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March 25, 2010

Seems like VC’s are starting to bring in more new folks again.  It’s refreshing to see. I think Venture is very much a young person’s job and it behooves firms to have a flow of really good, smart, scrappy young folks helping out (although there are obvious challenges to the associate role as well). 

If you are lucky enough to be interviewed for such a job, here are a couple practical pieces of advice. Frankly, I wasn’t prepared enough on these dimensions myself, but I guess I was lucky :)  

1. Know and have opinions about a VC’s portfolio.  It’s amazing how many people interview and really know very little about a firm’s portfolio companies.  Don’t be afraid to call our babies ugly, but a least know them and have an opinion about them. 

2. Have a couple early stage companies that you love and think would be good investments.  Be able to talk about why they are interesting and why they will be big winners.  This is the bulk of the job after all, so it’s important to be able to demonstrate your judgement and knowledge about early stage companies. Earlier the better – don’t say Facebook or Zynga, for example. 

3. Have a strong and differentiated point of view on a couple timely and relevant topics.  For example: what will the IPAD ecosystem look like in 1 year? How is immigration policy impacting entrepreneurship? Show clarity and depth of thought through these topics that we are thinking about. 

4. Be yourself.  It works, and finding the right fit is way more important than joining the best brand-name firm. 

Good luck!  Unfortunately, now that I’ve blogged about this, you might get very different questions, at least if you happen to interview at Spark

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    RT @angusdav: Proud of @Swipely team achieving 120% of our new customer sales goal in June, while existing customers scored our NPS +65!
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    @ManuKumar totally. Your post was really clear. And we can't really get away from how the industry communicates

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