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The job market for startups and Big Tech is in a weird spot

Dan DeFrancesco   

The job market for startups and Big Tech is in a weird spot
  • This post originally appeared in the Insider Today newsletter.

Hello! Elon Musk and Taylor Swift might not appear to be natural allies, but neither of them seems to like that college kid who tracks celebrities' private planes online.

In today's big story, we're looking at startups worth betting your career on.

What's on deck:

But first, you should try applying there!

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The big story

Career makers

Which startup would you recommend a friend or family member should work at?

That was the prompt for Business Insider's VC and startups team as it compiled a list of early-stage companies to bet your career on.

The team was armed with plenty of information, having worked on lists identifying the hottest startups and backers. But a challenging startup environment — where layoffs and a funding drought have plagued the industry — made an already tough task even more difficult.

The team still managed to come up with 44 startups across a range of industries. The list doesn't have specific parameters, Leena Rao, the deputy editor of BI's VC and startups team, told me.

When it comes to picking a startup to work at, the sweet spot is often a mid- to late-stage company. It offers more job security than a young startup, but better upside (see: equity) than one ready for an exit.

Startups that made the cut include AI community Hugging Face, newsletter platform Beehiiv, and women's health company Maven, to name a few.

The world of startups is in a fascinating dilemma.

At first glance, things are bad. Like, dinosaurs-staring-at-an-asteroid-careening-toward-Earth bad. Even the people who are supposed to invest in startups are giving up.

But as bleak as the industry looks, some firms are still doing great.

Artificial intelligence is the most obvious sector full of hope, and features prominently on this year's list.

The success in AI juxtaposed with the issues other startups face has created an even wider gap between the "haves" and the "have nots," as BI's Ben Bergman previously wrote.

How that impacts future innovations will be interesting. With so much money pouring into AI startups, founders' attention will naturally be drawn to the tech when thinking about their next project.

So, if you think AI hasn't penetrated your industry yet, just wait. Either a startup is working on it, or an investor is looking for one that will.

Meanwhile, the volatility among startups comes at a time of broader instability for the tech industry.

Waves of layoffs hit Big Tech throughout 2023 – and even though the pace of redundancies has slowed down, there's still a grim feeling in the industry. Executives at Meta and Amazon hinted at not being as aggressive with hiring plans going forward on earnings calls earlier this month.

Meanwhile, some longtime tech employees are questioning whether their companies' once-beloved culture has changed forever.

All of that creates an interesting ecosystem for talent, as opportunities to work at high-flying startups and more secure roles in Big Tech are on track to become harder to come by.

3 things in markets

  1. NYCB is stoking fears of more banking turmoil. The regional lender's shares tumbled 22% Tuesday to trade at their lowest level in a quarter of a century after Moody's downgraded it to "junk" status. Some investors are worried that its struggles signal a looming commercial-real-estate crisis.

  2. Cathie Wood's Ark Invest hasn't been a good bet for investors, according to Morningstar. An analysis by the research company found Ark Invest destroyed $14 billion in wealth over the past decade. Ark Innovation, the firm's flagship ETF, is down 8% on the year and roughly 70% from its peak in early 2021.

  3. Paul Tudor Jones sounds off on the "debt bomb" looming over the US. The billionaire investor said the government's pace of borrowing and spending is what's behind the country's economic growth. "We've got an economy on steroids, and it's unsustainable," he said in a recent interview.

3 things in tech

  1. YouTube has become one of the biggest pay-TV services in the US. With more than 8 million subscribers, YouTube TV is the fourth largest pay-TV service, scoring a major win for YouTube and parent company Google. The company also appears to be interested in expanding its offerings; On Monday, YouTube said an app for Apple's Vision Pro is "on our roadmap."

  2. Amazon's One Medical and Pharmacy units cut a "few hundred" jobs. The layoffs are part of a cost-cutting mandate that could save One Medical $100 million as Amazon exerts more control over the unit.

  3. Move over, App Store — there's a new marketplace in town. OpenAI launched GPT Store specifically for builders to share their generative AI projects. BI's Samantha Stokes took a look at 13 of the most popular apps available.

3 things in business

  1. DINKs are living the new American dream. Dual income, no kids couples are living it up with vacations, financial stability, and the freedom of choice. As the stigma around foregoing children lessens, DINKs are emerging as an aspirational class for young people.

  2. iHeartRadio's broken promises (Taylor's version). Two years ago, iHeartRadio, which owns 850 radio stations nationwide, promised to only play "Taylor's Version" of Taylor Swift songs. An analysis of data from six iHeart stations shows that the company broke that promise.

  3. ESPN, Warner Bros., and Fox are teaming up to launch a new sports streaming service. The three companies revealed their "all-in-one premier" joint venture in a press release cosigned by Bob Iger, Lachlan Murdoch, and David Zaslav on Tuesday. If priced suitably, the platform could kill off cable TV for good.

In other news

What's happening today

  • Today's earnings: Uber, Alibaba, The Walt Disney Company, and others are reporting today.

  • Fortegra is expected to announce its final IPO pricing.

The Insider Today team: Dan DeFrancesco, deputy editor and anchor, in New York. Hallam Bullock, editor, in London. Jordan Parker Erb, editor, in New York. George Glover, reporter, in London.