Startup started to become the new trend ever since Google and Facebook proved to be one among the world’s most valuable companies within just a few years of its incorporation. Since then more and more startups are coming up with Innovative and Revolutionary Ideas. They are getting funds and are growing at an exponential rate. Uber which was founded in 2009 has already crossed 70 Billion Dollar in valuation, Xiaomi which was founded in 2010 is worth over 45 Billion Dollars, Airbnb which was founded in 2008 is over 30 Billion Dollar in valuation.
The days are gone when people were afraid to join startups. Nowadays more and more people are willing to be a part of the Startup Ecosystem. Which is mainly because the career growth rate is very fast in startups when compared to the well-established companies. But most people are not aware of the right time to join a startup. Joining Uber today won’t make much difference in your career as it would have made if you had joined it in 2010.
To answer the question lets break the startup into different Stages of time.
The product is not yet developed and the founders use their home as an office. They don’t have enough money to pay you well so they offer equity instead. You have two to three colleagues at max and there is no hierarchy or structure. Your CEO becomes your friend and you are like a Mini-CEO of the company. You get a chance to be a founding member but you struggle with your finances. Your Mom finds it very difficult to explain her friends and relatives about your work and your company. Most of your friends and family advise you to leave and join a well-established company which can afford to pay you well. But you still hang on and dream of the Yacht and the Villas you could buy when the company Grows.
The Product/Service is Ready but no Customers/Clients
The product is already developed and the marketing strategies are getting ready. The startup is still operated from the founder’s home. The startup is about to get seed fund so they offer you average pay as well as small equity. Your Mom becomes one of the first users of the product. You get to advise your CEO on many occasions but still, you doubt the company’s growth and your decision to join it. Yet you hang on and dream of the luxury cars you could buy when the company Grows.
First Round of Funding
The product has a good number of Customers/Clients, it is backed by investors and there are 30 plus employees working for the company. You are offered a standard pay as well as a few stocks if you join a Top Management Position. You are only offered a standard pay but no employee stocks options if you join a Smaller Job Role. When you compare your job with your friend’s job that works for an MNC, you notice that you have more responsibility as well as more chances of growth. You find the company culture friendlier and get to speak with your CEO rarely. Your Mom feels proud when she sees her friends and relatives use your company’s product.
Second Round of Funding
The company is growing fast, you see new colleagues joining very often. There are over 100 employees working for the company who are fairly structured. You get to see your CEO but never really got a chance to interact. You still see more chances of growth than your MNC friend but you also realize you have more responsibilities and pressure. More people know about the company so your Mom is able to explain her friends and relatives about your job and company.
The Startup has crossed 500 Million Valuation
The company has grown exponentially. Your Mom feels very lucky when you tell her about your new job. You are been given a good pay with no mention of employee stock options. Finally, you feel happy that you will be able to afford the rent of the apartment you wanted to move in and pay the EMI for the Budget car which you had shortlisted. You get astonished after seeing the beautiful office interiors and google the price of the beautiful and comfortable chair you just saw just to find out that it costs almost the same as your monthly salary. You get to know that there are separate offices for separate departments. The company is well structured and your CEO doesn’t even know you exist. The responsibilities are less and the growth is slow same as your friend that works for an MNC.
So now it’s up to you to decide the right time to join a Startup. Hope you make the right decision.