Over the last four years, I’ve met hundreds of candidates hoping to break into venture capital. 1% got accepted and 9% were turned away because there was a lack of fit.
What about the rest?
Meet the 90% that was lukewarm and didn’t know it.
The kind of venture capitalist that startups and founders need today is far from a glamorous role. Investing is easy, but identifying the right opportunities, nurturing relationships, company building and having long-term vision is more an art than science.
Investing in technology is much like buying fine wine. The question is not so much “How good is this today?” but “How good will it be tomorrow?” - Yinglan Tan
With Southeast Asia’s competitive and unpredictable landscape, it takes a lot more than business acumen and dynamic thinking to be successful. Having a high degree of stamina helps.
Lukewarm is not good enough here.
Aside from the technical skills and experience, good venture capitalists also have a great passion for entrepreneurship and they usually take an active role in shaping the companies they invest in.
“The (successful) ones love the space, love entrepreneurship. If you go into it to chase money, you’re going to lose.” - Mike Woollatt
While early-stage investing is an exciting field that is competitive, innovative and where numbers-driven people can thrive in, it is also difficult to get into and not well-suited for those who aren’t up for the challenge.
Read here: A day in the life of a VC investor
But it is also where the few who are incredibly obsessed can be successful.
Venture capital is probably not for you if you:
Tend to respond with a dictionary’s definition when someone asks “what does it mean to be a venture capitalist?”
Come unprepared for interviews and do not do well in stressful situations.
Are not numbers driven.
Think venture capital is just about investing.
Want a job in venture capital because you think having power on the other side of the table looks and sounds sexy.
Cannot picture doing early-stage investing for the next 10 years.
Have nothing else to offer except money.
How did I know that the 90% were lukewarm? By asking three simple questions.
If you are not the 90% and are looking to break into venture capital in Southeast Asia:
Sharing this might help someone:
A little about me:
Program Director @ insignia.academy | 4+ years in hiring for VCs and startups
Obsessed with growing the strongest ecosystem for the best to change Southeast Asia.
I’m on LinkedIn but you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org too.