Start-ups can be some of the best companies to work for based on the experience they give employees. From inclusive benefits and unlimited vacations, to career development, training and skills, not to mention modern workspaces (some of which include dogs), they offer career-building opportunities that some traditional companies don’t.
However, the start-up life isn’t for everyone. For job seekers looking for an experience that will help them shape their future career in a unique way, arm them with the skill to take on bigger challenges, and maybe create a start-up of their own, they can be an invaluable place to work.
Start-ups are new companies created by one or more entrepreneurs that bring a unique product or service to market. They typically operate on a lean budget, with funding provided by the founders, their friends, and family. Often one of a start-up’s first big business moves is to secure additional funding from external sources like venture capitalists (VC).
Small start-ups tend to have limited personnel who wear many hats. It’s also not uncommon to see less experienced individuals in more prominent roles due to their skillset and entrepreneurial spirit. Start-ups provide ample opportunity for new grads and those switching careers to gain significant hands-on experience and develop new skills in a short period of time.
Most people picture a tech start-up as a big warehouse decorated with brightly coloured bean bag chairs, communal-style work desks, and friendly dogs wandering around—like Hootsuite’s Vancouver office. While this isn’t the typical workplace, it is reflective of the more laid-back culture many start-ups embrace.
Regardless of what your career goals are, jobs at a start-up company tend to offer more responsibility and opportunity. The smaller teams at many start-ups mean that you have a better chance of working and making decisions that have a greater and more lasting impact on the company. For those that are eager to learn and grow in their careers, this can be a welcome opportunity but it does mean that mistakes are much more likely to be noticed.
Beyond taking on larger responsibility, there’s also the possibility of helping to shape the culture, learn how to do more with a smaller budget, and innovate. Whether you’re looking for a work from home job or you want to get together with your colleges in a contemporary office, there may be a start-up job out there for you.
Description: Kira Systems is machine-learning software that analyzes contracts and documents to identify and extract relevant content. It’s used by law firms, professional services companies and corporations to better understand what information exists within their contracts. If you believe there are innovative solutions to complex problems, you might just find your footing at Kira Systems.
Size: 200–500 employees
Perks: Unique training and skill development, flexible vacation policy with a minimum of three weeks off, competitive parental leave salary top-up, flexible work hours, company-wide Kira days where the whole office shuts down.
Positions: Software Engineer, Business Analyst, Data Scientist, Sales Associates, Customer Success Manager.
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Description: Opencare strives to change the way that we interact with our healthcare providers. With their streamlined booking platform, they help patients get connected with the right health provider in a way that’s simplified, streamlined, and pleasant for all involved. If you are a mission-driven and metric-obsessed individual who wants to see an updated, patient-focused healthcare system, Opencare could be on your list of best tech start-ups to work for.
Size: Under 100 employees
Perks: Equity, unlimited vacation and sick days, full health benefits, healthy snack bar and drinks fridge, learning and personal growth opportunities.
Open positions: Account Executive, Director of Sales, Senior Manager of People Operations and Talent, Talent Acquisition Partner.
Locations: Toronto, San Francisco
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Description: Mejuri is mixing up the jewelry game. Offering direct-to-consumer sales on fine jewelry, they focus on providing a premium product at a lower cost. While they sell primarily online, in recent years they’ve opted to open a handful of traditional brick-and-mortar storefronts in Canada and the United States. For fashionistas and accessory-lovers, a position with Merjuri might be the perfect way to start your career.
Size: 201–500 employees
Perks: Dog-friendly office, fully-stocked kitchen with snacks and drinks, parental leave top-up program, employee discount, access to a private wellness room, lifestyle spending account for health and fitness.
Open positions: Director of Data Science, Integrated Marketing Specialist, Instructional Designer, Back End Technical Lead, Senior Back End Developer, Vice President of Digital Product.
Locations: Toronto, New York, Bueno Aires
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Description: Ritual is a food and drink order app that lets you pre-order and pre-pay at some of the best restaurants in your city. If you’re someone who often orders lunch into the office, Ritual allows you to piggyback off coworkers’ orders if someone is headed out to pick up their order and is able to pick up multiple orders. If you’re interested in the food ordering game that helps customers save money and earn rewards, then this might just be the start-up for you.
Size: 201–500 employees
Perks: Free lunch, healthcare coverage from day one, business equity, access to the GROW: Growth and Retention of Women Leaders program, career growth opportunities
Open positions: Data Engineer, Product Manager, Senior Talent Acquisition Specialist, Business Development Specialist, Regional Partnerships Specialist, Account Executive, Director of Product Management.
Locations: Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Sydney
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Description: MedChart is a start-up focused on making access to medical records easier and more secure. Their goal is to build the future of health data by improving access and insights with an added focus on securing those files through legislation compliance and bank-level security. Their software provides faster access to complete information but ensures that patient consent is received prior to this. If you want a career that brings healthcare information into the future, MedChart might be the right start-up for you.
Size: 51–200 employees
Perks: 15 days paid time off, twice-monthly lunch-and-learns, lifestyle spending account, health spending account, growth opportunities, personal development, standing desk, choose-your-own technology policy.
Open positions: Account Manager, CRM and Marketing Operations Manager, Director of Finance, Product Manager, Escalations Specialist, Technical Recruiter, Customer Support Specialist.
Locations: Toronto, Kitchener, Dallas
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Description: If you’re looking for a top start-up in Toronto, BlueDot has you covered. They are a health start-up dedicated to developing global early warning technology for infectious diseases. In fact, according to their LinkedIn page, they were the first company to identify the risk of COVID-19, publishing a scientific paper on it. BlueDotuse a combination of artificial and human intelligence to track over 150 possible threats world-wide. If you have a passion for health care and a desire to make the world a better, healthier place, this could be the tech startup for you.
Size: 51–200 employees
Perks: Fresh fruit and healthy snacks, health and wellness spending account, health and dental benefits, team lunches and events, parental leave top-up.
Open positions: Marketing Coordinator, Marketing Manager, Business Development Representative, Senior Data Engineer, Client and Partner Success Associate, Senior Account Executive.
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Description: EventMobi is a Canadian start-up business focused on end-to-end event management. They help event planners around-the-world plan, promote, monetize, and executive events in a virtual, in-person or hybrid environment. Big companies like Facebook and Lush have used the platform to serve and connect with their respective audiences. If you’re interested in putting together cutting-edge events, this might be one of the best tech start-ups to work for in Toronto.
Size: 51–200 employees
Perks: Flexible health, dental and vision care, subsidized gym membership, time off for volunteering, training and development opportunities, breakfast during weekly company huddles, and snacks always.
Open positions: Marketing Video Producer, IT Operations Specialist, Account Executive, Director of Livestream Production, Support Specialist, VP Finance.
Locations: Toronto, Hamburg, Köln, Berlin
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You need to demonstrate that while your skills, expertise and education all make you a great fit for the role, it’s the whole of you that’s indispensable.