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Startup CEO: Role, Responsibilities, and Salaries

We often hear about CEOs of big companies such as Elon Musk (CEO of Twitter), Patrick P. Gelsinger (CEO of Intel), and Bob Chapek (CEO of Walt Disney) and all the work they do. But the work of a startup CEO is much different. Their struggles and challenges often do not see the light of day. Being a startup CEO is one of the most challenging and rewarding careers a person can pursue. As the head of a growing business, the CEO is responsible for setting the tone for the entire company and making critical decisions that will shape its future.

What is a startup?

A “startup” is a new company or business venture that is typically focused on developing and bringing a new product or service to market. Startups are often characterized by their innovative approach to solving a problem or filling a gap in the market. They are usually small and nimble, and they operate with a high degree of risk as they attempt to disrupt established industries or create new markets. Startups typically begin with a small team of entrepreneurs who have a vision for a new product or service. They may secure funding from venture capitalists or angel investors to help launch and grow their business. The goal of many startups is to achieve rapid growth and eventually become a large, profitable company.

What is a startup CEO?

A startup CEO does perform similar functions of a CEO but as they are working in a newly formed company with the main focus on the company’s growth. They are in charge of setting the tone and overseeing operations for the whole company. Their job is difficult compared to the CEOs of large organizations, as they don’t have any set operations in place. 

Role of a startup CEO

The role of a startup CEO, as mentioned above, is challenging. Here are some of the most common responsibilities of a startup CEO.

  1. Setting the company’s vision and mission: Articulating the company’s purpose and ensuring that all employees are aligned with its goals and values.
  2. Building and leading a talented team: A successful startup CEO must be able to attract, retain, and motivate top talent. This requires the CEO to be a strong leader and communicator who can build trust and inspire others to achieve great things.
  3. Raising capital: Startups typically need to raise funds from investors in order to grow and scale their operations. The CEO is responsible for securing these funds and ensuring that the company has the resources it needs to succeed.
  4. Making strategic decisions: The CEO is the ultimate decision-maker for the company and must be able to assess risk and make difficult decisions that will impact the business.
  5. Building partnerships and strategic relationships: A startup CEO must be able to build strong relationships with key partners and stakeholders, such as customers, suppliers, and investors.
  6. Representing the company: The CEO is the face of the company and must be able to communicate effectively with the media, investors, and the public.

In addition to these core responsibilities, the CEO must also be able to balance the needs of various stakeholders, including employees, customers, investors, and the community. The CEO must be able to think critically, be creative, and make decisions quickly in order to keep the company moving forward.

Salary of a startup CEO

According to Glassdoor, the average salary for a CEO in the United States is $406,119 per year. But when it comes to the salary of a startup CEO, it can vary widely depending on a number of factors, including the size of the company, its financial performance, and the CEO’s experience and background, with salaries ranging from $50,000 to $200,000 or more. In addition to a base salary, many startup CEOs also receive equity in the company, which can be worth millions of dollars if the company goes public or is acquired.

Education to support a startup CEO

Being a CEO is a tough job, and even if you have or haven’t taken the standard executive education to be a CEO, there are some programs that prepare you for the various tasks you have to undertake and at the same time keep you updated with the current innovations and trends. 

Berkeley Executive Program in Management (Berkeley EPM) 

The Berkeley Executive Program in Management (Berkeley EPM) is a general management program that prepares you for the next level of leadership. This program is created in such a way that it helps transform proven leaders into global executives ready to lead the charge. The Berkeley Executive Program in Management encourages its participants to reflect, enhance strategic thinking, and develop authentic leadership. It is designed to create an immersive, relevant, and dynamic learning experience for senior executives, ready for the next level of the leadership challenge. It includes modules on advanced management competencies, leading innovative change, etc., which are a must for a person in C-level positions, to ensure the growth of the company.


MIT Professional Education Technology Leadership Program (TLP) 

This is a multi-modular program delivered by MIT faculty on campus and live virtually and geared towards the development needs of the next generation of technology CEOs, CTOs, CIOs, and emerging leaders. The program is designed for technology leaders and experienced practitioners from large corporations as well as startups innovation-oriented firms that are focusing on leveraging emerging digital technologies to remain relevant and competitive in the marketplace. After completing TLP, you will be part of a cohort of global leaders and practitioners. You will also become an integral part of the global MIT Professional Education network and will be considered an alumni of TLP as well as MIT Professional Education.

UCLA Post Graduate Program in Management for Executives (UCLA PGPX) 

It is an extensive general management program offered by the UCLA Anderson School of Management, one of the world’s top business schools. It is a part-time program with a modular format that provides great flexibility for busy professionals, while the UCLA faculty and industry leaders ensure that the program covers all aspects of best-in-class management education expected from a highly respected and globally renowned institution. The UCLA PGPX will put you on the map of global leadership, with a combination of strategies, skills, and acumen that will stretch your thinking and hone your abilities as a leader and manager capable of achieving remarkable growth in your business. This program has been designed to expose the participants to management and business leadership essentials in an extensive general management curriculum that is designed to be experiential in learning and applied in focus. 

Chicago Booth Accelerated Development Program (ADP)

The Chicago Booth ADP is a rigorous learning journey across 8 modules spread over 9 months and gives you access to the latest management thinking and tools. It is taught by an award-winning faculty at the Chicago Booth School of Business and accomplished senior business leaders. It creates an amazing opportunity to build a strong personal brand and competitively position yourself and your organization. ADP actively engages you in a collaborative learning environment with accomplished peers in London, New Delhi, and Chicago. The Chicago Booth Accelerated Development Program is designed for the global executive with a focus on delivering impact and leveraging the significant history of the Accelerated Development Program delivered across the globe, including London and India. The program is tailored for the busy schedules of senior professionals and is blended in design, with academic on-campus modules and off-campus experiences with online learning and live interactions to complement the on-campus experiences. You will build a global community of like-minded leaders and will become part of the Global ADP Network for life.


In conclusion, being a startup CEO is a demanding and rewarding role that requires a unique combination of skills and experience. The CEO must be able to set the company’s vision, build a talented team, make strategic decisions, and represent the company to the world. With the right combination of drive, passion, and talent, anyone can succeed as a startup CEO and lead their company to greatness.

A fintech company’s CEO should have worked in finance to have a good idea of the inner workings of the company and at the same time have leadership skills.

The average Startup Founder & CEO salary in India is ₹ 46.7 Lakhs for experience between 6 years to 24 years. Founder & CEO salary at Startup India ranges between ₹ 15.0 Lakhs to ₹ 102.0 Lakhs, according to

The salary of a CEO is set by the board of directors based on the different variables of the company such as size, industry, etc.

A startup founder is someone who starts a company based on a viable business idea and hopefully transforms it into a profitable business. An executive education program from an institute such as Chicago Booth School of Business will help in preparing for such a position. 

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