Go NA-KD! Could a career at one of Europe’s IPO-worthy tech startups make you rich?

In the United States (not so much in Europe), investors and talent alike get excited about promising startups. Why? ROI.

Founders and top management get stock options as part of their remuneration while investors expect 10X exits or better when a company goes public. Even if startups never make it to the stock exchanges, acquisitions can also be significant equity events for founders and top management.

Bottom line: The returns are bigger the earlier you get in.

In The Valley, it’s the stuff of legends. Take Apple. The first investor in Apple, Mike Markkula, put in about $250,000 ($80,000 in equity and $170,000 in a convertible loan) and got back about $200 million when Apple went public.

Or Facebook. Back in 2012, staff owned about 30 percent of shares, worth at the time about $30 billion.

Or Google. Stanford University actually owns the Google PageRank algorithm but gave Larry Page and Sergey Brin exclusive rights to use it (since they created it as doctoral students with Stanford’s support) in exchange for an equity stake, which ultimately equaled 1.8 million shares. After Google went public, Stanford cashed out for a total of $336 million.

Or Dropbox just this year. Sequoia Capital invested in Dropbox when it was a two-person startup still working on an MVP. The Sandhill Road VC firm invested in Dropbox at a valuation of a few million dollars … and Dropbox ultimately went public, earning Sequoia $2 billion.

When Google, Apple, Facebook and other companies went public, many of the early hires became millionaires or multi-millionaires, the ultimate employee bonus. If the global economy stays strong – and who knows? – look for more acquisitions such as PayPal’s acquisition of Stockholm-based  iZettle back in September for $2.2  billion.

In Europe, people tend to be more focused on pensions. But we think that will change … and we want to help. Because our English-speaking highly skilled internationals are increasingly crucial to talent-hungry new companies.


We thought Paris-based ride broker Blablacar went public long ago because it’s been around forever. In fact, it has not, though Lyft is poised for an IPO, just beating Uber to the equity markets. So the ride-sharing thing still hasn’t shaken out, and Blablacar still has a chance to dominate in Europe with its carpooling approach.

This is hardly a startup. Not even a scale-up. Blablacar had an estimated 80 million in 2017 revenue and is on track to break even this year. Business is up about 40 percent, and it just acquired Ouibus and with it, a big investment from the SNCF, the French national rail service.

Blablacar has a bunch of job openings including 31 in Paris alone. It appears that Blablacar, like everyone else, needs UX team leaders and senior project managers.

This Head of Platform Engineering job caught our eye, as did the details.

Two of the key company priorities for the next 12 months are:

• the ongoing migration from a monolith architecture hosted on-prem to a service-oriented architecture living fully in the Google Cloud Platform, from a PHP / Symfony stack towards a Java / JS dominated one.

• product evolutions, based on smart geo-matching and practical algorithms that give a personalized experience to each individual user.

The qualifications are kind of vague: “…work with various seniority levels.” But you need 8-10 years experience in engineering teams within hyper-growth tech companies and you must be fluent in English, while, of course, French is a plus.


EFFECT Photonics, Eindhoven, Netherlands

Forget the conventional computer chip because pretty soon, no one will be able to get improved performance out of electrons racing through an integrated circuit etched on silicon. Moore’s Law (which of course was not a “law,” but a prediction) has hit the wall. What’s coming next is photonics, and this new industry is being created at this very moment in Eindhoven.

EFFECT Photonics just completed its B round of funding, according to a news release. EFFECT builds “low-cost, wavelength-tunable optical transceivers with industrial temperature specification to be deployed within the next generation 5G mobile infrastructure.” This is at the vanguard of the switch from electrical circuitry in the semiconductor industry to using light packets to transmit data.

Betting on tech companies coming out of Eindhoven is a pretty smart move, because most spin-outs from electronics giant Philips with a lot of the R&D done years ago. And had you been in the early ranks of ASML employees and gotten stock, you’d be doing very well indeed.

EFFECT Photonics is looking for a Photonic Integrated Circuit (PIC) process engineer. We’re not sure what this job will entail, but if you do, you should probably apply here.

Here are some of the requirements:

For this position, you need to possess deep knowledge of typical III-V semiconductor foundry processes such as ICP etching, lithography, wet etching of Indium Phosphide and related alloys. The ideal candidate has an engineering background (MSc or Ph.D. and 3-5 years working experience) and preferably specialised training in Statistical Data Analysis and 6-sigma.

 IMEC Leuven, Belgium

Imec is a non-profit research center, so it’s not going public any time soon. BUT, imec is among the largest and most advanced R&D efforts in the world, with offices in San Francisco, Hsinchu, China, Tokyo, Bangalore and Eindhoven … pretty much all the most advanced R&D centers on the planet. Working here gives researchers and tech talents sneak previews at the latest futuristic tech. For example, imec is part of a consortium working to develop a new chip to study the mechanisms of Parkinson’s disease by measuring electrophysiological transmissions between neurons in living brain tissue.

This research is so promising that Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan just donated $1 million to the effort.

If that technology makes it to market, someone – it could be you – stands to do very well. Very well, indeed.

Imec has a lot of jobs open including device engineer.

The winning candidate will be responsible for:

  • defining innovative device architecture
  • defining test structures to assess device performances
  • interpreting electrical data (DC and AC measurements) and providing feedbacks to Integration
  • defining plans and following them up
  • reporting project status to management and customers

You need a master’s or, preferably, a PhD, with a lot of experience.

JW PLAYER based in NYC, with operations in Eindhoven

In just 11 years, this scale-up has gone from a student project to a business with more than 200 employees. The headquarters is in New York City, with a sales office in London and R&D in Eindhoven, where CEO Jeroen Wijering has returned from New York. Wijering is the guy who created the open-source video platform that became YouTube.

We’ve talked with Jeroen on multiple occasions, and we know he and all tech companies in the Netherlands are having trouble finding all the talent they need. His company is more ambitious than most, planning an IPO on the NASDAQ small-caps, possibly as soon as 2020.

JW Player has open positions in the Netherlands, New York, London and Singapore. You can hear Jeroen’s story above in a vid shot for our Tech Sister Cities private equity event earlier this year.

In Dispatches’ HQ city of Eindhoven, they’re looking for a full-stack engineer.

Requirements include:

  • Medior/senior position with at least 2 years of professional experience
  • In-depth understanding of JavaScript
  • Experience with web services and the interest to dive into Python
  • Basic relational database skills (PostgreSQL a plus)

You can apply here.

NA-KD, Gothenburg, Sweden

That name is a little awkward: “So, you got a new job!” “Yeah, I work at NA-KD. No, I don’t work naked, I work at NA-KD.”

But this two-year-old e-commerce market startup has been doing well as of late. NA-KD executives stated they sold 11 million euros’ worth of merchandise during the Black Friday weekend, adding the company had reached an annual net revenue (not net income) of 100 million euros, according to a news release. In that same release, they stated the website had more than 3.5 million visits over the Black Friday week, with more than 120,000 orders placed and shipped to more than 70 countries. Which is a busy 30 seconds at Amazon, but we see the potential.

NA-KD has more than 30 jobs listed on its website including business intelligence director (we thought we drop in a non-tech job for fun.)

Quals include:

  • Academic credentials, including a degree from a “top institution”
  • Seven-plus years of business experience within fashion/e-commerce
  • Global or multi-national business experience.

You can apply here.

N26 in Berlin

N26 is no startup, but it’s still a privately held virtual bank. N26 is one of the more successful young Fintech companies with 2 million customers, about $1.5 billion in transactions every month and about 1 billion in deposits. Which is nice, but for a bit of context, the largest American banks such as NYC-based Chase and San Francisco-based Wells Fargo average about $1.3 trillion with a “T” in deposits. So N26 has plenty of room to run.

What makes N26 a career opportunity is that it doesn’t have any tellers, but it needs tons of techies.

As we’ve reported many times before, N26 has dozens and dozens of jobs for those with the right skills. The question is, will N26 be acquired, or will it go public? Only time will tell.

Here are the openings in Barcelona.

Here are the openings in Berlin-Mitte

And now, N26 is moving into New York. Here are those jobs.

PIPEDRIVE, headquartered in New York City and Tallinn

This is yet another company with an Estonia heritage. And like Skype and TransferWise, we see great things for Pipedrive, which is a next-gen CRM/sales-management software. We’re not the only ones to see the potential. Pipedrive just got a $10 million C round from Deutsche Telekom Capital Partners, the investment arm of the German telecom giant. The 8-year-old scale-up has raised a total of $90 million from big names including Atomico.

Will it be the next Salesforce? Who knows ….

What we do know is, Pipedrive has HQs in both NYC and Tallinn with operations in those countries as well as in Portugal, the United Kingdom and the Czech Republic with plans to push into Germany.

Pipeline has more than 20 openings in Estonia, and openings in New York, Lisbon, London and Prague including lots of positions for product managers, developers and engineers including:

• IOS developer in Tallinn

• Front end developer in Lisbon

• Full stack developer in Prague


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