Job Interview Advice - Director of Product Development (VC backed startup)


I've been talking to a VC backed startup for about a month or so. Last week the CEO invited me to their corporate headquarters to meet the team. Seems like a good sign that they are flying me out, but not really sure what to expect.

The company is based in Boston has about 30 employees and just received series B funding ($6mm) series A was in Jan of 2009 ($4mm). From what they tell me they are meeting their goals. I was introduced to the company at an industry conference in NY back in March (met the VP of Marketing & she seemed great). This would be the first startup I've worked for if I take the job.

I'm looking for advice for:

  1. dealing with the executive team CEO, VP Marketing & Sales and VP Product Development (founder)
  2. what is normal in terms of compensation (salary, bonus, stock options) when joining a startup at a director level in Boston
  3. any questions that I definitely should ask
  4. any topics I should avoid at this point in our relationship
  5. any thoughts on Boston, seems like a great city...currently I live in the booming metropolis of Fort Smith, AR I know the cost of living is about 60% higher in Boston
  6. what questions should I be prepared to answer that I might not think of
  7. anything other advice that you could give me, my experiences are limited to working for large corporations

I'm looking forward to your advice.



asked May 14 '10 at 12:22
146 points

1 Answer


A few comments - I think you are LOW on the cost of living difference. 30 people and a year and a half after series A no longer seems like a startup to me.

I'd ask what their burn rate is and their revenue (if any) and what their goals are for the next month, 6 months, year, etc.

Ask what they expect of you and why they are looking for a director of development.

How many customers, what is the growth of the customer base and revenue, what risks they have and how they are meeting those/planning for them.

What other contingencies do they have if things don't go as hoped, etc.

answered May 14 '10 at 12:43
Tim J
8,346 points
  • Yeah, I used one of those online calculators for the cost of living-- Definitely will research more. Will use your advice. Thanks! – Csumme 14 years ago
  • Good luck. The great thing about moving to Boston is that you are going to end up in a fantastic tech environment. So if this one doesn't work out you are in the midst of essentially "silicon valley east." The only downside is the cost of living, but of course the salaries should make up for that. – Tim J 14 years ago
  • Burn rate is probably fairly easy to calculate - 150k per year x 30 people is roughly 400k per month. (+/- but that is in the ballpark.) So they have about a year and a half of runway assuming no income right now. – Tim J 14 years ago

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