🎉🐢Don’t Even Think about Becoming a VC

Josh Felser
Apr 7, 2016 · 3 min read
Image for post
Image for post

at least not yet. I was at Duke interviewing students for a new Freestyle internship program and several students disclosed that they wanted to intern at Freestyle vs our portfolio cos. I cocked my head, smirked and asked “Why”. I heard:

“I want to have my hands in lots of pies”

“I want to pick great companies”

“I want to get an overview of the tech industry”

“VCs know how to party”

And the most honest “I want to make a ton of dough”

I then asked, rhetorically. “Well how are you going to be helpful to your early stage founders if you have never been in their shoes, their clothes, slept in their beds… And how will founders differentiate you from the hordes of VCs scouring the universe for the next Patreon or Intercom (shameless plug)?” And then I heard crickets.

Without operating experience, the road to successful VC will be tougher and longer, less fun and even more muted. If you’ve never experienced the stratospheric highs and crevassic (made up word) lows it will be harder for you to relate to your founders. If you can’t relate you will find it harder to be effective. More importantly, it will be difficult and frustrating for you to be the kind of consigliere that founders need and want.

Then there is your personal brand. How will you stand out in a way that matters to founders. The number of early stage VCs (and serious angels) is probably in the thousands and growing. When founders are looking for capital, who will they seek out? Well their targets will likely be the investors who can help them the most, “the operators”, who bring more than money.

I won’t lie. Being an early stage VC is the next best thing to being an entrepreneur. You get to help founders realize their dreams and live vicariously all from the comfort of your European villa in August. And though many of us work 24x7, we can set up shop anywhere and go home at 6:00, because we don’t have teams of employees to manage.

I know there are glaring VC exceptions to my “operate first” mentality, like Steve Anderson and Kirsten Green, but they are the exceptions, and while I love breaking the rules, this is one rule I suggest you keep. Venture will always be there, waiting for you, with open arms (unless of course you are a woman, but that’s another post).

Josh

PS: I might have made up one of those statements attributed to the students. :)

Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post

Hacker Noon is how hackers start their afternoons. We’re a part of the @AMI family. We are now accepting submissions and happy to discuss advertising & sponsorship opportunities.

If you enjoyed this story, we recommend reading our latest tech stories and trending tech stories. Until next time, don’t take the realities of the world for granted!

Image for post
Image for post

HackerNoon.com

#BlackLivesMatter

Sign up for Get Better Tech Emails via HackerNoon.com

By HackerNoon.com

how hackers start their afternoons. the real shit is on hackernoon.com. Take a look

By signing up, you will create a Medium account if you don’t already have one. Review our Privacy Policy for more information about our privacy practices.

Check your inbox
Medium sent you an email at to complete your subscription.

Josh Felser

Written by

Seed investor/serial entrepreneur. Co-founded: Freestyle (Early stage VC), Spinner (sold to AOL), Grouper/Crackle (sold to Sony)

HackerNoon.com

Elijah McClain, George Floyd, Eric Garner, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Michael Brown, Oscar Grant, Atatiana Jefferson, Tamir Rice, Bettie Jones, Botham Jean

Josh Felser

Written by

Seed investor/serial entrepreneur. Co-founded: Freestyle (Early stage VC), Spinner (sold to AOL), Grouper/Crackle (sold to Sony)

HackerNoon.com

Elijah McClain, George Floyd, Eric Garner, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Michael Brown, Oscar Grant, Atatiana Jefferson, Tamir Rice, Bettie Jones, Botham Jean

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store