That’s a tough decision, but it’s not any easier to decide on the best time to join a startup.
Startups come in all shapes and forms, and morph quickly in organisational structure as they grow.The stage at which you should join a startup depends on what you are looking for, say industry insiders, after evaluating them for risk and reward, and the talent that you bring to the table.
“Junior or mid-level employees might be interested in going to the bigger, established startups as a positive career move, but mid to senior-level executives are keen to join companies in the Series-A and B stage where they can build something bigger and meatier,“ said Aneesh Passi, cofounder of Basil Advisors, which recruits C-level executives for new enterprises.
Raghunandan G, cofounder of TaxiForSure, said the proverbial garage exists only at the ideation stage, before the startup has garnered any recognition. “You have to be extremely ambitious and aspirational to join a startup at that stage,“ said the IIM-A graduate who assembled a great core team that left the company once it was sold to Ola to found their own companies or take up senior roles in other startups. “You will be shadowing the employer and learn a lot of things, and will be more likely to get promoted,“ he said.
If you are a senior executive thinking of jumping into the startup bandwagon, it may be better to wait until startups have found their feet and are in need of experienced managerial guidance.
“I would be very careful about hiring senior people in the early stages of a company,“ said Hari TN, currently head of HR of BigBasket, who has held the same role in four exited startups including Daksh, Virtusa, Amba Research, and TaxiForSure. “And they must be hands on -I drill deep, deep down to figure that out when I interview them,“ he said.