Wealthfront Founder and CEO, Andy Rachleff has had a career in venture capital for 25 years, including 10 years as Co-founder and Partner at Benchmark. Rachleff also lectures at the Stanford Business School where students planning their careers ask for his help.
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With his career in venture, building courses in technology entrepreneurship, and running a company that helps manage short and long term finances, Rachleff maintains that “nothing has as big an impact on their finances as their career choice. And that’s why we provide this list is to help them make better career choices, and the intent is to create goodwill.”
According to the report, if you want to work in a start-up or plan to start your own company, there is no experience as valuable out of school than joining a mid-sized company that’s likely to be very successful.
“And the reason that’s important, is that you get more credit than you deserve for having joined a successful company in your career and you get less credit than you deserve for having worked at an unsuccessful company,” according to Rachleff.
If you are talented, but work for a company that is failing, you are not going to get a good job. And someone who is modestly talented but works for a great company will be in demand.
“That’s because I, and most people who know how to run businesses believe that you learn more from success, than you do from failure professionally. You might learn more personally from failure. But if I hire you, I’m hiring you to tell me what to do, not what not to do.” said Rachleff.
Rachleff started putting the list together 15 years ago for his students at Stanford. This is the eighth year the list has been published by Wealthfront. Companies on the list must meet the following criteria. Companies are US based. Their annual revenue must be between $20 and $300 million. $20 million is the minimum critical mass for a company to hit escape velocity. Greater than $300 million, employees are not learning skills that are transferable to a startup. Secondly the company should be growing in excess of 50 percent per year, and likely to continue to do so for at least three or four years. For Rachleff nothing is as important as growth. And finally the company must have good unit economics.
A who’s who of early and late stage venture capital inform the list. It includes Accel, Andreessen Horowitz, Benchmark, Coatue, Dragoneer, Greylock, Index Ventures, Kleiner Perkins, Matrix Partners, Redpoint, Ribbit Capital, Social Capital, Spark Capital, Tiger Global, and Unusual Ventures. From this high profile venture list, Rachleff admits we are going to miss a few companies, but never more than a handful.
The key change for the 2020 list is 71 new additions, up 40 percent from the previous record — 49 companies in total were removed from the 2019 list. Of these, eight went public, 12 were acquired, eight grew beyond $300 million, 14 have growth that is considered too slow, and seven no longer fit the list, either if they are media companies or health care which the list does not cover. The top three regions include the Bay Area at 61 percent of companies, New York with 13 percent, and Boston with 6 percent.
Here is the Crunchbase list we compiled for Crunchbase users to view.
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