I was recently at on offsite with my fellow partners at Charles River Ventures, and the idea came up that I should find someone who could be the next George Zachary. I’ve done well in my 17-year career as a venture capitalist, returning more than $1 billion of investor gains through successes like Yammer, Millennial Media, Shutterfly and Twitter. My partners want to keep that going. I am 46 now, and I get 50 pitches a day, half of those referred by people I know. I am looking for leverage to meet more of these companies and remain involved in my current companies, friends, and family. My partners see the value in my intuition-based approach to investing and asked me to think about how I can leverage my time and value by finding a great apprentice.
I am big on a particular type of entrepreneur. I don’t look too hard at business plans and the numbers. I am not necessarily impressed by the guy who topped out at Stanford or dazzled at Google. I am specifically looking for founders who are extremely smart and want to change the world for the better by building new companies, founders who are deeply passionate and completely obsessive about what they want to do. A great example is the smart and relentless David Sacks, the founder of Yammer, which was just recently acquired by Microsoft. My investing successes track closely with those qualities. Once I’m in, my job is to keep the founder fired up and safe from naysayers.
I need to find someone who sees investing the same way I do.
Get a recruiter, my partners say. Maybe I will. But can you imagine explaining this to a recruiter? I’ve decided to try something else first. With the help of TechCrunch, I am going to put out a call for an apprentice. If find one, I will hire that person to work with me at Charles River Ventures as my associate. If the apprentice does well, they will become a partner – the new and hopefully improved George Zachary.
How will I find that apprentice? The entry form is below this post. All I want is…
• a link to your LinkedIn profile
• a 60-second video of you explaining why you would be a great venture capitalist
• a 300-word note retelling the most formative experience in your life
My friends at TechCrunch and Charles River Ventures will look those over, and we will select seven people to appear on stage with me for a live interview at TechCrunch’s Disrupt conference in San Francisco on Tuesday, Sept. 11 at 6 p.m. I will conduct brief interviews with each person before a live audience, and I will ask three of those seven to join me for a subsequent, lengthier interview. One may end up my apprentice. Or not. This is hard.
But if you want to give it a try, look below to enter. One detail: if we pick you and you are not already attending the show, TechCrunch and I will get you a ticket.
The deadline for applications is Noon PST Wednesday, September 5.