April 20, 2008

What to look for in startups?

I've got a decent draft, but it needs some editing before being publishable, of a post on what I think a person thinking about joining a startup should look for. With quite a few company founders, startup employees and investors among the readers, feel free to share your thoughts on the subject in the comments or in an e-mail.

3 comments:

Mikael Pawlo said...

It's all about the revenues.

It does not really matter if its a startup or not - without a viable business model, well, then you have to either wait for Serge and Larry to pick up your company or to simply go bust. You could of course argue that more mature companies always have great or at least business models, but are they really geared up for the "new" Internet times .-)

Mikael Pawlo
Managing Director
Mr Green

Henrik Torstensson said...

Over time revenues are, of course, necessary to sustain a company, but how do you evaluate a company in the pre-revenue phase?

Mikael Pawlo said...

Actually, you really can't which was kind of my point.

Hence, you need to look for all the things you would look for in a more mature company: do you like the job, the product or services, the brand, the colleagues, the computer you have to use, the compensation package and so forth.

This goes for every company, mature or startup.

I think it is more important to look at yourself. A startup will mean that there are very few routines, no solid company culture, very little "security", but also a lot of risk, fun and geist. I wouldn't say that it's more challenging than a mature company - it is just a different competition.

If you are that kind of individual, you will probably love a startup. If not, well, there are great mature companies with interesting challenges out there as well .-)

However, I think it is important to stress that there is no such thing as long term financial security to an employee. You may always risk losing your job, whether it is because of company cutbacks or the business model of a startup simply not working.

Thus, you should always look for other things when considering a new position.

Have you read The Black Swan yet, Henrik?

Mikael Pawlo
Managing Director
Mr Green