VC can offer a great lifestyle, but don’t let it get to your head.
The Venture Upward substack is a field guide for surviving, getting ahead, and succeeding as a venture capitalist. Created by David Beisel (@davidbeisel) and Rob Go (@robgo) of NextView, it's written for non-partner VCs navigating their way through the ranks.
It’s a mantra that I try to remind myself of frequently.
Venture capital can be perceived as an easy business. Take a few entrepreneur pitches; schmooze at coffees, lunches, and parties; attend board meetings in between. Oh, and maybe conduct a few diligence phone calls and deskwork research, if you must. Your weekends and non-working nights are yours. Perception can match reality in that the immediate pressure which most professional jobs of this caliber require aren’t ever-present: unbearable hours of investment banking and classic private equity, frequent arduous travel of consultants, required hard deliverables on strict timelines for product manager roles at tech companies, actual revenue generating results in sales and business development positions, etc. That’s nothing compared to the weight of a whole company on the shoulders of the entrepreneurs who we back.
Yes, a non-partner VC position is cushy compared to many of your peers’. But the business is anything but easy. Everyone around you is smart and incredibly driven. The feedback cycle for a venture career is long, unpredictable, and imperfect (perhaps approaching random). So while the immediate pressure is absent, the long-term isn’t – you need to do everything you can to first survive in the game then win.
Be ready to blow up your steady arranged calendar to chase a hot deal.
Don’t skip that yet-another networking event because they’re all the same, as you’ll miss the serendipity of this one.
Continue doing that additional deep dive in a space even if nothing might come of it because something just might.
Take time to be creative about how and where you’re trying to source new investments.
Be scrappy. Act differently. Do more.
For Rob and I here at NextView, we strive to build this concept of staying hungry directly into the ethos of our culture. It’s more than just lip-service marketing in a blog post, but rather incorporated into the language which we use internally and, hopefully more importantly, translated into how we consistently act. Being hungry is something which we screen for when we hire, and it’s refreshing to see that’s how people unprompted talk about us.
The VC gig can be like sitting on a big comfy couch. The longer you’re on it, the more comfortable it becomes, the further you sink in, the easier it is to recline, the more comfortable it becomes… until you’re unable to move.
Resist that temptation.
Regardless of where you are in your venture career, you’re only as good as your last investment. Keep doing all of those things you need to find, champion, win, and succeed with the next one.
Stay hungry. Sometimes all you just need is a reminder.
We want to hear from you. Sincerely. Feel free to reach out to share feedback, ask for thoughts, suggest a topic, or even chat about your situation. And course we’d welcome referrals to founders who are seeking a high-conviction hands-on seed stage investment per our investment approach at NextView.