Answer by Manish Reddy:
It depends based on what you want out of the startup. Startups are always risky, even if the team has a raised some capital. Even if the founders give you equity or ESOPs, they are only worth if the startup gets acquired or does an IPO. The chance of that happening in India as per the stats, is fairly low. So, If you solely working there so that you might get rich if that startup succeeds, don’t bother to join one.
As a startup employee, you are more like investor. You are not investing any money as such but you are investing time, energy and probably taking a pay cut to join them. You need a exit strategy in mind for the worst case scenario.
You have to take a call whether you want to join based on some factors.
- How good are the founders? Do they have good skillset to implement their vision?
- How good is the team? Do they have the diverse skills needed to make the startup to next level?
- Do you feel connected to what the startup wants to achieve in the long term?
- What do they expect out of you? Is that worth learning/doing?
- Is the pay cut worth the learning experience the startup is going to provide?
- Will your skillset improve if you wish to move on after a year or so? Will other companies value what you have learnt?
If you are able to answer the above questions with a yes, they you don’t have to think much as they cash to manage for 2 years.
Answer by Manish Reddy:
It is a very good learning experience. You can explore, learn a lot, get to know a few people working in your area of interest.
A piece of advice:
Internship at a startup in First or Second Year could be a good learning experience. Assuming Third year is for Core/University Research Internship depending on your preferences.
Generally, interns are hired for 2 reasons by startups.
1. To find potential employees from interns
2. Do work which full-time employees find boring and turns out to be costly for the startup.
Look for the startup internships of first kind and Avoid the second type of internships. Look for the ones which want to invest time on you and see you as a potential employee. Have clear idea of what you will work on during the internship period and Don’t work for free.
P.S: I was offered an internship during my third year summer at another startup and at a Big Company (Fortune 500, Leader in their vertical). I decided to ditch the startup for the Big Company and turned out that they didn’t care much their interns. Though I enjoyed a lot during those 2 months in Bangalore, it was no where near what I learnt during the previous summer.