This is how we roll: what it’s like to intern at a Fintech VC 🚀 🚀

Kevin Bonte
Nov 16, 2018 · 6 min read

I have been a VC analyst intern for 6 months at BlackFin Tech: a good time to step back on my day-to-day work. If you want more information about BlackFin, you can go HERE. To sum up, BlackFin Capital Partners is a private equity firm focusing on the financial services industry.

In 2017, they launched a VC fund dedicated to Fintech and Insurtech companies, it is now managed by 5 people (Julien, Maxime, GabrielleThomas, Michele & Romain)with the support of 2 interns.

→ If you want to apply: https://blackfincp.sainoo.com

9:10 AM — PRESS TIME

CB Insights, mindFintech, TechCrunch, finletter, Twitter, FinTech Futures,… I start the day by reading the news in order to stay updated about market trends and new deals. It’s funny to see a deal we closed in the press! It is also the opportunity to spot early-stage startups that we can contact straight away.

→ One of the main tasks of interns is to identify new investment opportunities. Even if most of our deal flow comes from our various networks, reading the press is a good way to identify new potential targets

9:30 AM — 1ST CALL WITH AN ENTREPRENEUR

We have a call with Romain, the associate of the Fintech team. We are calling a German entrepreneur working on a post-trade settlement system for fixed income products, which certainly isn’t all too easy to grasp… I ask 2 or 3 questions, listen almost religiously to the entrepreneur and take many notes.

→ First calls are the best way to have a better understanding of what the business is all about. These calls are very dense. In more or less one hour we go through all the main aspects of a startup. From the product, to the team, to business model… It is always very interesting and very exciting to hear the story of new entrepreneurs.

10:30 AM — BUSINESS PLAN ANALYSIS

Just the time to upload my meeting notes on our CRM and I go back to my notes about another startup we met yesterday with GabrielleThomas, investment manager into the Fintech team. We really liked the team and the product. We have just received the materials from the fundraising advisor. We will need to question their metrics, prepare some slides for our next investment committee, and already think about the objective of our next meeting. I start by looking at the business model, a huge spreadsheet with financial projections for the next 5 years. I try to answer the following questions: What is the CAC? The MRR? The LTV? How their cohorts look like? Are they dependent on one or several large clients? What happens if their acquisition costs start to increase? What is the maximum value this company can achieve? I also start to arrange some notes for the team.

→ Another main task is to analyze deals. We challenge and summarize the information for the investment committee. We need to give them the best overview of the opportunities we are looking at. To this extent, we look at plenty of criteria: mostly the market, the team, the product and the metrics.

12:30 PM — LUNCH WITH ANOTHER VC INTERN

I finally understood the in-and-outs of the model and I raised some issues that need to be discussed during the next meeting. I would like to dig deeper into the market size but I have a lunch with a friend doing an internship in another VC fund. We discuss deals we saw and how our VC fund works.

→ VC is a lot about networking. It is important to start networking early and not to miss an opportunity to meet new people. From entrepreneurs, to incubators, to other VCs, it is a good source of information to source deals and to spot new trends. This network is also very helpful when you have to find a co-investor, an advisor or a new hire.

1:30 PM — MARKET RESEARCH

Back at the office, I have time before our weekly team meeting, time to work on a research note. I am currently investigating the on-demand insurance startups.What are the big trends in the industry? What are the incumbent players? What startups are disrupting the market? What sub-sector we should dig in?

→ Fintech is a very wide and complex industry. As a sectoral fund, we have to be expert on these topics. That is why each member of the team is working on some specific topics and share it with the team with a research note. We examine many areas, from Regtech, to blockchain, to payment…

3:00 PM — TEAM MEETING

Just like every Monday, we meet with the whole team to discuss our deal flow and our portfolio companies. It is very interesting, everyone speaks about the startups they have met, and discusses which next step should be taken. It is also the time to be sure everyone is on board and shares their views or questions about one particular deal.

→ As each member of our team meet a lot of entrepreneurs during the week, this weekly meeting is very important to share our activity. It is also the time to reflect on longer time decisions like our sourcing strategy or our internal processes.

4:30 AM — 3RD MEETING WITH A STARTUP

Time to meet entrepreneurs again. This time in their office. We have been talking to them for 3 weeks now and we are really interested. As it is the third meeting we are asking more specific questions. We made some reference calls during the last few days and we need to discuss them with the management.

→ As you investigate startups in more details, you start to really understand how their business works, and it becomes very interesting. You also start to see how the negotiation could take place if we decide to make the deal.

Demo Day Fintech Boost Batch #3 de L’Atelier BNP Paribas

6:00 PM — DEMO DAY AT AN INCUBATOR

No time to get back to the office, I need to attend the demo day of an incubator: 10 startups in the finishing phase of their acceleration program will pitch in front of VCs and other people from the ecosystem. Once again it is always great to meet entrepreneurs and to feel the exciting vibe of an incubator.

→ There are a lot of demo days, meetups and conferences. It is a good way to meet a lot of entrepreneurs and to do some networking with fundraisers and fellow VCs

7:30 PM — END OF THE DAY

I finally stayed longer than planned at the event and discussed with entrepreneurs and other members of the startup ecosystem. It was a dense day but a very interesting one, like most of the time.

→ Of course, every day is different… Some days will be more about the analysis of a startup or a market, other days will be more about sourcing new startups. In addition, there is a very good atmosphere at Blackfin and a lot of internal events like afterworks with BlackFin alumni, meetup organized by Gabrielle or 5-a-side football.

BlackFin organizes some meetups, it’s a good way to network with entrepreneurs
If you are good at football it’s definitely a plus
the #AllezlesBleus pic (Jul’18) — Unfortunately BlackFin changed their offices, but the internship is still the same
VC team!

BlackFin Tech

Thoughts and ideas on all things fintech & insurtech