About twice each month I get an email: “I’m new to the Triangle and looking to join a startup and my <friend, brother, aunt> said you were a good person to talk to”.
I’m always happy to take these meetings. Finding talent is second only to finding money in the list of problems that startups face – and hopefully we can help with some matchmaking.
If you have found your way into my office I’ll assume you’ve got the risk tolerance, ability to deal with uncertainty, and the moxie that it takes to work at a starutp. The conversation goes something like this…
My first question is “What do you mean by a startup?”
Are you looking to be a co-founder at the stage where it’s not much more than an idea? Do you have other means of support (a working spouse, a bank account, severance from your last gig) that you can afford to work for no salary for a year in exchange for a chunk of equity?
Are you looking to be one of the first key employees at a stage where there’s a little bit of funding or revenue? Do you have a lifestyle or financial means to work at a below market salary along with a small amount of equity?
Are you looking for a startup that has begun to scale and is on that rocketship from hundreds of thousands of revenue to millions of revenue?
Now that we’ve got that settled – except for that last category, you’re unlikely to find it posted on a job site.
You’re probably just as interested in the product or market the company is working on as you are in the exact job description. Your homework is to find a company that’s doing something that excites you. So where do you look? The best place is the portfolio/company pages of organizations who fund and work with local startups and explore those companies:
- Bull City Venture Partners
- Cofounders Capital
- Idea Fund Partners
- Launch Chapel Hill
- NC IDEA (filter by “Active”)
- RTP Capital
- Scott Wingo’s Tweener List
- The companies that presented at CED’s most recent Tech Venture Conference
- The companies that are in the various coworking spaces in the area: American Underground, Frontier, HQ Raleigh, Launch Chapel Hill…
- Triangle Angel Partners
- Venture South
Once you find a company that looks interesting, see if they’re hiring anyone at all – that’s a good sign that they are doing well. If they are, and it’s not exactly you, they are sometimes flexible enough around the qualifications that if you are a great fit in every other respect they might make room. And use linkedin to get an introduction to someone at the company.
Bigtop.jobs is a great place to look – think of it as monster.com for Triangle startup jobs.
Lastly, you’ve got to get out and network – even you shy, introverted software engineers. Hang out at the various socials, meetups, and coworking spaces around town – Triangle Startup Social, Triangle Tech Breakfast, Startup Grind, One Million Cups, RIoT, etc., etc. If it’s the right time of the year, attend CED’s Tech Venture Conference.