Comp At Startups

If you're at a startup hoping to make millions on exit in 3 years, think again. Most of my 12 year career has been at startups, and I've seen very few examples of successful exits, where ICs have a signifiant payday.

However, I strongly suggest spending at least a few years in startup world. Unlike bigger corps, you will learn all sorts of practical skills, across the stack. I've done everything from FE to BE, to Devops, Data Viz, customer support, solutions engineering.

You will build a network of friends, who will join larger companies. Having a friends vouch for you is the best way to get into a company.

Here's a little list of startups I've been in and their exit outcomes

  • One got to Series D, raised $200M, sold to someone at a loss. Everyone came out with nothing except the CEO

  • Another got to Series D…and is staying there indefinitely

  • A few more was just too burnt out to vest. But I think they’re still like Series B max (it's been 7 years)

  • One kinda just shut down before Series a and didn’t pay me last few months. One ex coworker has been trying to sue for 7 years

  • My gf’s brother and his fiancé were like the 100-something employees at Twitch, which you’d think is pretty well known. Sold to Microsoft. I don’t know what they got, but they’re not popping the champagne.

  • I know someone who’s company got sold to Tesla. He did ok. But nothing life changing.

  • Literally the only folks I’ve personally heard of get anything life changing were founders or C-level folks. I personally know more crypto and domain millionaires than startup ones.

So if you’re in it for the money, go for big tech or finance. With that said, it’s an awesome place to get experience. I absolutely would not have gotten the job if I didn’t have this experience.

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