Hot self-driving car startups vs. FANG

Facebook alion
Jan 22 25 Comments

I've begun interviewing with a couple of self-driving car startups and wanted to get people's take on leaving or turning down on offer from a FANG company for the AV startup route.
I'd really love to work in the AV space but am concerned if it makes financial sense.

Current TC: L5 @ $300k / $180k base

I expect to get around the same base from the startups but not sure how to evaluate stock options at these companies at $2-3 billion valuations with 3-400 employees vs. public RSUs.

I'm trying to determine my interviewing schedule strategy: whether I should just continue with the interviews that I've been invited to then evaluate or go full-on and begin interviewing at the other FANGs, Waymo, Uber ATG, Lyft L5, + all AV startups to ensure I do get the best offer.

If AV startups offer great stock for their respective stages, I'd rather hold off on interviewing for the others and save those for the near future.

Anyone know what can I expect from Cruise, Argo, Aurora, Zoox?

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TOP 25 Comments
  • AppDynamics / Eng software g
    Considering how hard it is to build self driving vehicles does anyone think newer startups in this area will be successful. Maybe Waymo, Cruise, Uber, Lyft will be successful. Do others like Argo, Aurora, Zoox have a chance?
    Jan 22 2
    • Cruise Automation ElopedMusk
      I’d put a bet on zoox vs lyft to be honest. Lyft program is really in its infancy last i heard
      Jan 22
    • Apple / Eng
      iHateFruit

      Apple Eng

      PRE
      Apple
      iHateFruitmore
      Zoox is up there with Waymo and Cruise in terms of progress. I feel it will be one of those three.
      Jan 24
  • Cruise Automation / Eng ⛸️
    Cruise used to pay its "stocks" in real money but sadly not anymore.

    Base you can get easily. TC you would need to do some negotiation.
    Jan 22 5
    • Facebook alion
      OP
      What do you mean by this? What do they give now instead of "'stocks' in real money"?
      Jan 22
    • AppDynamics / Eng software g
      Cruise used to give GM RSUs, now they give Cruise RSUs which is illiquid. This can be a better deal is Cruise goes IPO and is successful. If they fail then RSU worth would be 0.
      Jan 22
    • Cruise Automation ElopedMusk
      Yeah but they also give a sizable bonus in cash which is better than tying it to gm stock
      Jan 22
    • AppDynamics / Eng software g
      What % of base is the bonus? Assume the % is dependent on the level?
      Jan 22
    • Cruise Automation ElopedMusk
      There’s no fixed percentage afaik (mostly depends on offer negotiation i suppose). I’ve seen figures as high as 60%. You get the same amount (in current valuation) of RSUs on top.

      From what I’ve seen new offers are pretty good. Pre-softbank post-gm folks are getting screwed basically.
      Jan 22
  • Google nlxS44
    Are you generalist SWE or do you have (legit) vision/ML experience? What’s the role?
    Jan 22 5
    • Facebook alion
      OP
      Specific - system / embedded software + computer vision experience
      Jan 22
    • Google nlxS44
      Those companies can pay top dollar ($500k+) for the right talent and experience. They can pay in options or RSU depending...but why would you want to put off interviews? Get the best competing offers you can IMO.
      Jan 22
    • Google nlxS44
      Also, check out some older Blind threads if you haven’t already.
      Jan 22
    • Facebook alion
      OP
      $500k would be great...
      Yeah I saw some of the older posts but these startups have grown and valuations have changed - e.g. company X going from 1bil to 2bil valuation - would they offer same absolute $ stock options as before just at a newer valuation?
      Also starting as employee #150 is different than #400 or #800.
      Jan 22
    • Xperi fifosofj
      Do you work at oculus?
      Jan 22
  • Facebook DIKv77
    Go for it. It’s the future of sustainable economy.
    Jan 22 0
  • New DvVM00
    what companies with $2bn valuation is issuing options?
    Jan 22 4
    • Facebook alion
      OP
      I'm only at the onsite stages atm so don't know but how else could they lure employees away from FANG?
      Jan 22
    • New DvVM00
      RSUs of course. given your lack of understanding you can safely give a dollar value of 0 to any startup “options”
      Jan 22
    • Facebook alion
      OP
      So it's common practice for later stage startups to give RSUs as opposed to options?
      Jan 22
    • Cruise Automation ElopedMusk
      These days - yes. It’s assumed a lot of them may “downround” during ipo (see dropbox).
      Jan 22
  • Facebook / Eng
    fb2017

    Facebook Eng

    PRE
    Google, Oracle
    BIO
    worked at Oracle, then Google, now Facebook.
    fb2017more
    Av is hype. Those paper money will be real paper at the end.
    Jan 22 2
    • The main applications of AI are the free oines. AI: redefining snake oil for computer scientists for almost 70 years!
      Jan 22
    • Facebook alion
      OP
      Why do you say hype? Maybe the time horizon is a little optimistic but feels like the technology is almost there in certain geographies.
      Nonetheless, the automakers are sold on it for now and there are plenty of M&As - opportunity to get a nice return, no?
      Jan 22
  • New / Eng dDNC06
    I’m also interviewing at couple AV companies. OP were you able to get good offers?
    Feb 19 0