What skill sets are essential in becoming an Associate & or General Partner at a VC firm?
Ultimately, only one thing matters:
Closing / making a couple of investments in the very, very best start-ups.
- Adding value does not matter. To the founders it does, but not to the VC firm. Not really.
- Sourcing candidates / VPs for portfolio companies does not matter.
- Helping the other partners does not matter.
- Being “founder-friendly” does not matter.
- Being a team player matters a little, but only a little.
- Finding great deals doesn’t even matter, if you didn’t close them.
- Sourcing a great investment another partner closed doesn’t matter, even if you handed it to them ready to close. Even if it was your relationship and “your” deal. If there’s no attribution to you, it doesn’t matter.
- Helping the other partners make a decision on an investment does not matter.
- Being a founder, or having operational experience, or any particular background, does not matter.
If you can make 1 or 2 great investments, the LPs will fund you forever, and you are mostly set. Even if you never make another great investment again.
One way to source and make those investments is to do the bullet points above. But — it’s not the only way.
And in the end, no one will really care how you got into Uber, or Pinterest, or Facebook. Even if you did it “the wrong way.” Even if you used the sharpest elbows in the world. Even if you fired the CEO. Even if you threw the earlier investors under the bus.