I'm a relatively recent graduate putting together a startup company, and I've just received an offer to peer-review a paper for a reputable journal.
As with prior questions on SE.Academia, e.g.
I'm basically asking if it's important that I accept. The difference in this question is that I'm not currently employed by a university, nor do I foresee that changing any time soon, so I'm less concerned with something like a faculty activity report and more concerned with maintaining professional connections.
While I believe that it's virtuous to help build the human knowledge pool, my primary concern is a bit more pragmatic in if I should be focused on building professional connections. Realistically speaking I'm not currently too concerned with publishing papers, though I may yet need to when it's time to explain to the world exactly what technology my startup's based on.
However, a time sink's still a time sink, and I can't afford too many distractions right now. I'm also unsure about precisely what I'd be committing to, making it harder to judge how much of a distraction it might be.
The peer-review request came in on a private email address, so I assume that someone I know well recommended me. It's a pretty safe bet that both the editor and the person who recommended me are aware of my professional situation and considered it when making the recommendation/request.
The editor has strong connections in a field where I have a patent for a technology that may yield significant royalties if it's adopted. As a complex technology that I don't currently have time to personally champion, having other experts in the field recommend it could be the difference between investors using it vs. going with a less-effective-but-simpler solution advocated by competitors.
Should a startup-company founder be concerned with maintaining a reputation as a peer-reviewer?
In general, is serving as a peer-reviewer important to researchers outside of academia?
Are there potential benefits/hazards to accepting/rejecting a peer-review request?
Context information (if relevant):
The peer-review subject matter isn't closely related to the startup company's core technology, though one expected basket of consumers of the company's core technology is likely to care about the peer-review subject matter.
I haven't officially done a peer-review before, though I've provided unofficially commentary upon request for those that were serving as peer-reviewers.