Moving into the (seemingly hip) start-up world …

Consultants, bankers, big company folks and family members are making the move into the start-up world. I think this trend is here to stay. Nonetheless, the decision shouldn’t be taken lightly (or motivated solely by extrapolating off Instagram like outcomes). Here’s what I’ve said to those that have asked for advice…

It’s not about managing your career; it’s about building a business

Many traditional business jobs are individual focused. The emphasis is on individual returns, meeting sales targets, or getting a promotion. As a result, the incentive structure in that environment is quite different than the start-up. Candidates I’ve interviewed over the years have “managed upward” well but are poor fits for the flat, team-based nature of the tech start-up. In the start-up, the individual is de-emphasized and the collective team’s ability to deliver a product to the end-market is key.

Leverage what you know

Wall St, for one, is seeing migration given the reduction of opportunities and shrinking bonuses. Anecdotally, I know a good number of folks looking to transition out of finance. In these cases, I encourage people to leverage their “learnings” in the sector. Financial services technology is a great sandbox in which to play (is the Bloomberg terminal the last breakthrough!?). Those with first-hand knowledge of the pain points are likely to be most successful. The same holds true for healthcare and other more traditional industries ripe for disruption.

Find a good partner

I give this advice to everyone I speak to who is trying to start a new business. The key to entrepreneurial success, like any good relationship, is to find a good partner. It’s not about someone you want to have a beer with every night (though that helps), but about someone with complementary skills and a passion for making the venture succeed. It’s also best to “date before you get married” when picking a business partner.  When I look at founding teams as potential investments for Founder Collective, I insist on meeting the entire founding team, not just the CEO.

 

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