Finding a Startup CEO Role

In the last month I’ve had two successful tech executives reach out to me looking for help to find a role as the CEO of an early or growth stage startup. Both executives have strong track records and see the CEO role as the next step in their career progression. While there aren’t a number of publicly available open positions for this role (have you ever seen a careers section of a company’s site list CEO as a position available?), they do exist and require extra work to find.

Here are a few thoughts on finding a startup CEO role:

  • Network with local VCs as they often know of opportunities
  • Meet with local angel investors and ask about their portfolio companies
  • Talk to local attorneys and accountants that have a focus on tech startups
  • Ping connections on LinkedIn and ask for introductions
  • Reach out to head hunters and executive recruiters, especially ones that work with startups (look for announcements around other CEO hirings and see if you can find the firm that placed the executive)
  • Decide on the desired stage of the company (e.g. two entrepreneurs in a garage, a million in revenue, post Series A financing, growth stage with over $5 million in revenue, etc.) and sector (e.g. Software-as-a-Service, hardware, mobile, etc.)

Finding a startup CEO position really comes down to traditional networking and working existing relationships. Executives with a successful track record should already have a strong network and be able to find opportunities.

What else? What are some other thoughts on finding a startup CEO role?

4 thoughts on “Finding a Startup CEO Role

  1. I’m sure a healthy does of luck helps.
    Being the right person in the right place at the right time is a good way to make your own luck.

  2. The best way to find these opportunities is through 1/ advising multiple companies, 2/ putting yourself out there in the industry, and 3/ best scenario is investing in the company you want to work for as many times the preferred CEO is one that has skin in the game too which helps align everyone’s interests.

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