There’s something hard to resist about a startup narrative. Flashy, TV-ready startup stories are the stuff of the American dream: hard work and ingenuity can net you millions in no-time. Of course, it doesn’t always work out this way, and most startups fail horribly. (As many as 90% of startups crash and burn, according to a 2014 report from Fortune.) But that doesn’t make working at a startup any less alluring to most of us. After all, we’ve filled our heads with the rags-to-riches stories of the booming Internet: Facebook, Twitter, Pied Piper. It’s hard to shake the feeling that, “Maybe I could do that too.”
While we wouldn’t want to blindly advertise working at a startup as a smart career choice, there’s no denying that there’s a certain appeal and charm for millennials at these companies. And while they don’t always work out, startups can look great on a resume if you’re moving in the right direction.
With all that in mind we’ve compiled a short list of startups to work for in New York below.
- Venmo is a quintessential startup, the type that offers a product that you never know you needed and making it essential immediately. The mobile payment platform might have gotten acquired by Paypal for almost a billion dollars in 2013, but it’s still boasts a self-operated and hip New York central office.
- DWNLD is meant for media companies and brands, but its thrust is democratic: make mobile app-building accessible. After being founded by Alexandra Keating and Fritz Lanman in 2014, DWNLD has since received more than $10 million in an initial round of funding and, according to TechCrunch, has reportedly published more than 2,000 apps.
- In the wake of runaway success stories like Uber, startups like Alfred are pushing the gig economy forward in even zanier ways. Alfred allows you to hire a temporary errand runner for a monthly fee, and after a first round of funding brought in more than $10 million last May, there’s obvious room for growth.
- For non-tech folks (including this writer), MongoDB is a convoluted service used mostly by big companies. The New York-based tech startup began in 2007 as a company called 10gen before moving to an open source model and undergoing a name-change in 2013.
- Zerve is sort of like OpenTable for events, and while the company has been around since 2003, they’ve maintained a startup air about them.