There are a wide variety of ways to have a career in the startup industry. Most people get their exposure to the industry as the founder of a startup. For those lucky few that are able to have a success career many leap from the role of startup founder to startup consultant. One role that is common for successful founders to take is that of an Entrepreneur In Residence.
What is an Entrepreneur In Residence?
The original use of an Entrepreneur In Residence (I’ll use EIR going forward, because dang that is a long title) was as part of a venture capital firm. The EIR (that’s better…) was a successful professional who was between roles as a startup founder who had a successful exit and or had previously ran a company.
Venture capital firms like to create such roles because they know that the EIR has contacts in the startup industry and can help them with new deal flow. The role also gives the venture capital firm the opportunity to continuing incubating the EIR as they get ready to start and/or lead another venture that the venture capital firm will invest their capital into.
Since its original design the role of an EIR has morphed a bit. Today an EIR is often a part-time employee of a company who is also trying to grow a startup venture that may, or may not, be part of the company they are acting as an EIR for. For example, one of my local startup support organizations, the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center, has an EIR role. Each of the past candidates in that role spent time helping the KEC (acronyms are soooo much easier) grow but they also worked on their own ventures that were not part of the KEC.
Is an EIR role right for you?
In order to qualify for the original use case of an EIR you would need to have had some significant success, such as an exit, as a startup founder. So, for many people that option is out. But, in the newer use cases, it is possible for a professional to become an EIR. In fact, if you search LinkedIn for the title you will find all kinds of job postings for an Entrepreneur In Residence. I found 85 such job postings.
An EIR role, particular of the part-time kind, can be a great way for an entrepreneur to learn more about the startup industry while still having the flexibility to pursue their own venture. Being part of an existing company, even half-time, can provide you with some additional income and exposure to the right kind of contacts.
It is a great way to get some experience while still being able to work on your own projects and ideas.
Our team at SouthFound is considering bringing on an Entrepreneur In Residence. If a role like this sounds interesting to you, or you know someone who would be a fit, please have this visit posting on Upwork.