☰ Menu eFinancialCareers

GUEST COMMENT: People keep asking me to join their start-ups. I’m not sure

Perks of the start-up (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Perks of the start-up (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There was a time when I would never have left banking. Maybe I won’t still, but the temptations are coming thick and fast.

It’s not the wacky exit strategies from City-life I’m being drawn towards (like the ex-Goldman trader who left the firm to set up his own bespoke c*ndom business and was quoted as saying that he has quit “working for a bunch of kn*bs to working with bunch of d*cks”, before hastily attributing that quote to a former client), it’s sane businesses set up by former friends and colleagues.

In the past 12 months, I’ve been invited to participate in property development in Central Europe, a fast-food franchise scheme, an emerging markets lending fund and a digital firm in Shoreditch.

The pitch is always similar: they need me; I’ll be a valued part of a new venture.

The pitchers are equally indistinguishable: well-connected, recently redundant, with an excellent network and a rich relative who’s financing the new venture.

The downside is that there’s usually a reason these pitchers are no longer working in financial services themselves: they were let go. And there’s a reason why they were let go: they were only good at their jobs in a bull market. In almost all cases they have no solid modelling, accounting or presentational skills.

This is why they need me. I will be the person who does the heavy-lifting involved in a start-up: who keeps track of documents, runs processes, ensures cash flows.

One friend had a business prospect which he confidently predicted would turn over a 7 figure sum in the first 12 months. It didn’t take long for me to identify that a number of costs which he thought were fixed were actually variable. He looked mystified (and slightly peeved too) when I reminded him of the adage that “sales are vanity but profits are sanity”.

Nevertheless, it seems foolish to walk away from these projects altogether. The banker looking for a nest egg now needs some activities on the side. I have committed part-time to lending a hand at one of these ventures, in return for minimal ownership in the company. If it comes through, it may yet prove a better prospect than drifting into banking oblivion.

The author has worked in several roles across investment banking and is open to the right offer.

Comments (0)

Comments

The comment is under moderation. It will appear shortly.

React

Screen Name

Email

Consult our community guidelines here