it’s all about cost containment,” he explains. “The employer sets the bounty and only pays if and when a hire happens. And the referring source can declare if they want to keep 100% of the reward, or donate some/all of that to a charity of their choice. Croocial goes to the Nth level and can be split up along the referral chain.”

The approach seems to be working so for Croocial so far which has amassed jobs with bounty’s from the following recognizable employers since an official release in 2017:

“We’re at a user acquisition stage now as we begin marketing more publicly,” he says, estimating about 1,000 users on the system, defined as those who have registered to recruit.    Transactions are happening from start to finish and the team is heads down working on integration with applicant tracking systems such as Taleo and Jazz as next steps on the roadmap.

“Ultimately, we will be successful if we can help employers increase their hiring goals and reduce costs while empowering everyday people to make extra cash while share some of that with their charity of choice.”


  • Robert Speer

    Little early for “…while at The Nerdery during their heyday”. Had a short conversation with Derheim the other day, he’s able to answer harder questions than he could 10 years ago, with better answers than you’d get in a year coworking.

    Still rooting JD though, seemed smart, curious, and authentic the few times I talked to him. However, I’m not confident in yet another recruiting platform doing qualification through association. I think I heard about something very similar at the livefront bubbles thing the other day developed by a team with another former nerdery manager.

    • James Dietrich

      Hey Robert, By “heyday” I meant during their largest growth year, when the goal was to nearly double from 300 to 600. Not meant as a disparagement to The Nerdery. Still consider those guys friends and wish them all the best. -JD

      • Robert Speer

        that’s actually more impressive, and makes more sense

    • Jeff Pesek

      Did JD delete his response or ?

  • aamnyc

    ‘Croocial’ is the worst name I have ever heard.