How to become a VC?

This post shows one of the ways how to become an investor in a venture capital firm. This post is also a job listing for Innovation Nest.

The problem of future investors

Let me start from the beginning. Becoming an investor in a venture capital fund is not easy. Therefore, we offer investment experience in VC setup.

On the other hand we see that increasing the talent pool of people who invest is beneficial for VCs who do this. Thus, we made a decision to increase the funnel of talent in Innovation Nest through posting regular position for venture partner at Innovation Nest, and we do not limit our outreach to our network.

Venture Partner

The path to become a VC that I have in mind is a position of venture partner. Brad Feld, one of our role models, describes venture partner as follows on Ask the VC:

Venture Partners / Partners source new deals, sit on boards and act in the eyes of start-up companies just like MDs and GPs. In contrast, VPs may not have carry in the funds themselves, rather deal-specific carry for companies in which they are involved in. In some firms, however, they do have general fund carry. What’s most interesting is that some VPs are really MDs in training, while others are folks who just don’t want to be an MD, or are explicitly only intending to be at the VC for a finite period of time. (…) You see everyone from young bucks trying to make their way up the ladder, to seasoned company executives becoming first time investors. Whatever the case, you rarely see these folks having another job (full-time operation roles at companies) while they are working for the VC firm.

Some VC firms have such a position and we, at Innovation Nest, have made a decision to increase our team and we are looking a venture partner. We are looking for a venture partner for one year, and we plan to regularly re-open this position for the next 2–3 years.

Who we are

But first, who we are. Innovation Nest is a VC fund with strategy based on three pillars:

  • we invest in cloud-based B2B software — we are thesis-driven, we invest in the disruption that the cloud makes in B2B software,
  • we start investing at seed stage and continue investments thereafter — seed stage means MRR of €5–40k,
  • we invest in European Union — I mean we invest in companies from EU.

More about our strategy is covered in my post, Building VC Strategy, and more about the last couple of years and Innovation Nest Fund I is covered in my post, The True Story of How we Built a Micro VC Fund.

The company is the team and, as I wrote in the second piece, the team is awesome:

Marek Kapturkiewicz — the company builder, mentor to hundreds of entrepreneurs, the Industry 4.0 guru and a veteran of many industries;
Marcin Szeląg — obsessed with VC investments from the cradle (at least it is what I think sometimes :), demanding a lot from himself and from people who work with him;
Dominik Długosz — our CFO with an unmatched efficiency — the highest number of things done per day in the whole team! BTW his jokes may change any meeting in a laughter explosion in seconds;
Dominik and Dominik’s wife
Chris Kobyłecki — the most unique combination of genuine love of meeting people and data driven operations;
Katarzyna Kopeć — the legal guru onboard, the pure energy, that she emanates with, is more energising than a double espresso
and Piotr Wilam — that is myself.

Jobs to do

The main duty of Innovation Nest venture partner is

to look for companies and make deals.

And the primary benefit we offer is experience in both sourcing and making deals. The main benefit that we want to achieve is to increase our reach amongst companies for which we are seeking to do business.

On a more detailed level, the key activities of a venture partner are the following:

First, dealflow that is (i) sourcing companies as a part of Innovation Nest dealflow activity, and (ii) chasing her/his own ideas about how to get to the best companies.

Second, making deals, which is aligning with a company, negotiating terms, doing due diligence, preparing for the Investment Committee, preparing documents with the transaction team, and signing.

Finally, working with portfolio companies.

Our process

We evaluate candidates in four dimensions:

  • experience in building startups and/or supporting startups,
  • investing experience and/or startup investing experience,
  • operational efficiency and cross-border experience,
  • specific industry expertise.

The first three of these dimensions are required. The fourth is optional. We then proceed to the second stage, which is evaluating the propensity of a candidate to be a good investor, and we check the culture fit. You may ask who, in our opinion, is a good investor, but that is a topic for another post…

If becoming a venture partner is something that interests you, please, let us know by contacting us at: venture.partner@innovationnest.com by September 30th, 2017 (or after that, as the position will be regularly re-opened).

If you want to become a VC, we invite your contact! We are looking for you!

We are looking for you. The picture was made on the way to pitch EIF for €15m.