What are some tips for a new associate at a venture capital firm?



There’s just one skill I’d like to suggest adding to Stefano Bernardi’s great list:

Try to learn to see what really can be great in a start-up.  And then try to learn when — and when not to — stick your neck out and support one.

95% of associates and such in my experience are super smart and learn to be great critics.  Why this deal is too expensive.  Why churn is too high here.  Why this.  Why that.  They are always right.

It’s just … if you invest early stage, there are always 95 reasons not to do any deal.

What are the 5 really good ones to do this one?

Often, there aren’t really 5 good ones.

But try to learn.

  • What really makes a great CEO?  Especially — a first-time CEO?
  • When are 10 early customers telling about the next 1,000 — and when aren’t they?
  • When is almost growing fast enough, but not quite, OK?  And when isn’t it?
  • When is competition a reason to pass, and when is it a reason not to?

Almost any smart person can become an effective critic.  Thanks for that.

But …

When and why should I do a deal?  What did I miss here in my cursory review?  Why should I take a first or second look at one I might have not taken a deep dive on?

That’s an incredibly valuable asset on the team.

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Published on April 24, 2016
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