Not a hacker or a hipster: How I got my first start-up job

And then they said no…

Types “Start-ups” into google

  • Start-ups don’t have phones. Or at least phone numbers on their website. In a previous intern role I was used to contacting big companies who have a reception and a call board to divert you to the right person. Wrongly I assumed this was the same for all companies.
  • If there was an email address it would be a generic From hearing various founders talk about how everything was often on fire, I knew how unlikely it would be to get a response from the generic email within my 3 day deadline.
  • Went to Escape the City knowing they had a co-working space on the floor below. The owner, Paddy Willis, intro’d me to 3 of the cohort and I found myself in one on one conversations on the benefits of crowdfunding with the founders solely based on what I’d heard Luke say in his talk. By promising I’d find someone more knowledgeable to get back to them I got all 3 email addresses.
  • Headed back to Old Street in the morning (back then I didn’t realise how prolific start-ups were there), laptop in hand and went into Pret. I started walking up to people with sticker covered macbooks and repeated the routine.
  • Walked into Silicon Drinkabout and spoke to as many as people as I could handle that evening. I got a whole list of names (15+) from some incredibly interesting people. A few beers later I headed home, email addresses in hand.
Second day at Crowdcube when we broke a world record raising 1.2 million from the crowd in 16 minutes from our users.

Things that surprised me:

  • If you talk to people around you, they’re surprisingly willing to be involved in what you’re doing if it’s interesting and not too onerous for them. Counters the general assumption that if you talk to strangers they’ll think you’re crazy.
  • Apply for jobs you’re a bit under qualified for. Most job descriptions describe the perfect candidate. Those features are a wish list not a must have. This applies even more in start-ups where genuine passion for the company gets you a long way.
  • If you think you really would be great at that job then it’s on you to show them why. I was apparently hired above people who had more experience because I showed that I had the initiative needed for that role.
  • Any advice on coding resources/what not to do then tweet me @katalexpas
  • Also, Crowdcube are hiring for lots of different things. You can see what here.
  • If you want to raise then contact any of the brilliant BD team on their emails addresses.




Founder at Personably. Cambridge law grad not doing law. Learnt to code at Founders and Coders. Fullstack developer.

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Katerina Pascoulis

Katerina Pascoulis

Founder at Personably. Cambridge law grad not doing law. Learnt to code at Founders and Coders. Fullstack developer.

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