What do I need to do to get started in venture capital investing? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.
The best way to develop a career in VC is to think about what makes a successful general partner. I think there are three critical areas required for success:
- Can you source and identify interesting opportunities? Key skills here are networking/relationship development and having a defined investment thesis that you can articulate. In your spare time, are you a connector? Do you go to meet-ups/other entrepreneurial events and build relationships?
- Can you pick winners from the relationships you've sourced? Admittedly it's very hard to do this at scale if you are not already at a VC firm, but there are good proxies for this. Do you have your own portfolio or advisory-type relationships that can help prove out your picking? Most people don't have enough money to angel invest, but you can find other non-monetary ways to get involved and demonstrate your ability to pick. In terms of jobs, product management roles - where you are talking with customers to discern their needs and helping engineering to determine how best to fashion a product around those needs - is probably the closest non-VC job to being a VC. Being a founder/CEO of course is even better, but not everyone has that desire!
- Can you add value in ways that help companies achieve their goals and that make you competitive to win deals? Here again, you may not be able to sit on a lot of boards as a non-VC, but you can build relationships with CEOs and pay it forward such that they could attest to your abilities to be helpful to them in accomplishing their business goals.
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