Venture capitalists help new companies get off the ground by providing funding, especially in the early stages of development when revenue is low. These funds support the company’s growth until it’s ready to go public. Big names such as Google and Facebook may not be the internet giants that they’ve become if it wasn’t for venture capital.
Other big names have also relied on eternal funding. Twitter, Uber, and Airbnb all received funding from venture capitalist firms to make it past the infancy stage, and there are thousands of other well-known bands that have done just the same.
Thanks to venture capitalists, such as Justin Caldbeck, who smartly invested their time and money, businesses that started from nothing are now major brands around the globe! This is why venture capital is one of the most important aspects of new business innovation. And while the field is challenging, its extremely rewarding.
Looking for tips and tricks for excelling in the VC field? Keep reading for some amazing insight from Justin Caldbeck, former Binary Capital co-founder and Managing Director at Lightspeed Venture Partners and Bain Capital Ventures.
Top 5 Tips for Working in Venture Capital
1. Prioritize Relationships
According to Justin Caldbeck, in venture capital, having a strong network is as important as a robust portfolio. It’s important to have access to a diverse group of people who all have different experiences and perspectives. The people in your network can provide expert advice and may serve as crucial resources when looking for ways to help portfolio businesses grow.
But a solid, trust-filled relationship doesn’t come easy. Strong relationships must be nurtured, which means you must be willing to put in the time and effort. As you build your network, you’ll be able to surround yourself with an excellent source of support.
Having a robust network makes the job of a VC even more rewarding.
2. Perfect Your Communication Skills.
Successful venture capitalists are good at what they do because they’re expert communicators. In the VC industry, you have to rely on your ability to listen and convey information as thoroughly and precisely as possible. Scouting requires venture capitalists to pick up on the most minute details about a business and its founder to determine if it’s a good fit (or not).
When talking with references, be diligent, as you’ll pick up on nuances from both spoken and unspoken information. This way you know which questions to ask next. VCs then prepare concise presentations to report their findings to others in the firm, before a final decision is made.
In order to support businesses in the portfolio requires paying attention to the company’s needs and responding or reacting accordingly. This too requires impeccable communication and listening skills.
3. Be Contrarian
It’s okay to step outside of the box and make moves that leave others confused and scratching their hands. In fact, the best early stage venture capitalists go by another C word: contrarian.
The recipe for a perfect early stage investment is a calculated risk of improbable vs. the possible. There’s glory in investing in a company that’s up against the odds, but at the same time could ultimately grow into a large, standalone company.
Take calculated risks and don’t be afraid to go against the grain.
4. Learn from Failure
No single venture capitalist has a perfect portfolio. We’re all human and we all make mistakes at some point in our careers. Failure is all part of making a professional out of supporting startups, a large percentage of which will inevitably fail.
What separates winning VCs from those on the losing end is the ability to accept and learn from failure. Though failure is a tough pill to swallow, it’s also a way to learn.
It’s most important that you face your mistakes, learn from them, and continue on with perseverance and patience.
5. Be Prepared & Patient
Working as a venture capitalist is a skillset that you perfect over the course of a lifetime according to Justin Caldbeck. VCs are experts in all areas of business, and are able to provide the needed resources for standups and entrepreneurs to experience growth and success.
As a newcomer to the venture capitalist scene, it’s important to be patient and to stick with it. Always be willing to learn new skills while polishing the ones you already have.
While this list is nowhere near being all-encompassing, these five tips from Justin Caldbeck are enough to get you started in finding your spot in the world of venture capital.