“In the Studio” at TechCrunch TV continues this week with a guest who began his career as a venture capitalist at the ripe old age of 18 and today, after eight years as an investor, is now going out on his own with a new e-commerce venture.
As a freshman at Babson College in Massachusetts, Gautam Gupta led his school’s entrepreneurship club and, in the process, fostered connections with a handful of the Boston’s venture capital investors. One of those connections developed into a more professional relationship. General Catalyst, a Cambridge, Mass-headquartered venture capital firm, which has recently opened offices in Palo Alto, CA and New York City, hired Gupta as an intern during the school years, a full summer internship, and during his senior year, offered him a full-time position in Harvard Square.
Over the next five years, Gupta helped source and close five deals General Catalyst, as well as playing an instrumental role in helping open the firm’s new Palo Alto offices. Gupta has recently left General Catalyst to found a new e-commerce company, NatureBox, which aims to provide healthy snacks to people based on specific ingredients and targeted toward specific demographics. In our discussion, Gupta explains his personal and professional motivations for starting NatureBox and his transition from venture capital to being a founder. (Note: General Catalyst is an investor in NatureBox).
The main portion of this discussion, however, is a frank discussion about what it’s like to be young and in venture capital. Gupta is forthcoming about the benefits and the drawbacks. For anyone who is young and interested in the venture industry, it’s worth watching. Gupta explains some of the contextual nuances around how decisions are made within partnerships and how so much of success in venture boils down to “sales.” The world of venture capital is a hyper-competitive one and difficult to break into — there are no direct routes and, as Gupta explains, while it’s a great gig, all that glitters is not gold.