Working in software startup

The word startup has become a trendy term, but what exactly does it mean? What does it mean to work in a startup? And is the hip startup life for you?
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Definition of a startup

A startup is described on the Internet as follows: “A recently founded company with an innovative business idea and high growth potential." Source: Startup scene.

Therefore, not every newly founded company can be defined as a startup. The important prerequisite of an original and innovative problem solution must not be missing.

What exactly is software?

The Duden describes software as follows: “Non-technical-physical functional component of a data processing system." Source: Dictionary.

Translated: a component of a computer that is not physical. The operating system of the PC, such as Windows, is software, just like the programs installed on it. The opposite of software is hardware. As the word suggests, it is the "hard" part of the computer. In other words, everything you can touch.

And when the terms are put together… 

... the word software startup emerges. We can therefore describe a software startup as a company that grows quickly with an innovative, digital business idea.

Startup clichés

So what is it like to work in a startup? There are a lot of clichés, some of which we can confirm. But let's go through them and confirm or deny the clichés. 

Let's start with the classics

All startups have a soccer table 

We can't speak for all startups, but we have one - and it's used a lot during breaks. And every now and then we also organize a table football tournament. 

Cliché fulfilled? Absolutely. 

A beer cabinet is included! 

It had to come... and yes, FoxBase also fulfills this cliché. Firstly, in our defense: the cupboard is not only filled with beer, but also with various non-alcoholic soft drinks. And secondly, the beer would simply be missing when we hold our meetups on the roof terrace in the summer... 

Cliché fulfilled? Yes. 

Dress code = Adiletten 

Yes and no. At FoxBase, everyone comes as they feel comfortable. For some, that means wearing slippers (especially in summer) and sweatpants, but for others, they prefer to wear a shirt or a blazer. We don't care how our employees dress - it doesn't change their skills, creativity or team spirit. 

Cliché fulfilled? Everyone can interpret it for themselves. 

An office dog as a feel-good manager. 

Every now and then our marketing vixen Gabriela takes lovely Terra to the office with her. But she is not in the office every day, so we don't say in general that we have an office dog. However, dogs are welcome - as long as they behave. But that goes without saying.  

Cliche fulfilled? Yeah.

Of course, these clichés don't have much to do with actually working in a startup. So which clichés can we confirm or deny about working in a startup? 

A startup is a great way to start a career.  

Yes! Working in a startup is a great opportunity, especially for young graduates. The average age in startups is around 30 years. At FoxBase, the average is 27 years. Since startups are generally only a few years old, they are open to new ideas and concepts. Employees can be very actively involved right from the start and grow together with the company. However, it must also be said that it is not a requirement to come straight from university. Those with professional experience are also welcome in startups!  

Cliché fulfilled? Certainly. 

Motivation and culture fit are more important than academic career and grades. 

We have to be transparent here and say that school careers and grades are not completely unimportant to us. We value grades, school careers and everything related to them, but above all projects and similar things that applicants are proud of. We are always delighted when an applicant can demonstrate experience abroad or has completed a practical project during their studies. Last but not least, culture fit is very important to us. We have to function as a team and work together towards a goal. It is therefore very important to us that new employees fit well into the team and are motivated. 

Cliché fulfilled? Yes and no. 

Startups lack internal structure 

Since many startups have only been founded recently, there is a cliché that startups are not structured. That may be the case for some, but honestly, they don't last long either. FoxBase is already six years old - an old hand in the business. So we've had time to "perfect" the internal structure and we would say we've achieved that goal. Of course, there's always room for improvement and we're learning something new every day. 

Cliché fulfilled? Negative.

The always-on mentality of a startup employee 

A common cliché about startups is that employees have to be always on. Long days in the office, little vacation and overtime. Not at FoxBase! The work-life balance of our employees is important to us. Free time is there to relax, recharge your batteries, spend time with friends and family and pursue hobbies.  

Cliche fulfilled? Nope.

Flat hierarchies and short communication channels 

Let's end with a particularly positive cliché that we can confirm 100%. At FoxBase, communication takes place on an equal footing. We are all on first-name terms here and do not follow a traditional hierarchy. Of course, there are superiors and team leads. However, that does not mean that an intern has less freedom to implement their own ideas than the team lead. 

Cliche fulfilled? Yes, sir.

From the clichés mentioned, certain advantages and disadvantages can be seen. Here are some more: 

Advantages

  • Hands-on mentality: Startups are all about getting things done and FoxBase is no different. The internal structure enables us to quickly put our tasks into action and to actively and practically contribute our own knowledge. 
  • A startup is malleable: As an employee of a young startup, you can help shape the company to some extent. You will experience the early successes and learn from the initial mistakes. Because fuckups happen too and should be shared! 
  • Feedback culture is very important: Most startups place a lot of emphasis on a healthy and detailed feedback culture. Whether this is done through weekly 1on1s, half-yearly surveys followed by a detailed feedback discussion or ad hoc praise from teammates, it always depends on the individual. Startups use a mixture of different techniques to give their employees feedback.  

Disadvantages

  • No 9 to 5 job: In many startups, there is an above-average workload compared to, for example, large companies. But there is also a certain amount of freedom that gives the work meaning. Working in a startup often means reaching the top level of Maslow's hierarchy of needs - self-actualization.   
  • The younger, the more insecure: Typically, 80% to 90% of startups fail within the first few years. It takes time for a company to gain a foothold, build up a notable customer base and awareness among the target group. Large companies have already survived this uncertain time and objectively represent a more secure place of work for many. 

Startup, yes or no? 

Finally, you should ask yourself whether you want to work for a startup. But the question is the same for large companies.  

If you are looking for a job and are sure that a startup is exactly the right fit for you, now is the time to research the company. Can you identify with the company values? Do the tasks appeal to you? Is the startup active in an industry that is also interesting for you? And finally, do you have time to improve your soccer skills before your first day of work? 😉  

If the advantages outweigh the disadvantages for you, you should take a look at our Career page and see if there is something suitable for you. 

Contact

We look forward to your inquiry about the Digital Product Selector. Let's digitize B2B sales together in a sustainable way!
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