So there’s one clear source of unhappiness in SaaS hiring.  Folks want to join “hot” startups, at least some do.  But do they know what they are signing up for?

The 2021 Boom was an odd time.  Hot startups were the easier jobs.  1000+ Unicorns were born, flooded with capital, sales efficiency didn’t matter, and buyers were buying SaaS products at a rate we hadn’t seen before.  Net net, the “hotter” the startup, the easier in many ways the job was.

Fast forward to today, there are still plenty of hot startups.  More are in AI or Vertical SaaS or Security than some traditional parts of B2B, but they are still there.

But understand, the bar remains the same today for a venture-backed startup:  Triple, Triple, Double, Double.  Or Better.

That ain’t easy.  It’s not a 20 hour a week job.  It’s not a side hustle.  And importantly, it’s not a “best efforts” job.

Collin Cadmus, ex-VP of Sales at Aircall, had a great post reminding folks of this on LinkedIn:

There are still plenty of unicorns in tech today, and plenty of great startups.  But there’s no free ride.

If you really want to join a Hot Startup, push for that job, that package, etc. understand founders and VCs are still looking for the inherent growth it takes to get to an IPO in 10 years or less:

  • $1m to $3m ARR in 1 year, or less
  • $3m to $10m ARR in 1 year, or less
  • $10m to $20m ARR in 1 year, or less
  • $20m to $40m ARR in 1 year, or less

That’s the level of velocity it takes to propel you to 50% growth at $200m ARR, or even $500m ARR — what it takes to IPO today.

Less than that can still build an epic company and a great exit.  But it likely will not yield an IPO.

So just understand what you are signing up for, when you decide you’d prefer to join a Super Hot Startup.  Vs. merely maybe … a very good one.

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