The Path to Venture Capital
Part I — Expose Yourself to Luck
Ten years ago, I came to Silicon Valley penniless. Laden with student loan debt, I arrived eager to get into tech, startups, and investing but with no idea on how to actually do it. I had no network, no resources, and no skills to even consider participating in venture capital back then. But I did do one thing right: I moved to Palo Alto.
Much as an aspiring movie star moves to Hollywood, I moved to the center of venture capital so I can be as close as possible to where most startups are formed. I learned long ago that you have to expose yourself to luck in order to accomplish what you want to accomplish. The best way to do that is to go to the region where you are surrounded by people that are doing the job you want to do. That gives you the chance to not only observe them but to also befriend them.
And that’s what I did. I found a job as a paralegal assistant at a big law firm focused on tech startups. I had to print thousands of pages of legal documents, bound them with plastic covers, and ship them to investors. It was a boring task. But it was a start.
From there I got the chance to work at the endowment for Stanford University. After that, I was given the wonderful opportunity to help a close friend and mentor start his own venture capital firm. I will share with you what I learned through those experiences in future posts.
Had I not moved to Palo Alto, I would never have had the opportunity to get into venture capital because I would never have met anyone that works in venture capital. Or in startups.
Move closer to where the opportunities are, and you will find yourself to be very lucky.