By its very nature, a startup has no track record, little or no story to tell, and it may not even yet have a website. This is particularly the case if the startup is in stealth mode, a sort of secret early stage, when the founders make an effort to be as invisible as possible. So how do you research such a company?
Here are three suggestions to get you started:
- If the interviewee/recruiter calls ahead of time and gets a list of the people he/she would interview with, then you could go on Google or LinkedIn to find out more about that person’s history. This would probably give some insight into the company, even if the website isn’t very robust.
- A good website is fairly costly to create and maintain, so an early start-up might not have the time or energy for it. But they probably have enough bandwidth to tweet, post to Facebook, or list themselves on startup websites. (Editors’ note: Here are some sites where you can find startups: StartupSearch, go2web20, and GeekWire. For more sites see SocialCompare, a site that’s a startup itself.) Even personal accounts are worth looking into if you can find them. Seeing what a CEO of a startup tweets can provide some insights.
- Early startups like to network. There is a good chance members of the start-up will be attending some networking event in the area. VentureCafe is a great one in the Cambridge, Mass. area, and it’s low pressure and a drop-in sort of thing. Every high tech area has at least one. You might get lucky and get some facetime with someone at the company you’re applying to without any effort at all.