What you need to know about landing a job in VC
Venture Capital firms seek to raise capital from Limited Partners and invest in early-stage, high growth potential companies in exchange for equity (some share of ownership over the company). They then seek returns on their investment either through an IPO (initial public offering) or an acquisition. Because risk is high, most venture capital investments fail. However, if they gain a large amount of equity in the next Google, the payout can be worth all the losses from the rest of the company's portfolio.
Venture capitalists usually invest in start-ups, many of which emerge from Silicon Valley. They explore any number of industries, but most firms tend to specialize their portfolio within one or two industries, such as real estate or life sciences. According to Mergers & Acquisition's website, the VC job can be divided into these six categories:
Compared to other finance-heavy roles, like private equity or investment banking, venture capital is much slower at accumulating wealth. Technical work is much simpler, but there is a severe discount in compensation and junior level positions rarely lead to Partner roles. You should seek a junior-level role at a VC firm if you are very passionate about startups and want to build a professional network, which you can leverage for future positions.
Speaking of roles, let's talk about what it takes to get your foot in the door and land a role at a VC firm and the career progression that follows.
There are three levels of experience when entering a VC firm: pre-MBA, post-MBA, and senior level positions. These are some examples of backgrounds you might have before entering one of these levels, but they are not exclusive and career paths look different at each firm and with each hiring team.
Similar to modes of entry, hierarchies at VC firms vary quite a lot, with some, a lot, or few fixed titles and career paths. Generally, according to Mergers and Acquisitions website, this is the typical hierarchy:
If venture capital jobs interest you, here are a few suggestions to securing your dream position at a VC firm in Dallas, San Francisco, New York, or other popular spots...
Do your due diligence and research job descriptions and job types. You can find these through a Google search, by subscribing to job alerts, or browsing sites like LinkedIn or Handshake for college students. Every VC firm will have a detailed job description along with the link to the application under their Careers page on their website.
Once you've identified the postings that match up with your skills and experiences, it's time to do even more research. Talk with a recruiter and begin to network with current employees to earn career advice and more information about the company. Here are a few informational interview questions to get you started...
Keep in mind that you should be well informed about the company and expectations before applying. This will also help you tailor your resume and cover letter accordingly.
Networking is arguably the most important skill in a VC career. You can be incredibly skilled at financial modeling and financial analysis, but without the ability to create business relationships with new ventures, you'll never succeed. Make sure to network with as many individuals on the investment team as possible during your job search. In addition to the usual perks of networking, this will show your future coworkers that you know how to build trusting relationships.
Finally, it's time to apply. Gather your cover letter, resume, references, websites, and any other relevant material in order and submit your application. Here are a few tips to prepare for the interview:
Best of luck in your job search!
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Third-party data has been obtained from sources we believe to be reliable; however, its accuracy, completeness, or reliability cannot be guaranteed. Candor does not receive compensation to promote or discuss any particular Company; however, Candor, its employees and affiliates, and/or its clients may hold positions in securities of the Companies discussed.