The venture capital industry has seen record amounts of capital in recent years, with many firms raising their biggest funds ever and new funds popping up every week. Professionalization in this once small industry has led to hiring at historic levels. Many of my clients are looking outside of the existing world of venture for the human capital to fuel that growth, seeking to build teams with more diverse experiences.
Switching careers is not easy, and VC is often not as glamorous or as lucrative as it can be perceived to be, but you are thinking of getting into the industry; maybe you made a seed investment once, maybe you started a company and loved your VC board member and thought their job looked interesting, maybe you’ve been an advisor to a friend’s startup and it sparked your interest.
What do VCs look for, and what’s it like to interview for these roles? I’ve worked on many senior investor searches for VC firms and I’ll share as much as I can.
What kinds of backgrounds do VCs like?
VCs generally see value in networking. So if you come from a company a VC might know, they’ll probably have a coffee with you even if they don’t have any real interest in hiring you, because that coffee could have several “successful” outcomes —you may be right for a role in their portfolio, you may find a startup of interest in the future, you might even be a good hire for their investment team.
What’s the sort of operating background that a VC firm is actually interested in hiring? In my experience, two types of backgrounds tend to fare well with VCs.