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Lily Wu

By Lily Wu
VP of Growth

5 reasons to choose a startup over a corporate job

Written by first employee of Spaceship, a superannuation fund with technology at its core. It's currently one of Australia's fastest growing startups, with over $70 million capital raised within 2 years.


There are two career paths, you’re either a passive investor or a venture capitalist.


As a passive investor, you’re looking to sit on your investment and not do much for a long period of time. As a VC, you’re looking for growth. 


Yes, passive investing may be the safer option but venture can have far higher payouts – if you pick the right place. A lot of career options are opportunities to learn a lot, fail fast, and adapt.


Careers aren’t linear nor static, at least they don’t have to be. Sure you can take the trajectory of starting at a Big 4 and if you’re really lucky, moving into an investment bank, and then buy-side. 


I’m sure you’ve heard this a lot.


  • “I got an internship at an investment bank. Now, I just need to secure my graduate position. I’ll do a few years in IB and then I’ll jump ship to private equity or venture capital.” 


This might be an ideal path for some, probably our parents. It’s a tried and true path of the corporate ladder, but it’s not the only way. Big, established companies aren’t necessarily the safe choice. 


For smart, ambitious young people, you’re far better joining a scale-up (like Spaceship).


If I look at my friend’s career paths, the ones that chose the less beaten paths, the non-consensus options, have done far better, and are further up the corporate ladder. Despite taking the more “risky” jobs.


For every traditional, safe company. There are probably 20 businesses trying to disrupt it. Join those you’ll learn far more creating processes than following them.


The most important thing to learn when you’re young is how to learn and how to do it fast.


Currently, I’m working on the ground floor of one of Australia’s most exciting startups — Spaceship, a superannuation fund with technology at its core


I’ve touched on the benefits of working at a startup. Here’s a list of 5.

1. You do real work


It’s hard to describe what it feels like to work at a startup. One analogy would be taking the red pill and seeing the Matrix for the first time. Everything you do makes a difference. There’s no safety blanket. If you screw up, you screw up. Everything you write, whether it be words or code is used somewhere. Very quickly you see if what you did had an impact.

2. You Learn


Like I hinted at above, startups give you the opportunity to learn more in 2 weeks than you did in the last two years. How? You do many things at the same time. You learn things because you need to use them. Not because you’re forced to. And you’re given space to grow. You may get on board as a marketer. That doesn’t mean you’ll stay in marketing. As the startup grows, so will your responsibilities.

3. Responsibility


In a corporate, you’ll never get autonomy. You’ll have a manager looking over your shoulder ensuring you don’t break something. The inverse is true for startups. There’s no one looking over your shoulder, in fact, you’ll probably have to create your own job title and job description. Oh, and you’ll probably break something. 

4. The Network


You’ve probably read hundreds of “how to network” posts. Hear me out, your network will improve 10x if you work at a great startup. You’ll know venture capitalists, bloggers, developers, growth hackers. Anyone in the ecosystem will be willing to chat. Why? Because you’re attached to something interesting. By association, you’re interesting too. 

5. It’s Fun


People who work at startups are interesting. Their mindset is different. They see all the little parts of the business. Stuff that you miss out on when the business is already running. All the things you can’t learn in university. If you want to start your own venture, there’s no better place to educate yourself than an early stage startup. You’ll have to educate yourself, set goals, execute your own strategies and take a product to market. It’s a university for startups. 


A corporate gig may pay more (initially) but a startup gives you real career-defining experiences. If you’ve seen a startup that you believe in. Reach out, you never know where one email will take you. Startups give you autonomy over your own success. 


Early stage startups means you are often relying on yourself. You are self-sustainable and self-managing. If you’re working on something, it’s yours and yours alone. It’s exciting.


If you’ve got any questions, email me: [email protected] — I’d love to chat. 


About Abi Tunggal:


Abi Tunggal is Spaceship’s first employee and currently works in Special Projects. 

Spaceship Voyager is an investment app. It provides you with access to two managed funds, which directly invest in shares. One fund is largely invested in global technology businesses, as well as healthcare and consumer discretionary companies (like Amazon).

Spaceship is backed by Horizons Ventures, Sequoia Capital, New Enterprise Associates, Valar Ventures, AirTree Ventures, and Grok Ventures.

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Lily Wu

VP of Growth

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