What are the benefits of being an IT leader at a startup?

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VP - Head of Information Technology in Software, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
I really enjoy the startup environment. The biggest difference is that in other companies, the guts of the business were never within scope, even in IT. In startups, everything's visible because there's so much to do, and you can dig in wherever you want to learn something. When I was at MuleSoft, I had no team when I first started. I built IT from scratch and we had the company offsite in just a few months.

When first I got there, I hung out with finance because I didn't have a team yet. That’s how I learned all about revenue recognition, international sales and the rules around that. I was eating it up because I thought it was awesome to be able to learn about all these different things. That gives you better context as an IT leader because you can think about the broader impact involved when somebody says, "We want to buy CPQ,” or, “we want to transform billing." It makes it easier for you to think of the different elements that you’d have to consider to do that. 
Director of IT in Manufacturing, 501 - 1,000 employees
You have opportunity to build everything from scratch. In startup period, IT service and infrastructure industry standards and best practices can be implemented and run at day one. Besides due to working with a small team, you may involve into other business functions' activities either to support or learn. In my experience, I involved into HR activities for recruitment, hiring and leasing, plus SCM activities to design supply chain process and warehouse operations.
Group Executive, IT in Services (non-Government), 51 - 200 employees
1. A Startup is a small business, but the needs across the different business units are no different from those of medium size or large size companies - Sales, Marketing, Operations, Finance, HR, etc (so goes the saying: even a sparrow is small compared to an eagle, it still has all the organs). But because you are working in a small and close-knit team, as an IT leader, you learn a lot faster and dig a lot deeper on how a business runs, and how IT best supports all business functions. 

2. A Startup tends to be a lot more technology and innvoation driven, compared to some traditional industries and businesses, so you have less resistence for trialling and adopting new technologies, and actually implementing them, rather than just talking about them!

3. You tend to have opportunities to build both infrastructure and people/team from scratch. If you like "building", including nurturing and mentoring talents, rather than "maintaining" - startup is a good place to be. 

Shall we talk about the downside :)
VP of IT in Manufacturing, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
The big benefit of startups is that everything is very open and visible, the good, the bad, and the ugly.  This is an opportunity for you to build IT that will fit the actual immediate business needs, rather than just the standard IT implementations.  It also sets, hopefully, a great foundation to stay connected to the business needs and make IT a business enabler too.  Too often IT is considered the engine room away from everything. 

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