Startup founder must find a day job

Hey all. I’m a non-tech founder of a physical tech startup. I’ve been building the business for about a year. We’ve got traction in a whole bunch of areas (team, product, customers, partners, etc.) but have not been able to bring on a significant funding round.

Much of the issue of the fundraising is due to me being based in Europe right now for family reasons and not being able to network and connect with funding sources in the US, our target market. I am looking for ways to get back to the US and get into a startup eco-system, but dont have the cash on hand to make the move without investment or support of some kind.

If not able to quickly attract funding, my other idea is to get a job in a market I want my startup to be in (ala SF) and use that as a jumping off point. From there I can work full time for another firm and use my free time to work and network for my startup.

My question is, when applying for full time work, how can I position my startup experience in a way that highlights my abilities to excel in the job, without scaring them off that once my startup gets funded I’m going to quit their firm?

  • If I were you, I would try to get into a Contract opportunity, either contract-to-hire/temp job or work on your own. I don’t know your lifestyle/$$$ needs but that setup gives you the flexibility needed. Plus, keep in mind that a funding round typically doesn’t happen overnight, you will at least have a 30 day notice, so to say, from the time you connect with a potential investor to when you get funded. Depending on your job occ, look for firms contracting you out, as that might be the easiest for getting some income. Easier said than done, I know, but it’s a start and who knows how your contacts from that will help your funding need.

  • If its obvious your startup is still alive and you’re the CEO on the website, its going to be difficult to position yourself when finding a job. Perhaps you can remove your name from the website and say that you’re now an “advisor” and someone else is running it.

    A lot of companies in the Bay Area know that everyone has a startup “on the side” even if they don’t talk about it so they may not be as hesitant as you think to hire you if you are a good fit. They know most of these startups don’t take off anyways.

    • Replying to my own comment. Many companies won’t mind you having your startup on the side as long as its not in direct competition on what they’re doing.

  • Potential obstacles:
    1. Work visa
    2. US business ways
    3. US way of comm / interviewing
    4. Your side biz = you won’t stay long

    Stay where you are, get a job and make some money to keep your startup alive and then come to the US to work on it fulltime. Visa question remains though.

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