What do you look for in a startup?

Never worked at a start up before and don't know much about them. For those with experience in this area, what do you look for in a start up? I've heard some people make small fortunes off of start ups but I've also heard my fair share of horror stories.

💡 Education/Resources
19
saaskicker
Celebrated Contributor
6
Enterprise AE
Funding, who backed them, did they back other companies that were successful. If they don't have much funding, as a sales person it's a huge risk and you'll get lowballed on salary.

Leadership - is this a first time founder? or have they had exits in the past that were impressive?

Product - do they have product market fit, or looking towards it. Ask for a few examples of clients, if you haven't heard of any of them, they probably haven't gotten to the product market fit phase. 
BlueJays2591
Politicker
0
Business Development Manager
start ups are just a different ball game coming from large enterprise. I appreciate the response! 
Rallier
Politicker
4
SDR Manager and Consultant
To me, funding isn't actually that important. Basically every Saas company has raised a massive round at some point recently. Look at what the leadership team has done in the past. Were they successful? Do they stick around for a while? Do you like them?
BlueJays2591
Politicker
0
Business Development Manager
I'm a stickler on leadership. I need good leadership or it just won't work.
CaptainSaas
3
Head of Sales
The founders. - belief, work ethic, vision, leadership, and passion. - no amount of funding can fix a broken mindset
cw95
Politicker
2
Sales Development Lead
100% culture. Start-Ups are fast paced, happy & angry, cool & down, the good times equal the bad times, but if the culture is there and there are people you get on with (which is hard initially) you'll be good. Sometimes you can create the culture. 
The downside is that you're expected to work all the time and be almost proud of what you are doing. 

It depends. As you said, lots of horror stories, but isn't that like every company? 
BlueJays2591
Politicker
1
Business Development Manager
Very true, there's horror stories in start ups and enterprise alike. 
aiko
Politicker
2
Sr. Account Executive
Are they a sales driven startup or an engineer driven startup. 

Sales driven startups will listen to the sales team and what prospects want to see. Engineer driven startups will disregard what prospects are asking for and it will hurt your sales. Read "New Sales. Simplified." It goes deep into how important this is from the get go. 
BmajoR
Arsonist
0
Account Executive
This is so true 1000%. My company is engineering focused and while it has its pros, our CXOs disregard salespeople to the max and luckily i'm just here to gain enough experience to move into a better company but they will be screwed in the long run. 
braintank
Politicker
1
Enterprise Account Executive
1) ARR growth (50% y/y for past 3 years at least)
2) Net dollar retention (>110%)
3) Who the sales leader is (have they scaled before)
Justatitle
Politicker
1
Mid Market AE
Funding, what does their lead flow look like, are their reps hitting quota for the most part, how’s demand gen, and do I like the person I’m interviewing with?
aiko
Politicker
0
Sr. Account Executive
Also ask for MQL -> SQL stats. This will give you a better gauge on their lead quality. 
ExtremeVibeChecker44
Arsonist
1
Inside Sales
Do they have private offices, especially for programmers? For salespeople it's less of a big deal. But studies (read "Peopleware") have found that programmers are exponentially more productive in private offices. This is why Microsoft is famous for giving everyone an office. Putting your programmers next to caffeinated screaming salespeople = inferior product.
Nairobi
Politicker
1
SR. BDR
I think the most important aspect is the leadership team! My last startup was funded by a great VC but maaan it was bad because their leadership team was shit. The people at the top were there because they were BFF with the CEO... The second most important aspect is the product, is it a market fit, who are the clients, etc.
BlueJays2591
Politicker
0
Business Development Manager
that's what I'm afraid of. I've heard horror stories.
Nairobi
Politicker
1
SR. BDR
I mean honestly, I should have connected the dots, none of them had real experience for their positions. But yes joining a startup is always a risk but I like the challenge, not for everyone though.
BlueJays2591
Politicker
1
Business Development Manager
what has been the most challenging part of start ups for you?
Nairobi
Politicker
1
SR. BDR
Oh great question ummm the most challenging for me is the lack of processes/ressources. I have been figuring everything out on my own and its get annoying sometimes cause I just want a quick answer lol
BlueJays2591
Politicker
1
Business Development Manager
Do they give you good sales resources (i.e. Sales automation tools, prospecting tools like ZoomInfo)?
Nairobi
Politicker
0
SR. BDR
My last startup had everything ZomInfo, Outreach, etc. My current one doesn’t have good tools at all, we use HubSpot for everything and Infotelligent (to get emails).
POWERDIALER
Opinionated
1
VP of Business Development
One thing only… how many option units they are handing out.
The_Sales_Badger
Notorious Answer
1
Account Executive
Leadership - are these the type of people that can get this done with integrity, and compassion for their employees.
bareknuckles
Valued Contributor
1
CEO of my kitchen table
As someone who works at a startup I can say personally it is Founders, product market fit, TAM, competitors
GDO
Politicker
1
BDM
Equity $$

No for real: good product, good product fit with the market (should seem like a no-brainer), good management, good investors with a powerfull network, fun people
Blackwargreymon
Politicker
1
MDR
To me, funding isn't actually that important. Basically every Saas company has raised a massive round at some point recently. Look at what the leadership team has done in the past. Were they successful? Do they stick around for a while? Do you like them?
Clashingsoulsspell
Politicker
1
ISR
Product - do they have product market fit, or looking towards it. Ask for a few examples of clients, if you haven't heard of any of them, they probably haven't gotten to the product market fit phase. 
Theloanemperor
Opinionated
0
Loan Officer
If you see value in the product and you're confident in your ability to identify a target market, create your owns list of leads/prospects, and attack them, I say i'd look for quality of product, potential sales cycle durations, and commission split. I'm 100% commission only employee and if the numbers shake out to enable you to earn what you want - make the leap.
JesterQueen
Politicker
0
ISR
To me, funding isn't actually that important. Basically every Saas company has raised a massive round at some point recently. Look at what the leadership team has done in the past. Were they successful? Do they stick around for a while? Do you like them?
5

Is my startup really a rocketship?

Question
10
21

Need advice : Go to a Big Company (Google/SFDC) or early stage startup [8+ years of Experience]

Advice
35
17

Big company or startup better?

Question
28
which is better to sell for?
Di Ae ap
+194
Diggity ,   AessK ,   apolloxxxh   and 194 people voted
*Voting in this poll no longer yields commission.