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How to choose a company to work for

How to choose a company to work for

I've had the chance to speak to the remote HackReactor class yesterday about how to find a company to work for when they graduate.

I usually don't like to publish slide decks without all the context of the talk, but don't really have time for more.

In the talk I explained how the choice of company is really the biggest thing that matters, as well as how to determine which companies are on a breakout trajectory. It's usually fairly easy to do.

There's an example where someone asked me which company to join in late 2010, and Airbnb was the top pick even just after their series A.

When I was looking for companies to join, I interviewed at Stripe and AngelList 4+ years ago, and it was already clear they would both be enormous.

More information and a great list of companies can be found on www.breakoutlist.com


Stefano Bernardi

October 14, 2015


  1. How to choose a company to work for Stefano Bernardi

  2. Who am I?

  3. A startup employee is essentially an investor Time Money* Skills

    Clout / Brand Network * Completely illiquid for years. Need 4+ years to vest. Have to pay to get it. who only gets one shot.
  4. Not every startup is created equal “All our advice on

    Silicon Valley careers is based on a simple idea: that your choice of company trumps everything else. It’s more important than your job title, your pay or your responsibilities.” Andy Rachleff
  5. What stage? The biggest question

  6. Reward Stage Pre-Seed Seed A B Growth Scale Medium Low

    High Financial reward Learning reward Career reward Risk
  7. “I prefer to see them take their first jobs after

    graduation at midsized companies with momentum, not startups, because they are the companies most likely to be big successes. No one will remember if you were employee 20 or 120. Everyone wants to recruit or back people from successful companies because they know/think people carry the lessons of success with them” Andy Rachleff Not every stage is created equal
  8. It’s fairly clear who the breakout companies are Had just

    done a Series A Now worth $25B Acquired for $50M, founder now runs YC Had raised Series C Now worth $5B Was worth $1B, got to $30B, now $20B Twitter has a cool associate role
  9. Founders Investors Product Fit Things to consider while making your

    list Depending on the stage, the most important thing Can you see yourself spending 4 years working on a logging application? What about gambling? The product a company creates is the best way to judge the company itself
  10. Where to find startups 1/ What products do you love

    the most? 2/ AngelList 3/ Network 4/ Mattermark 5/ Crunchbase 6/ Job search 7/ VC Portfolios
  11. Quick list of interesting companies to join as of Oct

  12. Culture Offer Team Role Things to consider after interviewing NOT

    IMPORTANT!! Can always change! VERY IMPORTANT!!! Will not change!!
  13. Financials to consider • # of options granted • #

    of shares outstanding • strike price • vesting schedule • exercise period • how many more rounds before exit / IPO? valuation # of shares outstanding ( ) # of options * - strike price = PROFIT
  14. Examples • 0.1% • $20M strike price • 50% dilution

    valuation # of shares outstanding ( ) # of options * - strike price = PROFIT • $200M = ~$90K • $2B = ~$1M • $200B = ~$100M • 1% • $2M strike price • 70% dilution • $200M = ~$600k • $2B = ~$6M • $200B = ~$600M • 0.01% • $200M strike price • 30% dilution • $200M = ~$0K • $2B = ~$90k • $200B = ~$1M
  15. Q&A ste@bernardi.me

  16. THANK YOU ste@bernardi.me