- Frank West
To answer the question, I have known one of the founders for a long time, originally meeting through Bristol Web Folk. In January I happened to meet his co-founder at a Freelance Breakfast event and within a few days we were exchanging emails and having telephone meetings.
It's a simple story which I would like to expand upon as I believe Bristol has a brilliant technical community and ever growing startup scene.
As a web developer interested in joining a startup what do you do?
First you have to ask yourself what exactly are you looking for?
- Do you want to do this full time or are you only interested in working evenings and weekends?
- Are you happy to work for equity or do you need an income?
- Do you want to do more than just code?
- Are you prepared to invest large amounts of time?
- Would you prefer a new startup or one that is already up and running?
The final question you must ask yourself is what can you bring to a team, it is important to understand your skills and weaknesses so any future partners can be a good fit. It can be great to have a couple of amazing developers but having other skills such as sales or design can be an even bigger help.
Bristol startup scene
Now you know who you are, what you can offer and what you are looking for it's time to start filtering down the local communities. If you're looking to join a startup then Bristol is a great place to be, right now there are hundreds of them looking for people just like you. Recently I met Thomas from TravelLocal.com and his startup is searching for a technically minded person to join their team right now. Last year when I attended The Pitch 2013 I left with contact details for 11 different startups all interested in what I had to offer.
If you are looking to join with other developers then look at the tech groups, get to know people and someone will be interested in something. I recommend the following groups but there are many more:
If you are looking at the bigger picture and want to be the tech guy in a multi skilled startup then I would suggest more business themed events. Looking for people who have (or want) startups but lack a technical skillset, making them dependent on outside parties. You can find these types of people at places like:
Would you rather find something a little bigger, perhaps with a few people that have been operating for a while? If this sounds more like you then it's worth exploring the various incubators, startup accelerators and co-hubs where countless small startups are growing.
The Engine Shed is a brilliant place to start with SETsquared, WebStart and co-working spaces you'll quickly find someone looking for technical help. But there are many other places around Bristol, a day trip to the various co-working hubs spread throughout the city is a great way to start.
Joining a startup is a big commitment but something I would recommend for everyone to try at least once. Work out who you are, what you want and then set out and find the right opportunity, good luck!