The W-H Question You Should Ask Before Joining a Start-up

Working at a start-up may sound sexy, but is not at all easy, says this 'start-up survivor'

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Did you recently receive a job opportunity from a start-up? Not sure if you should take it up? Will it help your career or will pull you down the ladder? Will they pay enough or at least on time? Is it a secured job or you will be among the first ones to be shown the door when the company starts growing?


These are the questions which would keep coming to your mind if you have received an offer from or are in the middle of negotiations with a start-up.

A ‘start-up survivor’ who has worked with companies like,, Reliance Jio, Yatra, and Google, tried to clear the confusion in course of an exclusive conversation with the Entrepreneur India.

Nikhil Rungta, Managing Director, of Intuit India, suggest a few aspects one should consider before choosing a start-up employer.

The W-H Question

Before joining a start-up company one must know who’s running the company or who the founder is. He said, “I have always followed this. I have always met the founder or the CEO of a company before joining it and talked to him/her to learn about his/her passion and why he/she wants to run the business or what problems he/she wants to solve.”

First, this will give an individual a sense of the company. “Most importantly, the entrepreneur’s passion is where you will draw your energy from,” he added.

Secondly, one must understand the product and the services the company provides or the problems it solves.

Before joining a start-up, one should also ask oneself what role will he/she play in the company or what expertise can he/she bring in?

Giving an example from his previous company, which was operating in the E-commerce segment, he said business is based on three pillars — inventory, logistics (shipping facility and warehousing infrastructure) and third, your ability to reach out to customers and ability to build a business.

“When I met the founder of, they said, we have the first two pillars in place. He wanted me to work towards building the company’s third pillar i.e build their business. I thought I could use my strengths here and help the company reach out to customers. So, I joined them.”  

The Start-up Survivor

Nikhil has been in the market for about 20 years and has worked across business verticals like sales, marketing, and product management. He said, “one cannot work for a start-up if they don’t have immense passion.’

Start-ups for him are sexy but they not at all easy as when one works for a start-up, one fights every day from customers to getting business or funding. Giving us an example from his tenure at Yatra, he said, “Today everything seems normal at the company. But back then, what kept us awake at night was – whether we would be able to make people buy tickets from us.”

While at, his struggle was they’ll be able to survive another day, he concluded.