Trying to break into VC

teresaman's profile thumbnail
Tagging the lovely @iynna so she could share her thoughts :)
iynna's profile thumbnail
Thank you @teresaman for tagging me and I know I am very late to the party!
itsabhinaya's profile thumbnail
Feel free to DM. Happy to chat more. This is going to sound generic because I don't have too many details. I would be asking myself these questions:1. Do I have a niche industry focus or generalist focus? doesn't matter too much but this will determine a lot about what funds you want to aim at.2. Am I showing signs of doing the job I would eventually want? Pick one or two: Sourcing, diligence, portfolio work, and LPs 3. What value are you bringing or adding to the team? Is it your existing experience, insights, or something else? Are you vocal about your superpowers?
abbyrose's profile thumbnail
Hi Anon,First of all, your experience is not at all unusual for a young person trying to find an entry level job in venture. The industry is notoriously small, insular and hard to break into. So don't be discouraged-- most of the VCs I know had a very similar experience when they were first starting out! It's definitely not you :)I've heard good things about GoingVC (https://www.goingvc.com/) as a "career accelerator" for getting into venture. The friends I know that have done it said it was a great intro to the space and the network was really valuable. GoingVC's founder, John Gannon, also has a blog with a ton of resources and a lot of VC job postings (https://johngannonblog.com/). Venture Deals by Brad Feld is the classic industry primer for the technical side of VC-- if you haven't read it yet, I would highly recommend it before your next interview.You're definitely doing the right thing by reaching out to people in venture and networking-- it's much more common to get a VC job through someone you know than through a conventional job application (one of the reasons why we have such a big diversity problem unfortunately, but that's the way the industry works). Something that I think is important to highlight, though, is that networking needs to be genuine to really work in this space. We're all very busy, and we all get a LOT of outreach from people trying to break into the space, so it's really important to focus on genuine connections (a few quality relationships over a lot of quick one-time chats). People need to genuinely get to know you, like you, and find you interesting before they will want to go to bat for you, as there are a lot of "spammy" people in this industry. When you reach out to VCs, make sure you put time and effort into researching them first and write a well-crafted, highly personalized note (point out tweets of theirs you enjoyed, blog articles of theirs you read, friends you might have in common, etc. etc.). After you chat, do something to reciprocate if you can-- offer to introduce them to other VCs you've been chatting with, or send them a few deals you've sourced (be sure to research their firm in advance to make sure the deals are on-thesis!).Finally, I'd recommend thinking about carving out a bit of a "niche" for yourself, as the venture space is very wide and encompasses a huge variety of different roles that can be night and day from each other (my work at a small, early stage, sector specific fund is nothing like being an Associate at Sequoia, for example). Identify a few industries that you find particularly interesting and become an expert in those and get really knowledgeable about the deal flow at a certain stage (seed, early stage, late stage, growth equity, etc.) in those industries. Then focus your outreach and application strategies on funds that have that focus. This will help you do better in interviews, and will also be more similar to what your day-to-day job as a VC will be like (nobody tries to know all of the trends happening across every industry all the time-- it would be impossible to keep up). It will also point you towards roles that will hopefully be a better fit for you and make you happier in the long run.My own journey into venture was very unconventional and may or may not be helpful, but if you're interested, I've done a few podcast interviews talking about it in detail:- https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/story-time-venture-capitalist-who-reminds-herself-death/id1500631289?i=1000469386068&fbclid=IwAR2i5m1LSOjcMPjiDUlyGJ0TLtmJmaPqZbL3tb30BIofofTN3zCyKrt2-4I- https://open.spotify.com/episode/0uQvWvz6cWEuFzBmoqSAeT?si=KgN1-raUTCaQfd16P7zSNw- https://www.raisev.com/podcast-fem-force/episode/c0d5d504/abby-lyall-embracing-technological-change-and-a-glimpse-into-the-vc-worldBest of luck with your search! If you want to send me a message with your email and some more information about the types of funds you are interested in (sector and stage) I'll dig through some "VC only" groups I'm in and see if there are any postings that fit.
iynna's profile thumbnail
Hi Anon!Great to hear your interest in VC Firstly, if you haven't done so check this recent post https://elpha.com/posts/bei76v9j/i-ve-been-in-venture-capital-for-two-months-here-s-what-still-makes-no-senseFirst of all do not get discouraged- I literally say this to people ALL THE TIME (and I've said it on here a couple of times already) so I apologise if I sound like a broken record but it is so true ... if I've made it in VC, ANYONE can. I started my career at the UN (my area of focus was the intersect of conflict resolution, peacekeeping operations and leveraging tech along those), and I turned into a founder after that ... so yeah I am now in early-stage VC.VC is hard to "break into" but honestly, what isn't? What really bothers me is people wanting to go because it looks shiny and cool. It is a really hard space to be, espec. at the early stage with all the uncertainties and craziness that go with it, but the rewards are so huge! 1) VC is very relationship-driven so first thing first build the network - you say you love meeting and possibly helping founders, ask yourself how have you supported them? What impact have you created for them? Then think about getting closer to their investors. It is also very helpful to know what drives VCs: ROI - for that they want the best startups, who finds the best startups? Well technically nobody, because it's a lot of luck, opportunity, there is no secret formula but there are things to look out for specific metrics. The problem is that there is so many startups (in NYC alone earlier in 2020 there were over 7K, I suspect it's even more now) that it's hard to really know and the truth is you never really do - but you can maximise your chances for success by seeing a huge amunt of deals - and for that you have to be hungry, you have to be a hustler and a closer. You have to show that you can be like that through a variety of examples.It is also helpful if you have a good understanding of current trends and show passion and interest - so many people want to get into VC but what makes you different than the next person?Happy to take this further if you want!Good luck!!!