Where are all the closet entrepreneurs?

I’m advising about 8 startups right now that are pre-funding. Most of them need to fill one key role to get to the next level. Some of them need a great developer to capture one key account. Others need a CEO to create a strategy or make investors feel secure. Some need a CTO to lead execution, or a BizDev person to build a channel.

They need to find “been there, done that” people, but they simply can’t pay the $100-300k+ salaries that many of these people require. There are many companies on the verge of something viable and potentially great. It’s kind of frustrating to watch. I honestly believe that there are people who are qualified to fill these roles and are sitting unfulfilled in a cube somewhere. It’s nobody you or I know well, because if we did know them, we’d be recruiting them for somebody.

I’m not talking about a virtual CXO. I’m talking about someone who can really get his hands dirty and will be committed for the long haul. I’m talking about the closet entrepreneur.

The closet entrepreneur is someone who could live off of a low salary for 6 months or so, and believes in her own ability to go and get a new job if she has to. That person could easily find a startup that needs her talent and take a chance on them for a piece of equity. In 6 months, they’d know if it was going to work or not, if they’re really good at what they do. And the upside is very real.

It would be nice if there was an exchange for this new market of closet entrepreneurs. People who’ve always wanted to do something entrepreneurial (but are not entrepreneurs) and would consider working for a combination of salary and equity would register themselves. Entrepreneurs would use the exchange to register their needs and what they could offer in terms of compensation.

I’m sure Monster will jump right on it.

file under: Blog, Startups