Having hands-on experience from different stages of the product lifecycle is always beneficial. Experience counts. Attitude is NOT a valid replacement for experience.
Startups could be (at least) two kinds:
- developing custom product for one or small number of customers: very concerned about the quality, making the good impression and building the trust
- developing product for mass market: more concerned about cool features, less concerned about the quality, because is hoping to gain two new customers with new features for each old customer leaving because of the bugs. This strategy can work while you have few percent of the total market, but starts be detrimental to growth once you get 10-20-30%.
Of course product should pass minimal requirements - if is too buggy to be used, it is too buggy, period. But (to certain level) early adopters are willing to tolerate quirks and weird workarounds, if other features of the new product cannot be found anywhere else.
As your product matures, this attitude has to change: Only very few companies can survive with the approach like Microsoft had: everyone knows you should do not even bother to use first two released versions of any new product.
All developers are concerned about the speed of the development, and the only speed which matter to startup is "speed to the market". If startup misses it's opportunity window, game over. Bigger company might have another chance. This inevitably will influence how either company values QA.
Basic automated unit and regression tests are crucial, especially in a startup, because you do not have resources to do lots of manual testing. All team members have to be very productive, and automated test will help them do so.