3 min read

Pick a startup - find a job

Pick a startup - find a job
Photo by kub liz / Unsplash

Inspired by the reader's comment below, a practical framework for how to think, research and find the best jobs in the tech market.

The early options that matter have already matured and there are just not enough high-growth early stage startups that a) are not a scam b) build products that make sense. Vinted, Teso, Kilo, and others are just able to outcompete early stage startups with their late-venture powered salaries. Anyone with a desire to switch jobs would have to join companies that are just building add-ons or are scamming people. Show me a company that is in early enough stage and has a big potential upside?

This message did hit home. One of the reasons Tech Philomaths newsletter got started was to educate and encourage people to build - and join - startups. It kind of sucks if the market is tricky to navigate and talented people lack opportunities.

Lithuania has everything to offer - a mix of great stuff, as well as less attractive opportunities. Keep it smart to find the best ones for your career since it is such an important decision.

"Too few opportunities overall"

  • Don't limit to Lithuania - see across Baltics. Review portfolios or get in touch with Baltic VCs if you find a startup you would like to meet.
  • Startups with Lithuania component but launched abroad. From the US to Asia, there are plenty of tech startups with some LT connections, and quite a few of them hire locally. Some remarkable examples are Chronosphere, Argyle, CAST AI, or smaller / recent Algori, Spike Technologies.
  • Jump on remote position, pick wisely - it should lift and position you in the future even better, once you see something locally.

Unicorns Lithuania - all startup list. Try sorting which ones grow headcount, or increase tax spending, they are on the right track

Investment rounds (see which raised recently) - LT, LV, EST

Baltic investment rounds via Ventury.app

Portfolios of main VC funds in the Baltics, especially early stage (Firstpick, for example). Try connecting with the best ones right before they raise the seed round or so.

Job openings - again Unicorns Lithuania, but naturally dominated by scale-ups. LinkedIn, too (add "stock options" or "equity" to the search). But both methods are not ideal - you still need to visit websites and contact founders directly, it is the smartest way.

"Too few early-stage companies with big potential upside"

  • Yes and no. Vinted and Nord Security have not been companies with big upsides until they proved it wrong. At the pre-seed/seed stage, it is almost impossible to guess (if you can, choose a venture investor career better). There is a reason why VCs invest in 20-40 early-stage companies - because they cannot predict either, and have to optimise for a handful of bets.
  • This means that picking an early-state startup will be a bet for you, too.
  • You've got to think like an investor choosing the startup. Search for an impressive founding team, early traction or substantial product idea, and proof of rapid execution. These teams also tend to receive larger initial funding rounds (review who has recently received capital), but this is not the rule, some will go bootstrapping.
  • The earlier you join, the more upside is there - but also there is no "floor".
  • For some senior talent with deeper pockets - join LitBAN as an investor and get exposed to many teams early, investor or join them.
  • The number of startups with potential upside keeps increasing. Even for the most recent announcements, teams at Amlyze, Spike, GoRamp, and Life Sciences startups - are very worth a close look.
  • There is plenty of upside for global winners - even if you join late. The likes of PVcase or Hostinger seem already sizeable, but they are tiny compared to the opportunity if they take a global leadership within a category.
  • Negotiate upside (stock options) - many people still underestimate it when signing a contract.

"Not enough meaningful/substantial products"

  • True in some respect - because great opportunities (great team, awesome important product, commercial traction, etc) are scarce. Plus, everyone is after them.
  • Recognize that the best opportunities don't always look shiny (investors have been passing Vinted because they were searching for high-tech, and best investors have been passing AirBnB for a gazillion other reasons).
  • Think about what vertical/industry is exciting for you and check players there. Of course, Lithuanians have tried it all (including crypto, ICOs, among other things) but there is a number of world-class plays in marketplaces, space tech, laser, defence technologies, life sciences, and many more.

Hope it helps and send a note about what to add!