If you are reading this, chances are you are considering the second type of venture capital career described above, working with an established firm. Angel investors usually know how to invest in new firms by the time they start doing it. They typically find themselves in a venture capital role following a career of success in business or technology, having amassed enough capital to spur the successes of others. They may want to take a more advisory position and leave the rigor of day-to-day decision making to others. Alternatively, they may simply feel they can best contribute by offering their expertise and capital to many promising start-ups instead of just one.
For individuals in the early or middle stages of their careers, joining a venture capital firm is usually the more realistic approach. To get hired by such a firm, however, you must demonstrate your ability to provide unusually perceptive insights into one of the company’s areas of interest. A firm that specializes in biotech startups, for instance, would be more likely to hire an individual with a strong background in biochemistry than someone straight out of business school.
These are the broad outlines of the two major career paths in venture capital. In my next post, I will explore some of the characteristics of an individual who would get hired by a venture capital firm.
A finance professional with extensive experience in venture capital, Scott F. Gelbard has founded several of his own companies. He currently works with Apis Ventures, the Denver, Colorado, firm he started in 2008.