Archive for the ‘Venture Capital’ category

Stern Entrepreneur’s Roundtable

February 7th, 2011

As I previously wrote, a couple months ago I participated in a great event at NYU Stern called the Entrepreneur’s Roundtable.  I had meant to write more about it a while back, but I just discovered a great summary by the school newspaper.

While I know many of the entrepreneurs at Stern, I met a few new folks who either have or are currently starting very impressive companies.  It was truly impressive to hear my peers’ stories.  While all impressive in their own ways, one that struck me was first year MBA Linz Shelton who once got the UCLA football team to help her assemble her Cuffz by Linz bags when she was out of money but had just secured a huge order from Nordstrom.  Other stories included a classmate who had just raised angel funding at a several million dollar valuation, to others who had bootstrapped their businesses to profitable and growing organizations.  I was honored to have taken part, and I’m equally honored to work beside such great people and entrepreneurs everyday at Stern.

Venture Capital Internship – IA Ventures

January 25th, 2011

I posted back in September about an IA Ventures VC internship opening, but wanted to re-post as they are actively hiring for an internship position once again.  They’re a solid firm that is extremely active in the New York VC/entrepreneurship community.  If I were in the market I would definitely apply.

You can find the full application here, but basic details are below.

IA Ventures (http://www.iaventures.com) is seeking a Venture Capital Intern to support the operations and investment processes of our fund.

We are an early-stage investment fund focused on companies that develop breakthrough tools and technologies for managing and extracting value from Big Data. We also work hard to promote NYC entrepreneurship through a number of efforts, including TechStars NY, SeedStart and the Columbia and NYU Venture Communities.

We’re looking for someone who loves venture to help us in a number of ways. The more ways you can help, the more valuable you’ll be here. You should be analytical, innovative and driven. You should also possess a good head for business, a keen attention to detail, and a profound distaste for business formal.

Responsibilities:
- Help diligence potential investments, including: financial modeling, market analysis, and primary and secondary research
- Help build investment presentations for our portfolio companies looking to raise their next round
- Provide operational support to our internal initiatives
- Maintain our internal investment database

Skill set:
- Meaningful understanding of and involvement in the startup ecosystem
- Entrepreneurial operating experience is a big plus, but not a requirement
- Tech savviness is definitely, definitely required
- Strong verbal and writing skills (Powerpoint too)
- Exceptional organizational skills and a strong attention to detail

Commitment:
- Flexible, but we need you in the office at least one day a week (we’re located in Flatiron)
- This internship is unpaid

IA Ventures is Hiring a VC Intern

September 9th, 2010

Given how rare VC internship opportunities are, I wanted to share this venture capital internship opportunity with IA Ventures.  I had the opportunity to meet with Brad Gillespie while fundraising for SkillSlate.  While it was a pass for them, Brad was extremely insightful and gave us some great ideas and advice (some of which we are actually working to implement right now).  I’m sure they’d be great to work for, so good luck if you choose to apply!  Details are below.

Title: Venture Capital Intern

IA Ventures (http://www.iaventurepartners.com) – an early-stage venture capital firm investing in companies developing breakthrough tools and technologies for managing and extracting value from Big Data – is seeking a Venture Capital Intern to support the operations and investment processes of our fund. The successful candidate will become a contributing member of a small team of highly successful investors and entrepreneurs. The candidate will be a highly analytical, innovative and driven self-starter with good business judgment and a keen attention to detail.

Responsibilities:

- Help diligence potential investments, including: financial modeling, market analysis, and primary and secondary research

- Research areas of strategic importance to the IA Ventures ecosystem

- Provide operational support to IA Ventures’ internal initiatives

- Maintain IAVP’s internal investment database

Requirements:

- Meaningful understanding of and involvement in startup ecosystem

- Entrepreneurial operating experience a big plus

- Tech savvy / net-native

- Strong verbal and writing skills

- Exceptional organizational skills and a strong attention to detail

Commitment:

- Flexible, but minimum of 15 hours per week

- This internship is unpaid

Please send (i) resume + (ii) one-paragraph explanation of interest to jobs@iaventurepartners.com BY SEPTEMBER 15

Contour Venture Partners – Venture Capital Internship

August 3rd, 2010

Contour Venture Partners is a terrific early-stage VC firm based in New York City led by Bob Greene and Matt Gorin.  I first met Bob when he spoke to InSITE last fall about his career in the venture capital industry.  I later corresponded a few times with Matt via email when I applied for their internship last fall.  Fortunately/unfortunately, I had to later bow out as I accepted an offer to intern for Canaan Partners just before receiving the invitation to interview with Contour (I say fortunately because I was lucky to get the offer at Canaan, I say unfortunately because Contour is a great firm too).  About six months later, I had the uniquely interesting experience of later putting on my entrepreneur hat, and sitting on the other side of the table delivering SkillSlate’s pitch to both Bob and Matt.  While the meetings didn’t result in a check, they were extremely valuable as both Bob and Matt were extremely insightful, both asked great questions as well as offered welcome advice.  Based on my experiences with Contour Ventures, I would highly recommend this internship opportunity at the fund.

Position: Venture Intern (part-time during academic year)

Contour’s Profile: Contour Venture Partners is a New York based early stage venture capital firm that works with companies that provide technology enhanced products and services in the financial services, digital media and internet sectors.  The principals at Contour have a long and successful track record, having directly supported over 50 companies through numerous market cycles since the late 1980s.

Job Description: We are looking for a first or second year student to work with us during the academic year as a venture intern.  This is a great way to learn about the venture capital industry as the intern will have exposure to many aspects of the venture capital business.

The venture intern will work closely with the partners and will be responsible for various projects that relate to deal sourcing, company diligence, industry and sector research, financial modeling and database management.

Qualifications: 3+ years experience prior to graduate school at a startup, technology operating company, venture capital firm or management consulting firm
- Strong operational and entrepreneurial mindset
- Ability to work independently
- Strong work ethic and self-starter
- Excellent written, oral communication and analytical skills
- Exposure to startup and emerging technology companies
- Detail oriented
- Strong modeling skills
- Intellectually curious and strong ethical character
- Deep interest in venture capital
- Strong investment judgment

Contact: Matt Gorin, matt@contourventures.com

Good luck!

Canaan Partners is Hiring an Analyst

April 22nd, 2010

Canaan Partners is hiring a new Investment Analyst for their Westport Connecticut office (mostly covering NYC).  Those of you who have been looking for a junior VC job know they don’t come up often, and when they do, unfortunately they’re very difficult to get.  That said, this is an amazing opportunity to work closely with a couple incredible partners on the east coast tech team, and dive into all aspects of VC: sourcing, modeling, market sizing, diligence, entrepreneur meetings, investor meetings, writing investment proposals, helping portfolio companies – just about everything.  I’ve had the amazing opportunity to work with this team as an MBA intern for the last seven months or so, and I can’t say enough great things about the role, the people, or the firm.

A word of advice.  Make sure you actually fit the description and have demonstrated technology, entrepreneurship, and prior finance/consulting/vc experience.  I know they’re getting a lot of resumes without those matches and it’s unfortunately simply not a fit…

Canaan Partners – Analyst Position
Job Description: Canaan Partners is seeking to hire a Pre-MBA Investment Analyst for its Westport, CT office. The Investment Analyst role at Canaan offers a unique opportunity to contribute in all parts of the investment process: from screening potential investments, to leading diligence sessions, to ultimately working closely with our portfolio companies to help them succeed.  Note: The Analyst is expected to live in / near NYC and commute to Westport as needed.

Preferred Skillset:

  • 1-3 years experience in a technology Investment Banking role or Strategy/Management consulting role
  • Demonstrated interest in technology, entrepreneurship, and the NYC startup scene
  • Excel wizardry / modeling skills
  • Ability to thrive in an unstructured environment and take on massive amounts of responsibility
  • Prior entrepreneurial experience preferred
  • Graduate from a top undergraduate institution

Interested applicants who meet the job requirements may apply online via Doostang.
About Canaan Partners:

Canaan Partners is a $3bn global venture capital firm focused on IT and healthcare. Over the last 20 years, Canaan has invested in more than 250 companies, many of them going on to become leaders in their respective industries. Our investment capabilities range from $1 million to $20 million, and we have the ability and the team to invest in any stage of development, from seed financings to late stage investments.  Notable investments in the technology space include Match.com, DoubleClick, Associated Content, Tremor Media, and LendingClub. Canaan Partners has offices in Westport, CT, Menlo Park, India and Israel.

David Rose’s “Confessions of an Angel Investor”

February 25th, 2010

David S. Rose at NYU SternLast night I was fortunate to see prominent NYC angel investor David S. Rose give his “Confessions of an Angel Investor” talk at NYU Stern.  I heard super-angel Ron Conway talk last semester, which I thought was amazing, so I was eager for David’s presentation as well.  I’ve been lucky to learn a great deal about early-stage VC investing through my internship with Canaan Partners, however, I didn’t previously know quite as much about the angel investing space, therefore I found these sessions to be particularly interesting.

David, who runs Rose Tech Ventures and is the Chairman of the New York Angels, shared some interesting facts about angel investing, and quite a bit of helpful advice for entrepreneurs.  I plan to do a couple follow-up posts about his talk, but I’m going to focus this post on the most important things he looks for in entrepreneurs (along with his commentary on each point).

Top 10 Things David Rose Looks for in Entrepreneurs

  1. Integrity – the #1 most important thing, “this is not bullshit, this is serious”
  2. Passion – there is a “positive correlation between passion to create something big, and success”
  3. Experience – [have you started a business before, even if you started and failed (prior failure has no negative correlation with later success)] – “have to learn by doing, until you’ve done everything related to starting a business, you won’t know how”
  4. Knowledge – knowledge of the market and/or business
  5. Skill – you have the skills to execute  and know how to hire people, market it, run finances, everything (or as much as you can).  Need a team that fills in all the functional skills that the business needs.
  6. Leadership – Can be formal or informal (ie: you were captain of your football team, you started a student club and ran it)
  7. Commitment“This is not a weekend thing for you.  I need you to stay with this thing until it exits and I get my money back”
  8. Vision – You must have the vision to create something (this will keep you committed). “Apple’s in the business to change the world one person at a time”
  9. Realism “I’ll bet on you to do it, but who’s your first customer?” Building up realistically (without crazy numbers), rational projections that you and I can believe, and how you can get there one person at a time.
  10. Coachabiltiy “I want you to be coachable, I want you to listen.  If I suggest that you think about something, probably not a bad idea to listen and think about it because together I think we can build something special.”

And he threw in an 11th point that brings it all together:

Communication“Show me that you can do all these things and convey all this stuff in a meaningful and convincing way.”

All of David’s above-listed points really resonated with me and are things that I am focusing on applying to my inner-entrepreneur.  If you missed his talk, you can check out a recorded version HERE (or stay tuned for more tidbits in later posts)!

Funniest VC Quote I’ve Heard

February 6th, 2010

Yesterday a VC friend of mine used the following analogy (which I happen to think is hilarious):

“Being a VC in a room full of entrepreneurs is like being the hot girl at a nerd party”

To provide some context, he was sharing his perspective that when he goes to conferences or tech events, he tends to get a lot of attention from the entrepreneurs in attendance (kind of like when an attractive girl walks into a room filled with guys and becomes the center of attention).  People listen to what he says and think that he must have something particularly insightful to share (or at least people pretend to) since he’s a VC.  His self-deprecating response was that it’s only because VCs are like bodyguards standing in front of a pot of gold (the fund) that the entrepreneurs want access to.  I appreciated his humility and thought the quote was one of the funnier ones I’ve heard lately.

Disclaimer: I am a self-proclaimed nerd, so my post is in no way intended to make fun of anyone.

How Hard Is It To Get a Junior VC Job?

February 3rd, 2010

Want to be a venture capitalistMost of my classmates seem to understand that getting a junior venture capital job (pre-principal level) is pretty tough.  But just how competitive is it to get a VC job or internship?  I’ve seen some more qualitative information from sources such as the Vault Guide to Venture Capital stating that for any posted job opening, you can expect 200 to 300 applicants from all the top MBA programs.  While I believe those stats, I was curious to see if I could find any actual quantitative data on just how competitive the VC job application process is.  So I started poking around a bit…

A classmate of mine recently pointed out that Bessemer Venture Partners, one of the oldest and most prestigious venture capital firms, is hiring a new analyst.  If you had to guess, how many resumes do you think they’ll receive for this one open position?  Six hundred and fifty you say?  If prior history is any indicator, you’re spot on.

On her blog, Sarah Tavel (a Sr. Associate with Bessemer Venture Partners) shares some fascinating metrics on pre-MBA VC hiring.  She provides the following data on the hiring funnel:

  • 650+ resumes submitted
  • 42 first-round interviews (~6%)
  • Seven second-round interviews (17% of the 42)
  • One offer (14% of the seven, but 0.15% of resumes submitted!)

Wow.  Those are some wild stats.

As an additional data point, I can also share some credible quantitative metrics for an unpaid during-the-school-year VC internship here in New York.  I do know that for one internship opening (with a top firm) that was only posted to a select few networks, they received more than 100 applications (resume plus a brief write-up on why you want to do it and why you’re qualified).  Of the 100+ applications, they conducted first round interviews with about ten people (<10% of applicants).  Of those ten people, they conducted second round interviews with just two people (20% of first round interviewees, <2% of total applicants) and extended an offer to one person (10% of first round interviewees, 50% of second round interviewees, and less than 1% of all applicants).

While the numbers look daunting (in fact, they are), I would bet that only 1/2 to 1/3 (perhaps even fewer) of the applicants actually fit the ‘profile’ that VC firms seem to look for (tech, entrepreneurship/start-ups, right schools, perhaps top consulting firms and/or banks, etc).  If you have the majority of those check marks, I would expect that you actually have a decent shot of at least being considered for the first round interview (once your foot is in the door, it’s yours to lose from there).  My observations have also led to my belief that most positions in VC are never even publicly open, but rather when venture capital firms do decide to hire a junior VC, it’s done through personal networks, recommendations from trusted people in the industry, and/or recruiting firms (I know several junior VCs who found jobs this way).

So the takeaway is yes, it’s tough, very tough.  However, if you truly want it, and have done/are doing the right things to get there (particularly networking within the industry), the odds are not insurmountable.  Good luck!

Canaan Partners Ranked #13 on TechCrunch VC Leaderboard 2009

February 1st, 2010

Canaan Partners TechCrunch Top Dealmakers 2009I just saw TechCrunch’s VC Leaderboard for 2009 which lists the top 25 most active VC dealmakers of 2009.  The list ranks each VC firm by number of deals consummated last year.  The firm that I intern for, Canaan Partners, came in at #13 on the list with an impressive 24 deals and $347,619,997 of total round participation value (not Canaan’s funds invested, that is the total value of the rounds that Canaan participated in which includes other VCs on the same deal).  Pretty cool.

The top 20 firms are shown below (click to see more at TechCrunch):

StartupAtWork Spring Speaker Series: 24/7 Real Media

January 30th, 2010

StartupAtWork is an initiative that I began helping out with last fall through my internship with Canaan Partners (Canaan is a sponsor, and the moderator Warren Lee is a partner at the firm). The organization hosts a series of events that feature prominent guests such as Ron Conway, one of the most prolific angel investors of all time (Google, Facebook, Zappos, Paypal), and Steve Hafner, co-founder of Orbitz and Kayak.com. The first session of the spring 2010 speaker series features two stellar speakers from 24/7 Real Media: David Moore, Chairman/Founder/Former CEO, and Mark Moran, Former EVP/General Counsel.  It is sure to be a fascinating story hearing how 24/7 Real Media raised funding, went public, nearly went bankrupt then ultimately sold to WPP Group for $650 million dollars.  The 24/7 Real Media session will be held Wednesday February 10th (5:45pm registration, 6:00pm pizza & beer, 7:00pm interview) at the New World Stages.

The StartupAtWork speaker series is intended to help foster entrepreneurship in the NYC tech community by bringing in successful entrepreneurs and investors who can share their experiences and impart tangible learnings on the attendees. While the event is invite-only, the vast majority of attendees are entrepreneurs, people working at start-ups, and students interested in the startup/tech space.  It’s a bootstrapped event (though there is free beer and pizza) where a lot of great contacts can be made and ideas can be shared.  In case you missed the fall series, you can view some great video clips of the sessions.

If you’re interested in attending this invite-only event, more details are here, and please contact me (form at the bottom of the page) to request an invite.