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Let's say that I work at a company backed by a VC firm. It is safe to apply to a different company in which that VC firm has also invested?

I know that VCs often hold networking events for founders, and these circles can be tight-knit, with many professional relationships and friendships. Is there a significant risk that a founder from the company that I apply to could know a founder from my current company, and email him or her (or even mention it at an in-person meeting), risking trouble at at my current workplace?

I'm asking specifically about very small companies - about 20 employees or less, where the founders will be involved in any hiring process. At a larger company that is VC-backed (say, AirBNB, which is backed by A16Z and others), I know that the founders won't even be remotely involved in these decisions.

  • They are going to see your resume and see your current company. And yes they might call and give your old company a heads up. It really depends on how tight they are. – paparazzo Apr 13 '16 at 23:10
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    Yes, unless that would be your dream job, I wouldn't risk it. What's the probability of you getting that particular job? It's pretty low right? Not only that they'd offer it, but that they'd make an offer that you'd actually want to accept. And what's the probability of your company finding out about you having applied? That's also low as well. But considering that you could probably apply to many other jobs that your company would probably never find out about, I think you should focus on getting those other jobs instead. – Stephan Branczyk Apr 14 '16 at 3:18
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So for sure the founders know each other. You don't know how tight they are. They are going to see your resume and immediately know the company. Would they call the founder and give them a heads up? It is not that far fetched. If they want to hire you they will not call. If they don't want to hire you they might give your founder a heads up. Risk is low but not zero.

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