I am currently on the academic job market, have already sent and going to send a number of applications (mostly to US universities). My current institution, where I am a postdoc, is among the top in Europe and has a very strong startup culture and support. As a result, I have recently co-founded a tech startup in my field, together with my professor/supervisor and colleagues. For several personal and legal reasons, I mostly work on the research and technology side of the startup, not on the operation side (e.g., I help with but don't directly go to seek funding, meet investors). To me, the startup is more like a side project, an experiment. My dream career is still in academia.
In my faculty job applications, I mention my business experience (co-founder) in two places: in my CV and my cover letter (one sentence). I think it could be a positive point as it shows I have some industrial/business/practical experience outside academia, especially when the job ads say "industrial experience is a plus / preferred."
However, on reflection, I am now afraid that this could actually be a negative point from the academic view, that could hinder my applications. For example:
- One may think there is a conflict of interest (although in my current institution, many profs involve directly or indirectly in startups).
- They may question my commitment to academia, like: how can he focus on academic research and teaching if he will be involved in a startup, which often take an enormous amount of time? Especially when his company is in Europe while he works at our university in the US.
- Similarly, they may think I am not serious in applying to faculty positions.
Do you think I made a mistake including my business experience in my applications? Since I still have quite a few applications to submit, should I remove the experience completely?