Working at a start-up vs. an established company

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Choosing the right cultural fit is half the battle when it comes to finding happiness at work. One of the first decisions most professionals in the tech-heavy Bay Area have to make is whether to look for a role with an established company or a start-up.

While a Fortune 500 might offer stability, security and immediate job cachet, a start-up could be considered a bit of a gamble - but one with the potential of huge payoff.


"More than possible future success and riches, start-ups offer a very different work culture than a corporate job might. For many candidates, the allure of the start-up culture supersedes the stability of working for an established company." - Simon Bromwell, Managing Director, California


For many people, one of the most enticing aspects of working for a start-up is the option to work from anywhere. In the beginning, many start-ups don’t even have an office to work in. Technology is making it increasingly easier to run a business virtually, and many entrepreneurs take advantage of this way to cut expenses in the early days.

If you concentrate better in a loud coffee shop in San Francisco’s Soma District than you do in the sanctity of an office environment, the start-up life might be for you.


When you get in on the ground floor of a company, your ideas matter. You have the opportunity to inject creativity and innovation into your job at a grassroots level, helping contribute to products and ideas that could potentially shape your industry.

If you like to think that your renegade ideas could make a real impact not just on your company but in the tech world in general, working at a start-up might be for you.


Obviously, one of the most exciting things about working for a start-up is the possibility that the company will be wildly successful and you will be a “founding employee”- with all the publicity and tangible rewards (such as considerable equity in the company) that status entails. Not every start-up makes it big, but when they do, those who took a risk and signed on early generally reap the biggest rewards.

Simon Bromwell continues: "If the idea of hitching your star to the next Zuckerberg thrills you, you’re a great candidate for a start-up."

Perks & benefits

Start-up founders often offer imaginative perks and benefits beyond the usual health insurance and vacation time. At Airbnb, headquartered in San Francisco, employees are gifted a $2,000-a-year travel stipend-apropos of their company mission to provide a trusted community marketplace for people to list, discover and book unique accommodations around the world. At Evernote, in Redwood City, employees get a free shuttle to work (which includes breakfast, coffee and wi-fi), a free phone and phone service and a monthly cleaning service for their homes - presumably so they’re motivated to spend less time at home cleaning and more time in the office working. If you want to be able to bring your dog to work every day, a start-up might be for you.

Find out more about what start-ups look for in new hires.

Start your job search today.

For many candidates, the allure of the start-up culture supersedes the stability of working for an established company.

For more information, please contact:
Simon Bromwell, Managing Director
+1 415.549.2000

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