Tech startups are arguably the most exciting place in all of business. It’s here where people come together and literally decide what the future will look like. Where would we be today if the founders of Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Facebook had never existed? Nowhere probably.
Given the excitement, it should come as no surprise that it is the aspiration of many to head up their own tech startups. Perhaps their ambitions are more modest than the likes of Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg, but their desire to do something in the digital world is just as strong. What’s more, they see opportunity. The tech startup sector is still a thriving hub of innovation with startups receiving enormous valuations. Uber, Airbnb, Snapchat and Lending Club are all unicorns with billion-dollar valuations, despite being relatively young companies.
So what should you do if you want to be the CEO of a tech startup? Take a look at some of these ideas.
Become An “Entrepreneur In Residence”
Venture capital firms have a lot of money sloshing about. And so when they see an idea that they want to pursue, they want to have people in place immediately who know how to run a business and can generate a return. This is where so-called “entrepreneurs in residence” come in. They’re people with the necessary skills to put their venture capital investment to good use, organizing a startup from the ground up to be productive and turn a profit. The good news is that being an entrepreneur in residence means you’ll often get first refusal for taking on new projects. However, to actually become one of these entrepreneurs, you usually need to have a pre-existing relationship with the VC firm.
Do Some Executive Search
Another place budding tech entrepreneurs can find their ideal job at a startup is through an executive search firm. These companies work with tech startups (as well as other startups) and provide these companies with people who have proven leadership skills in business. Often tech startups are founded by people with great ideas but who find it difficult to market their ideas effectively once they’ve created a product. They then reach out to a recruitment firm and ask them to find them a company executive who can take the business forwards.
If you want to be that person, you’ll need to work hard to build a relationship with an executive recruiter. The best thing to do is to start building a portfolio now with a proven track record of success. Once you feel you’ve got the acumen, the next step is to try and get a warm intro with the search company which will hopefully lead to a role at the helm of a rocket ship startup.
CEO jobs are rarely highly marketed. Instead, they’re doled out following internal conversations within the upper echelons of business networks. The key to getting a recommendation is to find a way to bypass the gatekeepers of this network and go straight to the people who matter. Make as many “weak ties” as you can and wait and hope you get the call.