The startup ecosystem is vibrant and exciting. There is no shortage of meetups and events catering to entrepreneurs. Co-working spaces, incubators and accelerators, and tech schools are available to provide new skills and offer niche support. More and more books and films have been inspired by this culture, a recent and notable example being Dan Lyons’ widely discussed memoir, Undisruped. It seems like everyone wants to be part of the startup buzz.
But what does it really mean to work at a startup? What makes it different from working at an SME? These were some of the most commonly asked startup career questions during our Live Twitter Q&A with Chris Wilkinson, Head of Talent at Forward Partners. We’ve compiled his answers to give you an insight about the realities of a startup career and the current outlook of the startup landscape… all in 140 characters or less!
I’m currently in corporate, what would be the main benefits of joining a startup?
Long-term value creation. Ownership of role. Personal affinity. Proximity to mission and excitement.
What skills are startups looking for in a Talent?
Positivity is key. Raw smarts, energy, passion and loyalty – people always forget loyalty.
How do you think it can be possible to redirect one’s career after 45?
Use your subject matter expertise to offer advice to startups. Look at NED roles and or go to Makers Academy.
How can a startup maintain it’s culture but also recruit for diversity?
The culture should be constantly evolving as the business changes. Don’t try to maintain a culture. Embrace change.
What are the best startup sectors for Talent at the moment?
FinTech will be/is big in the UK.
Which area do you see growing the fastest this year?
eSports, FashTech, FinTech (continuing but focus on micro savings, i.e. Acorns), and IoT.
What traditional areas do you think are still to be tapped into by startups?
Risk analysis, copywriting, law. Loads!
What is the biggest challenge startups will face in the coming year?
Brexit. Slowdown in VC investment. Rebalancing of economy. Chronic skills shortage stunting growth.
If any, what are the negatives of joining a startup?
Instability, poor working conditions, long lasting unpaid internships with no prospects, lack of work/life balance. However, these tend to be isolated issues.
How can a startup maintain top Talent as it moves into SMB mode, i.e. less exciting and more process driven/developed?
Fundamentally a different business. Needs different people. Embrace change. Big pull factor: equity and growth.
What are the best startup networking events in London?
Hacker x events, Product Tank, HN London, Every Women, Code bar. (Also try: EXPAND London)
Chris Wilkinson leads our first Q&A.