I often get asked for help by recent grads looking to break into the tech world. They come from technical and non-technical backgrounds but don’t have any context of where they should begin. I generally recommend these folks join companies well past the Series A funding (where startups have raised $3MM+ or have 25+ people) which are entering “growth stage” typically associated with (Series B-C) rounds. Seed stage (some capital in or <25 people) or companies that just raised their Series A are just too early. Here’s my reasoning:
1. Most people looking for jobs and not making jobs don’t have enough initiative to thrive in seed stage startups.
They generally want something fast paced compared to the corporate world but they aren’t really ready to be left alone and expected to just deliver results. At the seed stage, no one really has the time to explain things to you since they may be figuring things out too or they are too resource strapped to add another to-do their list.
2. Most recent grads still want some level of stability but are willing to take some risks
Recent grads rarely have the financial security to work for nothing but they want to have the chance to make a lot. Mid-stage startups approaching Series B or C are more proven opportunities with plenty of upside left. They also aren’t going anywhere so the grads don’t have to worry about being out of a job in a year.
3. Most recent grads want to wide exposure
They don’t know yet what they’re capable of or will enjoy so they want to try a lot of things. Unless you join a huge multinational company with a rotational program, you don’t have much opportunity as companies get bigger to try a lot of things and have a lot of responsibilities. You start specializing quickly at larger entities, generally post Series C or pre-IPO (120+ employees). Companies post Series A but pre Series C are in the sweet spot because so much still needs to get done and there just aren’t enough people to do it all so you can just step up or volunteer.
I also may be biased since I’m running such a company transitioning to growth stage and we’ve been hiring a lot of new talent. However, I do think when we hired young talent in our seed stage, we may have been a little bit early to best utilize them and I’ve seen many recent grads end up being poor fits for startups that are too early. If you’re a recent grad hungry for opportunity, I encourage you to apply to PaperG.