At present, Venture Capital (VC) is one of the most attractive career moves for management consultants and investment bankers. While the attraction is clear, the transition is not as straightforward. Venture Capital Investment roles require individuals to identify potential investment opportunities, contribute to the investment decision-making process and support startups. That’s why VCs tend to hire professionals with strong track records in leading, building or investing in startups. This means that consultants and bankers need to make an extra effort to break into the Venture Capital industry. As Michelle Nacouzi emphasises, “less than 5% of PE/VC hires come from consulting, [banking] or accounting firms.”1
To help our members successfully move into VC, we decided to reach out to someone who is currently making the transition and reveal which actions he took towards achieving this goal.
Kevin Jon was a management consultant at a top consulting firm for 3 years and decided to launch a startup accelerator during the second half of his consulting career. He is now in the process of moving to Asia and joining the VC & Incubation industry. He told us about his decision to move from MC to VC, and what he did to make that happen.
Why move to VC?
Kevin was always very interested in the startup world and had startup experience working at Rocket Internet so it was a natural step to consider a move to VC. His experience in consulting gave him a “passion for working on multiple projects, in multiple industries, with a diverse range of people.” VC then seemed like the obvious choice as it provides “the opportunity to work with many startups without having to settle on only one.” For such reasons, VC is widely considered as being one of the most exciting industries to be in right now.
That said, with such excitement comes great competition. “As consultants we are a good, but not the perfect fit for VCs. Thus, we have to go the extra mile in order to convince them that we are the right choice.”
What are the next steps to move into VC?
If you’re wondering where to start, Kevin’s got your back! Here are his 3 steps for a successful exit to VC:
1. Learn the basics
- Read books (for example, Venture Deals by Brad Feld, Jason Mendelson – this is THE Venture Capital bible!)
- Print out a typical term sheet (e.g. from the National Venture Capital Association) and read its various paragraphs and terms, etc.
2. Learn the advanced techniques
- Listen to industry podcasts (e.g. 20 minute VC by Harry Stebbings, the a16z podcast)
- Participate in discussions on VC in online communities (e.g. Quora)
- Follow the industry’s “greats” on social media (e.g. Doug Leone, Chamath Palihapitiya and Philippe Laffont all have great talks on YouTube)
- Subscribe to VC newsletters (e.g., Fred Wilson, Feld Thoughts)
3. Build your network
- Start connecting with VCs in your area (e.g., reach out on LinkedIn)
- Search for all the startup and investor meetups you can find and try to connect with industry thought leaders in person
“[I started building my network by] searching meetup.com for all the startup and investor meetups I could find and connecting in person. All the while remembering that I need to provide value first in order for these guys to dedicate some of their time to personally meeting with me.”
How can you make your CV stand out?
Whether in theory or in practice, any action you take should involve learning. To learn theory and boost your CV, Kevin recommends acquiring certificates and qualifications relevant to the industry such as the Stanford online course “Entrepreneurship Through the Lens of VC”, although there are many alternatives.
In order to learn practically, Kevin suggests you could dip your toes in to the world of VC by founding or participating in a Venture Capital related side-project. Whatever steps you choose to take to increase your chances of a successful move to VC, “you’ll have to be willing to put in the work on weekends”.
Looking to make the move to VC? Sign up to Hiperpool today and be the first to hear about exciting new roles based on your job preferences and experience.
1 – Michelle, Narcouzi (2018) – https://medium.com/indicator-ventures/vc-versus-mc-the-ten-major-differences-between-venture-capital-and-management-consulting-af113c8ccb90