Thursday, June 25, 2009

Employment with Startup Companies

For those of you who are interested in finding employment opportunities within the start-up arena, here is some advice. Where there is funding, there are start-ups, so don’t forget to seek out venture capital organizations and angel investors to utilize for leads in finding the startup companies who have gained recent funding.

Search job boards (especially and with just the word "start-up" or "startup" to pull up companies who are hiring. The fact that they are hiring is a good thing, regardless of whether it is for your field or not, and makes them a potential target for contacting. While at check the small business ads and gigs sections out as well. If you find something of interest, find a way to pitch yourself!

ONLINE NETWORKING can be a great source for finding groups of venture capitalists or startups executives. Krista Canfield, a spokesperson for, says to use their advanced search feature to look for job titles including the terms “Owner”, “CEO”, or “Founder”. She also encourages checking out potential companies’ LinkedIn Company profile, as you will be able to see new and recent hires to gauge a company’s growth. “This page will also show you if anyone in your network connects you to that company so you can get a personal introduction,” says Canfield.

Although usually for more socially-related purposes, is quickly becoming a hotbed for business interest groups as well. A quick search for terms such as “startup”, “entrepreneur”, and “venture capital” bring up hundreds of groups nationwide, and each group’s page has message boards, member listings, networking events, and more. John Ramey, Founder and CEO of the San Francisco-based startup isocket adds, “Also try twitter – many startups have the word startup in their account bio.”

Don’t forget it’s imperative to take your professional networking offline and into the real world where the Founders and CEOs of these organizations meet. Ted Scofield, a Securities Atorney for Furnari Scher LLP states, "Securities lawyers who do private placements for start-ups have an inside track on the best start-ups. They know which companies have the best chance of success, not to mention money to pay your salary!" Find out when groups of start-ups, investors, and the likes have in-person meetings and mixers, then attend and schmooze with them! Chamber of Commerce mixers and meetings are great, and every town or city usually has one. Business schools often have many events throughout the year as well. Attend conferences, meetings, social events – anything you can find! If it’s expensive to attend any certain and you can’t afford it, offer to volunteer in exchange for admittance. You may also be able to make many introductions simple through mingling in the lobby of the event.

Set News Alerts with terms like “venture capital” and “startup” along with cities local to you. When companies are getting press you will be notified and able to locate them. Mary Robins, Director of Career Services at Menlo College also suggests keeping tabs on the San Jose and San Francisco versions of the Business Journal, “They frequently report on start-ups and who is getting VC funding. It’s really the best business news around.” Kevin Woo, a Freelancer for Forbes adds, "The San Jose Mercury News has a VC survey that they publish each quarter which lists who received money and how much." Many industry specific news sources can also give you leads on potential companies rising up, such as,,,

Send the founders a general inquiry letter marketing your services and talents, or ask for an informational interview on their project. They’ll likely be impressed if you’re passionate about their new company and be willing to sit down and speak with you. Ramey says, “We’re very approachable. Be simple and concise, tell us why you believe in our startup, because after all, you must share the passion and vision. Do NOT let your recruiting agent forward your anonymous CV to every startup they know. We get cold emails and calls from recruiters every day, even though we ask them to stop. It doesn’t matter if the candidate is the second coming – we likely won’t bother.” Passion, vision, and dedication are key in this job market!

The hours are long. The jobs duties are far-ranging and diverse. The benefits packages may be little. The personalities are strong. And their hiring process can be even pickier than your local corporations. “You’ll need to be patient and be willing to go through a more rigorous or lengthy process than with a non-startup,” says Ramey. “Working for a startup is a life style choice, not a career choice. Do not even bother unless you understand and are willing to embrace the lifestyle. If you’re looking for a 9-5 job for 5 days a week that has well defined problems and objectives with market benefits, go somewhere else. If you want to sacrifice and change the world, come here.”

LOCAL EVENT LISTINGS: – “Happy Hour” events for startups seeking interns
http://www.ebig.og/ – East Bay Innovations Group – Silicon Valley Startup Funding Meetup Group – Emerging Technology Connection – Networking event calendar – Silicon Valley Association of Startup Entrepreneurs

FURTHER RESOURCES: – MIT/Stanford Venture Lab – Venture backed growth companies – Keiretsu Forum, a large local Angel Investor Group – Investors and startup directories – Venture firm – Startup companies and jobs – Entrepreneurial internships – Silicon Valley seed funding org – Job Openings at Highland-backed companies – Tech, startup, and engineering jobs – Job Board for venture-backed startups

1 comment:

  1. This is a great list of resources, and there are lots of opportunities for those who love this work. The StartUpHire site mentioned above lists more than 2000 open positions in Silicon Valley alone.