Startups are built by and for engineers: Silicon Valley and its startups have always had a very hacker culture, and usually that’s for the better. As a result, companies value engineers and engineering mindsets highly. There’s two main ways this manifests itself to the detriment of designers:
1) It forces designers who want to be taken seriously in the design world to become more like engineers. I remember speaking to a friend who was hired recently as an engineer - I asked him if he felt that he was “giving up,” and he oddly understood exactly what I meant. The more engineering work a designer does in this world, the more highly regarded the designer is. But you’re not trying to hire another developer, you’re trying to hire a designer.
2) Designers are expected to operate on engineer’s terms. A friend of mine was asked to join a project, and when he asked the founder what he would do when the two of them disagree, the founder responded, “Oh, we’ll A/B test to see which idea makes more sense.” If you don’t see why that isn’t a problem, do a bit of research on the problem with local maximas. I’m not arguing that you should not be metrics-based, but that you need to use metrics intelligently, and a designer needs the freedom and organizational structure to practice their flavor of design with thought and care. Without that, you are hiring another engineer.Designers who actually want to be designers are unlikely to stand for it.