A woman by the name of Penny Kim, who relocated to the Bay Area from Dallas this summer for a job with an unnamed and clearly failing job-search startup, penned a piece on Medium's Startup Grind yesterday about her unsavory experience that's been garnering many a click and Like. It reads like a fairly harrowing cautionary tale about the sometimes unstable world of young tech companies and the sometimes con artists who found them, and may prove a kind of bellwether for the coming local economic "correction," or whatever you want to call it.
Or, perhaps more optimistically, it's proof that we're not in a serious bubble because investors, in this case, quickly stopped throwing money in the direction of this particular startup because it did not appear to be a very solid operation. The company did indeed quickly hire 20 employees before it even put out a product.
Kim says that the company seemed like a solid concept to her when she applied for the job as Marketing Director back in May, but the red flags came fast and furious after she took the job, even though during one of her interviews the CEO proclaimed "I hire fast and I fire fast."
She began work on July 5, having sold many of her belongings and driven out here from Dallas, but within a couple weeks she was already concerned when her very first paycheck was late, and arrived via a cashier's check, with no pay stub. She then finds out that a group of H1-B visa workers from China hadn't been paid in over a month, and then it becomes clear that the company is for sure struggling and she finds out that employees have even lent the CEO large sums of cash.
Kim ended up filing a wage claim with the state and encouraging other employees to do the same, which ultimately gets her fired even though terminating someone over a wage claim is technically illegal.
In total, her Bay Area adventure lasted less than two months, and the $4 million marketing budget she'd been promised in interviews turned out to be pure fiction.
It makes one wonder how many more stories like this are out there in the Valley right now, but Kim at least had an empty apartment to return to in Dallas, so that's nice her landlord apparently welcomed her back and had not rented it out yet, and she smartly delayed signing a lease here.
And if you're curious about Startup X's real name(s), commenters of course have already figured it out.