Lessons learned from #BreakIntoVC, my book on how to break into venture capital
Two weeks ago I published my first book, #BreakIntoVC, a guide for breaking into venture capital and thinking like an investor.
I hoped the book would provide a foundation for those trying to understand the opaque world of venture capital — something I personally struggled with while trying to land an internship in college. The response so far has been tremendous.
The book has now been reviewed over 50 times and quickly shot to #1 in the venture capital category on Amazon in its first week.
I simply wrote the book I wish I had while trying to land a job in the industry. I could never have predicted this response. After reading the reviews, it became clear that access to the fundamentals of venture capital was a key need for others as well.
I made my e-mail freely available and have spoken with about 30 readers of #BreakIntoVC so far. I detail some of the things we discuss on calls and a research-driven approach we’ve developed together to help build their personal brands if they’re serious about pursuing a career in either startups or venture capital.
A research-driven approach
If you were to google my name and blockchain (“Bradley Miles blockchain”), the first page of results contain articles I’ve written on the space as well as quarterly and annual reports, The State of Blockchain, which summarize key trends, data and insights from the prior period.
Outside of being the author of #BreakIntoVC, if I were to have a conversation with an investor, the dialogue would naturally shift towards bitcoin and blockchain. I’d become “the blockchain guy”, which isn’t a bad thing as the latest report shows.
Authoring the State of Blockchain gave me access and insight to some of the brightest minds in the sector like Robert Schwentker, founder of Blockchain University and Robert Viglione, a Ph.D candidate at the University of South Carolina currently teaching the college’s first “Bitcoin and Blockchain Applications in Finance” class.
I only mention these things because what I published in the bitcoin and blockchain space is highly replicable and value-accretive for anyone serious about pursuing a career venture and startups. You don’t need a CoinDesk, you can do this on Medium right now.
Last week I gave a lecture at Harvard as a part of the #BreakIntoVC tour. My talk covered some of the fundamentals of venture capital and strategies on how to pitch companies to investors.
In the image above, we’re collectively developing a live pitch on DroneDeploy by researching the drone market size, the history of drone funding and diving into some particulars we can find by googling things like “DroneDeploy hires” and “DroneDeploy announces”.
This case study on how to pitch a company can serve as the frame for a Medium piece on DroneDeploy if someone has a strong interest in drones. If you were to continue analyzing companies and trends in the drone space twice a week on Medium for the next few months, by the end of Q2 2017 you would be well-positioned to write a quarterly report on the space.
As I mentioned earlier, I’ve spoken with about 30 readers of #BreakIntoVC since the book launched and my goal is to do about 10 Skype sessions every week. A small group of readers have been taking this research-driven approach pretty seriously and I wanted to congratulate them on their first posts.
Wing Vasiksiri is a student at Berkeley with a strong interest in autonomous vehicles. During our 30-minute call we developed a framework to introduce readers to the industry. He recently published his first piece, Autonomous Cars and the Future, and has received some high-profile offers to work in the space this summer.
Fiona Cummings has a passion for microfinance, so during our Skype call we focused on the remittance market and early stage startups in the space that were making some noise. In Remittance startups are coming in hot, Fiona gives a comprehensive analysis of Pangea, a remittance company whose primary market is money transfers from US to Mexico and Latin America. Now that she’s analyzed Pangea, she can easily replicate her analysis for other companies in the space every week.
James Ransom is a superstar in the Syracuse student venture ecosystem. It’s clear he has a passion for cybersecurity after speaking with him for a few minutes. I really enjoyed his deep dive on Phantom Cyber and he’s continuing to brand himself as a reliable resource for information with his Weekly Recap series.
Isaiah Johnson is a student at Bentley University who took a bus from Boston to meet in person. He’s an extremely dedicated individual who wants to work in the financial technology space. I asked him to discuss a few of his favorite companies and we quickly worked out his first Medium post on Lending Club, published last week.
Regardless of whether these four individuals continue to pursue a career in venture capital or the larger tech ecosystem, I’m extremely interested to see how they progress over the next few months and I would urge you to follow their progress as well. They are in the process of developing a wealth of resources that will serve them for the next few years no matter what career path they choose.
The West Coast leg of the #BreakIntoVC tour begins April 18th at UCLA and ends April 27th at Stanford. If you’re in the area please come out! I’d love to see you.