I currently work for a tech startup of roughly 50 employees, about half of whom are in the tech/product team. I myself am a developer in the tech team. The company completed Series A funding about 6 months ago. There are several concerning aspects of this company's culture that make me question if this is somewhere I want to work. (It is likely that I will seek a new position over the next few months, though this is not important to the question.)
However, my question pertains to startup long term viability. There are several issues I have observed that I would tend to assume would make a company less likely to succeed in the long term, and yet from the information that is publicly accessible, the company seems to be quite successful so far, at least speaking from a financial perspective. Here are some of the issues:
There is a lot of nepotism: key roles are fulfilled by friends of the founders, and friends of the founders do not go through the same hiring process as regular applicants. These friends are also being promoted and put in charge of important projects with more frequency than regular employees, regardless of the merits of the individuals involved.
Poor decision making, ignoring evidence/advice
The C-level directors consist of two founders and two friends of the founders. One thing they all have in common is that once they have decided to do something, they will not be deterred or persuaded by anybody, and this includes the company's investors and advisory board. This has led to some questionable business decisions in the past that have cost the business money and opportunities. We have had to change core aspects of the business' strategy several times in the past due to missteps by directors that have closed off opportunities to us.
Limited capacity to learn from mistakes
When the company makes questionable decisions, it's usually the same mistake repeated over and over, rather than new and exciting mistakes being made. For example, making decisions explicitly against the advice of investors / employees, which later cost the company money and credibility, is a thing that has occurred at least twice in the time that I have worked here.
Despite all of the above, we seem to be financially growing, we are constantly expanding, and our staff retention seems good to me (there have been two leavers in the past 6 months, and ~10 new hires). My own observations so far lead me to believe that we might be succeeding despite the directors rather than because of their leadership.
I am not an expert in the minutiae of how startups succeed or fail, so perhaps the concerns I've observed really aren't all that important. What am I missing? I'd be interested to know if there are key factors in startup success/failure that I've failed to take into account.
Definition of Success / Failure
Several contributors have correctly pointed out that my definition of success/failure is not very clear. For the purposes of this question, my definition of Success is, the startup passes Series C funding and goes on to exist as an established, profitable, non-startup company. The definition of Failure would be not making it past Series C funding. These definitions are purely for the context of this question and I appreciate that there are many ways to define success and failure. Thank you for the feedback!