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How to find tech startups

  • avatar
    Robert Claus

A friend recently asked me how to find tech startups to apply to. I think it's an interesting problem because startups are small and can't invest as much in recruiting, so how do you find them? Here's some of my advice for finding startups to apply to. I'd be interested to hear what other people recommend too!

  1. Universities and CS departments often have job boards for companies to post directly for students and alumni. I've found they're not great for general job hunting a few years out of school, but in my experience many startups that spin out of the university will cross-post their positions there for entry level positions. At UW Madison there was a general job board (old site like craigslist) as well as job postings on Handshake (a more polished tool lots of schools use).

  2. Many universities will allow alumni to go to career fairs, so it might be worth asking around for those. This can be hit or miss since many companies will be recruiting for specific positions, but you might get lucky with smaller companies if they are looking for someone to start ASAP and most students won't be able to.

  3. Startups tend to put out press releases when they get funding, so local papers usually aggregate those and put out a "Best X startups in CITY" article every year. That might be a good list to look at. For example:

  4. If you have connected with folks on LinkedIn (or other social media) posting that you're looking for a job is a really good idea. I've seen this be successful both in getting recommendations for companies where you know someone, but also if a friend is willing to share a list of places they applied recently. I've frequently sent people the list of local companies that I applied to last time I was searching.

  5. Sites like Indeed, Ziprecruiter, etc. are typically integrated directly into HR systems now, so even startups will often cross-list on all the usual sites. I wouldn't shy away from them for searching, but I would consider applying directly through their website when possible. (Note, these sites often also scrub each other's job posts so I wouldn't worry too much about which one to use.)

  6. There's annual aggregator lists (ex: that just collect a massive list of companies hiring for internships. The trouble with those lists is that it's too easy and those companies are getting spammed with bot-generated applications. I've gotten 2000+ internship applications in about a month after ending up on one of those lists, and we ended up just closing the application. However, if you find companies on that list that are interesting you can probably apply to other positions on their website and still get somewhere.

  7. Crunchbase is a website that tracks pretty much every startup out there. I think the data is often out of date, but if you want a raw list of startups to look into, it's an option.