3 Things MOOC’s & VC have in common

2014 should go down in the books as the year I launched a MOOC and myself. The two have some non-trivial parallels, as I’ve seen since joining the team at The Startup Factory after a few amazing years running programs at The Minor in Entrepreneurship.

I don’t see it as a coincidence that the culmination of a year-long production effort would give me the combination of confidence and risk-tolerance to decide that I could parachute into early-stage tech investing.

Here’s what I mean.

The MOOC project rewarded:

  • Ferocious attention to detail, timing, and planning (read: bulleted emails on a weekly basis)
  • Coordinating communication among people with different work-modes and expertise
  • A certain sort of bull-headed optimism (This project WILL NOT ruin anyone’s Christmas)

Early-stage investing demands, roughly the same things:

  • Knowing the minutiae of your fund, your portfolio, your LP’s, and your supporters
  • Understanding people’s (sometimes shifting) motivations and needs
  • A spirited internal cheerleader, or lucky underwear (ahem, Chris Heivly).

Both these modes call for keen environmental awareness, people sense, and ultimately, a decision that you’re where the buck stops.

None of these elements is perfected in me, but I know that I’m moving in what seems to be in the right direction.


You can follow Lizzy Hazeltine on Twitter @LizzyHazeltine.