I love working with very early stage startups. Having been at various sized companies - from 2 to 60,000 - I’ve always been happiest when the teams are smaller. I’ve built Quantum Startups by focusing on the 2-20 employee sized startups, and it’s been going very well.
Late last year I got an email from a great friend and Adviser looking for a recruiter for her current startup. I’ve always wanted to work with her, so I humbly suggested myself for the role. I’ve been working at Skybox Imaging for 6 weeks now and things are going very well. The company has grown from ~55 to ~60 and the recruiting machine is starting to run very well.
A few weeks ago I got another email from a good friend and Client, asking if she could introduce me to the CTO of Bonobos. I said I’d be happy to talk to him, but I prefer earlier/smaller stage startups and my network in NYC has gotten much smaller since I left over a decade ago.
But why Bonobos? Because pants. And…
1) I like working with my friends.
That’s probably the biggest benefit of being independant and being lucky enough to be in demand. I have to say no a lot (which sucks) but I also get to work with really smart and talented people, who I also get to call my friends. All the great Engineers, Developers and Designers out there know exactly how this feels. When given multiple options (offers), people tend to choose working with people they genuinely like. And getting a strong intro from someone I trust counts for a lot.
2) I like building teams from scratch.
Bonobos is a very well established startup, with ~70 people in their NYC headquarters. But Mike was hired from Netflix as their new CTO and they’re building out a team in Palo Alto from the ground up. Right now it’s just two guys! There are a ton of positions open and we get to hand-select a team from the best talent ecosystem for startups in the whole world (sorry NYC, I still love ya!).
3) I love Startups that people love.
Love is a strong word, and Robin Chase summed it up best yesterday at Women 2.0 Pitch (see my post below). I’m getting a bit tired of all these Entrepreneurs saying they are so “passionate”, and are going to “change the world” with yet another social-mobile-local-game-photo-sharing app. The reality is that you’re not. But that’s okay. We should build products and companies that people will love. If you’ve been able to find great fitting clothes off-the-rack, then lucky you. But Bonobos customers love them. They honestly do! That’s definitely something I can get behind.