Taro Logo

Need help evaluating start-up offers (Series C Unicorn vs. Series B)

Profile picture
Mid-Level Software Engineer [E4] at Meta2 months ago

Hi Taro community,

Seeking your help in evaluating two offers that I received from two start-up companies.

  • (1) In general, in such situations how do you suggest researching about the companies and determining which company and offer is better.
  • (2) I am also concerned how my future job potential will be affected and so I want to take the decision accordingly.
    (3) In this particular case, my offers are as follows,
  • company A
    • Unicorn (post money valuation: $1B-$10B), Industry: Ad Tech (ML and cloud infra based), Last funding type: Series C, Total funding amount: $190M, Estimated revenue range: $1M - $10M, Founded in 2013 by ex-googler,
    • I have seen several folks joined from FAANG companies (eg, Google)
    • Offer: base $160K, bonus: 24K, Equity: $88K (not sellable now, but the company is expecting to go for IPO in one year)
  • company B
    • Emerging Unicorn (post money valuation: $500M-$1B), Industry: Healthcare/AI, Last funding type: Series B, Total funding amount: $120M, Estimated revenue range: $1M - $10M, Founded in 2017
    • Among big techs, I have found just one person from AWS who joined this company
    • offer: base $190K, no bonus, Equity: 114K (not sellable now, the company is expecting to go for IPO in 2-4 years). I may be able to negotiate this offer.

Thanks in advance for any kind of suggestions/comments.

1 Like
113 Views
5 Comments
👑

Discussion

(5 comments)
  • Alex Chiou
    Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero, PayPal
    2 months ago

    In general, in such situations how do you suggest researching about the companies and determining which company and offer is better.

    Aside from going through your network and the online grapevine, startups are tricky as they're small. For a great discussion about this, I recommend going through this thread, also from a mid-level FAANG engineer evaluating startups fittingly enough.

    I am also concerned how my future job potential will be affected and so I want to take the decision accordingly.

    Is the idea to optimize against not getting laid-off? The Series C company might be better then, especially if they're feeling confident about going public in 1 year. I imagine the execs are smart enough to realize that you need much better finances than before to IPO in this economy.

    That being said, these offers seem quite similar to me. Similar sized companies, even the revenue range is the same. Offers are both around 250-300k TC with the Series B one being slightly higher if my math is correct and with more guaranteed cash.

    To help with this, check out our video on the absolute first thing you need to do when evaluating your next job move. Stack-ranking your priorities will probably help here - Feel free to update this thread if you end up making a list.

    2 Likes
  • Mid-Level Software Engineer [E4]
    Mid-Level Software Engineer [E4] [OP]
    Meta
    2 months ago

    Hi Alex, thanks for your detailed answer! I checked out the two links and they are very helpful.

    "Is the idea to optimize against not getting laid-off?" --- Right. And also I want this job to look good on my resume which can help me find another job in the future in a good team, for example in FAANG.

    I tried to come up with a stack-rank of my priorities. They are as follows in non-increasing order: Relative Company prestige (which will help me find a job in good team for example in a FAANG company), Compensation, Work-life balance, Stability, Supportiveness of team, Growth opportunities.

    Thanks for sharing your overall opinion about the companies. I am also leaning towards company A (although guaranteed cash in the offer is little less here), mainly because of the fact that they are confident to go for IPO in one year and the fact that I have seen some senior engineers and managers joining from big techs which gives me a sense of confidence.

    You mentioned about online grapevines. I checked Blind and glassdoor for company culture and crunchbase for financials. Let me know if you would suggest anything else in particular.

    Finally really appreciate your taking the time to review my question and provide such helpful answer.

    0 Likes
  • Alex Chiou
    Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero, PayPal
    2 months ago

    And also I want this job to look good on my resume which can help me find another job in the future in a good team, for example in FAANG.

    The vast majority of the impact for your resume comes from the first FAANG company - Adding more is very incremental. Since you have already worked at Meta, I wouldn't worry too much about company prestige, especially for startups. Most recruiters will scan your resume, see that you have a FAANG company somewhere in it, and auto give you a phone screen (assuming you live in a relevant geography and spent a decent amount of time there).

    They are as follows in non-increasing order: Relative Company prestige (which will help me find a job in good team for example in a FAANG company), Compensation, Work-life balance, Stability, Supportiveness of team, Growth opportunities.

    All important things! My 2 cents is that "Supportiveness of team" should be #1 or very near the top. All the TC and company prestige in the world isn't worth it if you're miserable. I want every engineer (especially those in the Taro community) to have a happy career 😊

    For example, I wouldn't take an offer that's 50k or even 100k more than another if there were clear red flags about the manager and team. If you're currently at Meta, I can't imagine that you're too strapped for cash.

    You mentioned about online grapevines. I checked Blind and glassdoor for company culture and crunchbase for financials. Let me know if you would suggest anything else in particular.

    Those are the main ones. I would take them with a grain of salt too as Blind makes every company in the world seem like the worst, and Glassdoor tends to be overly positive as companies will pay Glassdoor to show positive reviews more prominently and inflate their score.

    Unless you have close connections that work at the company, the majority of your signal will come from how well you can read them during the interview process.

    1 Like
  • Mid-Level Software Engineer [E4]
    Mid-Level Software Engineer [E4] [OP]
    Meta
    2 months ago

    Thanks very much Alex! This has been very helpful. Highly appreciate.

    1 Like
  • Rahul Pandey
    Tech Lead/Manager at Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
    2 months ago

    One thing to ask: what valuation you’re getting these shares? Ideally, you don’t want to come in at the 2021 valuation, when in reality the stock is marked down 30-50% now.

    A negotiation tactic: when you're ready to sign, just say "I will sign if you can provide a $20K sign-on bonus". Most companies are able to throw some signing bonus if they know you'll commit.

    0 Likes