Interning in Venture Capital (1/2)

This past June, I started a 3-month internship at OpenOcean in London, a European VC focused on deep and delicious software companies raising their Series A.

Alex Obadia
Jun 3, 2018 · 10 min read

Looking for internships

Just like a start-up, VCs are flexible and stay true to the entrepreneurial values of moving fast and being unpredictable. As a consequence, most VCs won’t advertise for an intern position until relatively late (~1 month), contrasting with the typical investment bank where you’d usually apply in September and wait until December for a reply. This means if you focus only on getting a summer VC internship, you can be left without an offer until the last weeks before summer.

  • Have a “hit the ground running” mindset when writing your application and during interviews. You want to make it very clear how you plan on adding value. To give you an idea, out of a 3-month internship, the typical split is going to be 1 month learning, 2 months adding value. (thank you Max)
  • Venture capital is very people orientated, so rather than applying through a position, try and reach out to anyone in the team that seems interesting. Customise cold emails, use people that went to your high school/university, really just hustle!

The Application Process

This is the job OpenOcean advertised online. I applied through their Workableprofile (they currently have an opening!) and had to answer a set of questions on top of including my CV and other personal information. Questions included: What makes you different ? , What research do you want to do at OpenOcean ? , Which two startups would you recommend us to look at ? , Which blogs/podcasts etc. do you follow ?

First Impressions

I arrived at WeWork Soho for my “real” first day of work, got my keycard, my very own email address (alex@openocean.vc), Slack login, my picture taken and I am ready to gooooooooo

Daily Life at OpenOcean

The Hours: I get to the office between 9:00 and 9:30am Monday to Friday, and usually leave around 6:30pm. I took a few days off so far, to travel to Spain (Ibiza) and Poland (Wroclaw). I plan to take a few more to go to Austria (Vienna) in September!

Cool Stuff

  • I share a common friend called Luigi with Max, one of the OpenOcean team-members! 8 months before the start of my internship, I randomly ran into Max and Luigi at Diynamic’s 10th Birthday party in London. This is where I first heard about OpenOcean, between two shots of vodka, with Solomun playing in the background. To top it off, I discovered that Rahul, my fellow intern, goes to Stanford and actually studies Symbolic Systems with Luigi! It’s a small world! (Shoutout to Luigi ❤)
  • During my second interview, I met Richard at OpenOcean’s offices but ended up walking around Soho with him, passing by a coffee place and a public park, casually talking about OpenOcean and life. He managed to get all the information he needed from me through a casual chat!
  • My “real” first day was at an Artificial Intelligence conference in London, CogX. I thought that was pretty awesome, especially given the £1.5k price tag of the tickets to attend.
  • On my second day, Richard brought a massage therapist to the office. We then had our first OKR meeting while taking turns on the massage chair. Unprofessional? Never! Richard noticed Rahul’s jetlag and figured it’d be a good time to demo the product of a company he is an early investor in!
  • I have my own OpenOcean business cards that I use when I go to events. It’s a simple gesture on OpenOcean’s part to have made them, but made me feel a lot more included within the firm and also made it clear to me they expect us to hustle, not just work mindlessly on spreadsheets all day.
  • I have to source my own companies for them to invest in. That means going out there and meeting founders, going to conferences and meet-ups. The cool thing here is that I have the VC’s contact book to use and therefore have access to people I would’ve never been able to talk to otherwise!
  • I worked on the due diligence of a company we ended up investing in, so I was actually useful!!

Alex Obadia

This is my personal publication where I write about decentralized networks, music and other topics that interest me. Any constructive feedback is greatly appreciated :)

Alex Obadia

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Twitter @ObadiaAlex

Alex Obadia

This is my personal publication where I write about decentralized networks, music and other topics that interest me. Any constructive feedback is greatly appreciated :)