Life of a VC

BeachI just answered the question "What is it like to be a partner at a venture capital firm?" on Quora.  I thought it may be a good idea to repost here.

The question is too generic, but i'll attempt an accretive answer.

In general, I'd say it's more stressful than it appears.

  • Return hurdles for VCs are high and many return multiples that would make angels happy do not move the needle for VCs.
  • We say ~200 NOs for every yes.  This does not feel good.
  • As portfolio companies increase, the workload begins to compound.  Sometimes, busy periods for a few companies overlap, creating time squeezes.

On the other hand, I feel I am the luckiest person in the world for doing what I do.

  • I get to work daily with people smarter than me.
  • Our value creation is a step function.  It allows us to not focus on squeezing value from the margins. That's a luxury.
  • We learn to focus on successes and positive outcomes.  A VC fund's success comes from great companies built, not from salvaged failures.

Finally, it is a role where  you have to learn to cheer from the sidelines.  Ultimately, it's the founders & CEOs who build the companies we invest in.  You can not get frustrated that you can't just go on the field and get things done.  And, naturally, the glory goes, deservedly, to the founders.

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