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Breaking into Venture Capital

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Is anyone here involved in VC? I'm incredibly, incredibly interested in the industry and would love to learn about anyone's experiences.

I'm primarily interested in the early stages where the focus is on evaluating the startup's product/service, the market for said product/service, and the management team.

Please share your experiences and knowledge!

Thanks!
post #2 of 13

My understanding is that the only people getting entry-level jobs in VC are Stanford grads. To get in mid-career, you'll need to have spent time at one of the big investment banks.

post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
That's probably the case for the West coast, but I'm primarily interested in NYC VCs. Also, my understanding is that VCs much prefer consultants over I-bankers.

I'm just scared that any pre-MBA VC role is automatically a sourcing role where you're just cold-calling CEOs for investment pitches. Now, sourcing in and of itself isn't unappealing -- in fact, I find the type of sourcing role where you're given the autonomy to come back with a couple investment ideas and pitches to be much, much more appealing. Cold calling? Not so much.
post #4 of 13
Didin't you go to a decent school? Check to see if any alumni are or were in VCs and mine them for info.
post #5 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by GreenFrog View Post

That's probably the case for the West coast, but I'm primarily interested in NYC VCs. Also, my understanding is that VCs much prefer consultants over I-bankers.

I'm just scared that any pre-MBA VC role is automatically a sourcing role where you're just cold-calling CEOs for investment pitches. Now, sourcing in and of itself isn't unappealing -- in fact, I find the type of sourcing role where you're given the autonomy to come back with a couple investment ideas and pitches to be much, much more appealing. Cold calling? Not so much.

I don't know a ton about this, but I can offer two data points:

When I was on the WC long ago, and venture was hot then, it was more or less impossible to go into VC without an MBA and several years experience at an I-Bank. Not sure how NYC differed then, or now.

Also, a close friend did a pre-MBA stint at a PE firm, extremely bright, Ivy League guy, later Harvard MBA, after several years experience on the buy side. All he did was cold calls. He made good money at it, but he hated it.

I'm not sure anyone is going to give you the autonomy to come back with investment pitches without an MBA and with, what, 1 year of consulting under your belt? I wouldn't.
post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joffrey View Post

Didin't you go to a decent school? Check to see if any alumni are or were in VCs and mine them for info.

Yeah, I went to a pretty decent school. Not an Ivy, but a top LA college. Def. have searched for alumni in the industry and can't really find any because our alumni network is pretty weak, IMO. Just need to search harder I guess.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Douglas View Post

I don't know a ton about this, but I can offer two data points:

When I was on the WC long ago, and venture was hot then, it was more or less impossible to go into VC without an MBA and several years experience at an I-Bank. Not sure how NYC differed then, or now.

Also, a close friend did a pre-MBA stint at a PE firm, extremely bright, Ivy League guy, later Harvard MBA, after several years experience on the buy side. All he did was cold calls. He made good money at it, but he hated it.

I'm not sure anyone is going to give you the autonomy to come back with investment pitches without an MBA and with, what, 1 year of consulting under your belt? I wouldn't.

Thanks for the data points. Quick question -- what's WC?

But I think you're right. Not only is it going to be tough to break into VC in the first place, but it'll probably be even tougher to get the type of gig I'm looking for. Le sigh.. I'm sure the opportunity is out there, though devil.gif.

I have 1.5 years of work experience now and will have 2 by this summer, which is when I want to make a move. I'm optimistic, though, as my research is showing that VC firms prefer people with a consulting background over IB.. but we'll see.
post #7 of 13
I know many lawyers who are in VC. I also know folks who have specific industry experience that are in VC. You don't necessarily need an MBA, but you do need to bring some needed skill set to the table.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Douglas View Post

I don't know a ton about this, but I can offer two data points:

When I was on the WC long ago, and venture was hot then, it was more or less impossible to go into VC without an MBA and several years experience at an I-Bank. Not sure how NYC differed then, or now.

Also, a close friend did a pre-MBA stint at a PE firm, extremely bright, Ivy League guy, later Harvard MBA, after several years experience on the buy side. All he did was cold calls. He made good money at it, but he hated it.

I'm not sure anyone is going to give you the autonomy to come back with investment pitches without an MBA and with, what, 1 year of consulting under your belt? I wouldn't.
post #8 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by GreenFrog View Post

Yeah, I went to a pretty decent school. Not an Ivy, but a top LA college.

This means UCLA, USC, Pomona, or Claremont. Sadly, all other schools will garner little attention outside CA. Even CMC is a reach in NYC.

If you are a Caltech grad, try to leverage your quantitative background.
post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by norcaltransplant View Post

This means UCLA, USC, Pomona, or Claremont. Sadly, all other schools will garner little attention outside CA. Even CMC is a reach in NYC.

If you are a Caltech grad, try to leverage your quantitative background.

Ah, I meant LA as in liberal arts. Went to a school in Massachusetts smile.gif
post #10 of 13

Didin't you go to a decent school? Check to see if any alumni are or were in VCs and mine them for info.

kiz3I6

post #11 of 13

I went to Boston University for my undergrad. Breaking in from there is nearly impossible without connections, although we had plenty of alumni in the industry. People here aren't lying when they say look for alumni. Just approach and be friendly, don't go solely after a job.

 

Also from your post I'm presuming you work in consulting? Many exit ops from consulting to VC or hedge funds, just need to meet the right people. NYC has a big venture community. Once you can break into that you're into it. Look into something like NYC Angels to go and get started. A guy named Brian runs it and is always happy to help people out with advice.

post #12 of 13
I was under the impression that nowadays VC firms are more interested in people that have entrepreneurial experience or strong connections in the VC/startup space and are less structured in their hiring practices (meaning IB experience is a plus but not amazing to them).
post #13 of 13

^ Strongly depends on the firm and which coast.

 

For example, to use consultancies, McKinsey is known to not like to hire auditors or Accenture consultants. I had two friends with those being the only things on their resumes. I had two more friends who had worked in Germany at a top tier boutique consultancy that paid far more than McKinsey. Guess which ones got interviews? Not the two I'd have expected. 

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