In most industries, if you start a company that doesn’t fly, you lay people off, file for bankruptcy, auction the desks and equipment, and look for another job.
But in the tech sector, you get acqui-hired. People who understand how to build mobile apps, online services, and Web-based software are in such short supply that even if a startup fizzles, it still has a chance of getting scooped up for its talent. West Coast companies like Twitter, Zynga, and Dropbox have done acqui-hire deals locally. HubSpot, a Cambridge-based digital marketing firm, has made at least five acqui-hires. And few people think the phenomenon will die out in 2014.