If I had a dime for every person who reached out to me to ask for advice about breaking into the venture world, I’d be able to personally fund every VC out there myself. It seems the hype is working and people want to jump on the bandwagon, but I think most of these people misunderstand what a VC does, and if they really knew, I’m not so sure they’d be rushing to find a VC job.
Here are four reasons you should probably think twice before trying to get a job at a venture capitalist firm.
They spend most of their time with Excel and in boardrooms.
Many people envision the job of a VC as sitting on a throne meeting brilliant entrepreneurs all day and then writing multimillion-dollar checks.
That is about 1 percent of an average day in the life of a VC. A vast majority of VCs spend most of their time in boardrooms and with Excel sheets. While startups are usually raising hundreds of thousands to a few million from venture capitalists, investors are going through their own fundraising process, only usually it’s much larger than the fundraising an entrepreneur does. That means that every VC has one concern, returning their investors money. Not so glorious after all.
Saying no all the time can get to you.
Another important thing to remember is that for every monster round you read about, that investor probably said no to 200 deals before it.
In fact, what makes a good tech investor is the ability to say no. I don’t know about you, but spending all day every day disappointing founders who want to change the world is not my idea of a good time.
It can be a no-win situation.
I am sure you have heard entrepreneurs speak about how they want their investors to bring value beyond the check. I am sure you have also heard founders talk about how their investors are too involved and that they are sticking their nose where it doesn’t belong. When was the last time you heard someone say “Our investors are perfect: involved but not too involved”?
That balance between providing strategic money and being overly controlling is a super hard balance to strike, and most investors fail to find it.
Unless you are the exception to the rule, you are most likely going to be working with entrepreneurs who think you are doing your job wrong and that you need to make changes.
Rarely are you going to invest in companies that value your involvement and appreciate the sensitive nature of the balancing act.
The odds are against you.
Everyone talks about a startup’s chances of success and how low they are. Well, guess what? A VC’s chances of success are even lower. Even if you’re the exception to the rule and you have an incredible eye for success, achieving that success will generally take seven to 10 years.
Working as a venture capitalist has its perks and can definitely be fun and insightful. It can also be terribly boring and tense as you deploy capital and wait years to see how that investment will do.
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.