Starting at a seed round company?

Hello! I'm a few years into my sales career and I have a job opportunity a pre series A tech startup. Can anyone give any insight into the pro's and con's for this or have any questions I should be asking to vet the stability/viability of the business? Thanks in advance.

Danyelle's profile thumbnail
Hi @katelynslaight - nice to meet you! Great to hear you're interested in such an early stage company. So many great benefits as well as some risks. I'm a BizOps expert at a series B org so I have some insight here ;-)Here's my TLDR:pros:- equity in the company- ability to create the team, mission, and vision- ability to level-up your career immensely (being the founding member, having oversight, etc)cons or more so questions you should ask:- what's the timeline of raising the next round? (gauging to see if they can last some time in case they don't see revenue)- what's the current burn rate?- do they provide healthcare?- is there a market fit for this product?- who are the investors of this org?- what's their exit strategy?also, happy to chat more via call/zoom/email if you'd like - lmk!
I agree with all of this, and I believe it's slightly different if the company actually has some revenue. If it's a B2B SaaS company it will be expected that they should have at least $1mm in revenue before raising a Series A. It's most likely that the timing of raising the next round is dependent on how @katelynslaight would do in her sales role and whether KPIs are being hit. If she is one of the first sales hires and she's not generating the revenue and/or KPIs to hit the milestones needed to raise the next round, she'd probably be fired pretty quickly.So I think in addition to asking about the burn rate, it could make sense to ask about where they currently are in terms of revenues and the milestones expected to be needed for raising the next round (since she'll probably have to help hit them).
lindsayliu's profile thumbnail
Hi Katelyn, As a seed round founder, I'm always excited to hear (especially women) making the leap to join something earlier stage. There are SO many pros; i.e. opportunities to leapfrog in capabilities and responsibility level that are hard to find at larger or more established organizations if that is something that excites you. It's partly about your confidence in your capabilities and making the bet on yourself that can generate equity upside as well as skills/future employment upside.With regards to other things to look out for, especially since you're going to be on the sales side and part of the team responsible for getting to revenue traction, I would add to the very good list from @Danyelle:- Who else is responsible for selling? Are they people you believe in, can learn from, and do they have the right capabilities to get the company to the next stage?- What is their planned burned rate for hiring, investing in sales/marketing growth, etc.- Do you believe in the vision for the company? The product as it is or will be in the near term/MVP? - Do your personal sales goals feel realistic given the above? Do the team sales goals feel realistic? Can they walk you through their models for how they think about revenue traction: target customers, monetization strategy, numbers to back into those sales & revenue goals.- Would you, in a sales capacity, have the ability to influence the company and product? This is something I believe strongly in—sales teams are on the ground talking to customers every single day, who better to have a feedback loop into what customers care about/would be willing to pay and stay for?
haleyh's profile thumbnail
I agree with everything written here (and would emphasize the product-market fit piece). There's two other things I think you should consider:- Is a small/young startup a good fit for you? For example in a small startup, you'll need to wear lots of hats. So you might be a BDR/AE/AM all rolled into one. There might be some marketing things you need to jump on because there's no one else to catch that ball. If it sounds exciting to get to touch on lots of different roles and responsibilities, then it's likely something you'd thrive in (even if it sounds a little scary right now :) ). If you prefer a well-defined role then maybe it's not the best for you.- Ask them what they expect the growth trajectory to be for your role. Are they planning on hiring someone in and then promoting them to a manager position or are they building a team with the intention of hiring a seasoned manager later on? It might help to ask how they've built out other teams. But it's a good thing to be aligned on, so you know what you can expect.Happy to chat if that'd be helpful!