Breaking Into Venture Capital As A Student

It’s not a straightforward path, but there are countless ways in

Katie Li
4 min readJul 22, 2020
Photo by ALEKSEY KUPRIKOV from Unsplash

By Katie Li and Bobby Thakkar

🖋 Edit [Dec 2021]: Many new programs and opportunities have popped up since the time this was posted, and this list is in need of an update (coming soon!). There are now even more opportunities for students to “break into” VC — I believe some of the best ways to start learning as much as possible about venture capital is to join (or start!) a VC/entrepreneurship club, apply to campus scout/fellowship programs, and join the Gen Z VCs community :)


There are plenty of opportunities for students to get involved in venture while in college. Many venture firms and investors are becoming more involved in the college landscape, as many Millennials/Gen Z are the first to spot new platforms and trends such as TikTok, Snapchat, Robinhood, and Spotify podcasts. No one wants to miss out on investing in the next unicorn, so venture firms are opening up more opportunities for university students to get involved in venture capital.

In 2016, Niraj Pant wrote this Medium post which highlighted student venture opportunities. Since then, a couple more venture firms have started their own student programs — this post is meant to highlight those new opportunities and include some other perspectives on how to position yourself for a career in VC.

Overview of this post:

  • VC Student Programs
  • Student-Focused Funds
  • Building a Personal Brand
  • Other ways to get involved in the venture community

VC Student Programs

More and more venture firms are starting programs that offer students experience working in venture capital and access to startups as VC’s see opportunities with younger founders, thanks Zuck!

Below, you’ll find a handful of student programs that are well known across the industry — these programs usually change and grow often. Make sure to see if your school itself has a venture program that you can get involved with.

Here are some student programs

Summer Programs & Internships

Student-Focused Funds

Students can gain experience working in venture capital by becoming a partner at a student-focused fund. These are often sponsored by larger firms or companies, but are student-run.

Here are some student-run or student-focused funds:

Build a Personal Brand

A someone focused on achieving the most deal flow, it’s important that you build a brand in the VC ecosystem to help you source deals, be exposed to more founders, and even get started on advising startups; these are all important building blocks to becoming a successful VC. Think about the following:

  • Pick an industry vertical (Future of Work, Fin-Tech, Autonomous Vehicles, AI) and become an expert on it. Brand yourself to it
  • Write investment analyses publicly on Medium
  • Tweet product related thoughts and be involved in VC Twitter
  • Hunt things onto Product Hunt, keep tabs on new products
  • Be active to participate in beta programs
  • Make a Substack (and *try* to write consistently!)

Other ways to get involved in venture community

  • Intern at a startup. Find opportunities via Angel List and YC job board
  • Follow venture partners on Twitter (AKA VC Meme Twitter)
  • Research companies on Crunchbase, AngelList and keep tabs on IPO’s S1's
  • Intern at a venture firm (might need to cold email; positions are often not publicly listed)
  • Cold email venture firms (internships, scouting companies, network)
  • Subscribe to newsletters/Substacks (Robinhood Snacks, Accelerated, make your own it’s the 🔥thing to do right now 😅)
  • Listen to podcasts (Robinhood Snack, Acquired, The Pitch, a16z Podcast, The Twenty Minute VC, Betaworks Builder, Pivot)
  • Join a venture club (if your school has one)

Know Your Terms

  • ARR — Annual Recurring Revenue
  • Bootstrapping — A strategy to self-finance
  • Bridge Loan — Loan given till next round of funding
  • Cap Table — Official document that shows capital/equity structure
  • Disclosure — Something you’re obligated to not follow
  • Exit — Your time to cash out, rarely ever happens
  • GPT-3 — Watch out. It can make your investment irrelevant
  • IPO — Initial Public Offering
  • Paul Graham — GOAT
  • Runway — Number of months left till $0 left in the bank
  • 100 more terms can be found here

Other Resources

Tech & VC: The Foundation

Dorm Room Fund: Student Resource Guide


The path to venture capital is not a straight path, but there are countless ways to get involved as student in order to prepare yourself for internships and full-time roles. Students often don’t get financial compensation by participating in student programs or funds, but they are rewarded with the ability to network with partners at those firms, learn directly from founders, and meet other peers interested in venture capital. Keep reaching out to people of interest and pursuing new ways to learn more about venture, and you may find yourself in a position to “break into” venture capital. Don’t give up!


Written by Katie Li, a rising senior at Cornell, venture intern/scout, former startup intern, and Bobby Thakkar (Twitter), a student on hiatus, founder and angel investor.



Katie Li

Data @ Pear VC | prev Zetta Venture Partners, Cornell Engineering