The Top Ten Reasons to Work at a Venture-Backed Startup
10. Experience The Joys of Being Indispensable
Write code because you can. Set a deadline and meet it—cause if you don’t the whole world will literally end. Turn off the lights cause, darn it, you own a part of that bill. And yes, make the coffee. Do it!
9. Grrr…Money Good
Hate to sound a bit troglodytic, but if you had to choose between two young companies, one WITH funding and one WITHOUT funding? Grrr…
8. Make Good While Doing So
“What do you want,” asks a partner at one of the top accounting firms in New York: hit a home run, or squeeze out singles? Unless there are angels hovering over you, your best bet for hitting a financial home run is to get in early and take part in a start-up. VC’s often provide the key financial difference between a company fully developing, and a company withering on the vines.
7. Show What You Are Made Of
An engineer buddy once pointed to the door of an airliner and proudly exclaimed, “That’s me!” Absolutely! How long to get that position? You don’t want to know. Make your mark when you are fresh; also, keep that job you were pretty much doing before they started adding initials: CIO, CFO, etc.
6. See Where You Are Going
“It’s all business” might sound great—in a movie. However, younger firms usually offer a greater sense of their direction and verve. A young, idealistic Wharton grad once accepted a plum position working at the company HQ. What were they doing there? She still can’t tell you.
5. Hear Where They’ve Been
VC’s can provide the perspective that allows a good idea to develop. Part of the myopia that develops in early stage companies can be alleviated by people who have been there before and know the road.
4. Life Is An Adventure—So Have One
Actual comments from the VC-backed start-up world:
“I interviewed at (insanely successful digital animation company) and didn’t get the offer. (BLEEEEEEEEP!)”
“We are trying to set the standard for something called VOIP. You haven’t heard of it yet, but you will…”
“They called us together for a big announcement; I think it’s going to happen…”
3. Make Some Friends Along The Way
Many people have heard of 1 Infinity Loop, where a major corporation has its headquarters. But few have heard of Steven’s Creek Boulevard where they had their first large office building. Yet don’t you think it would have been fun to work in that office where you knew just about everyone?
2. Learn More Than You Thought Possible
In a smaller, leaner and more agile organization, you get the benefit of learning in an interdisciplinary setting. Moreover, your part in the process becomes much more tangible and real when you know that your successes (and missteps) affect the whole process. Ultimately, a life unexamined is one not worth having. Working in an early-stage company means putting your best effort forward, and seeing what you are made of.
1. Make A Difference In Our World
If you are into “Me, Too,” then a startup is probably not for you. It is striking how both people starting out and looking back cite wanting to make a real difference in their field as their motivation for working in a startup. In fact, one executive at a bio-engineering powerhouse put it bluntly: “I wouldn’t leave my job unless I found an opportunity to really advance my field.” And where is her best chance to do so?
There you have it, a quick rundown of ten reasons to join a venture-backed startup. If these reasons make you wonder if youve got what it takes to take the next step in the startup life, because it is a life, send us your resume and give us a call.
Paul Lee is a 14-year Silicon Valley observer who has the dubious distinction of arriving in San Francisco just before the "New Economy" collapsed, then moving down to Silicon Valley just as the Internet Bubble burst. Now that the housing market has collapsed, hes starting to wonder...