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Venture Capital

Overview

Venture Capital is an exciting and dynamic field that offers the opportunity to be at the forefront of innovation and entrepreneurship. If you're interested in investing in startups, understanding business strategy, and playing a role in helping companies grow and succeed, a career in Venture Capital may be a great fit for you. This section will help you understand deeper how you could use resources at Dartmouth and globally as you explore VC as a potential career path.
Venture Capital firms provide funding to early-stage startups that have high growth potential. In return for their investment, VCs receive an ownership stake in the company and play an active role in its development, working with the founder to help shape the business strategy, recruit top talent, and make connections with key industry players.
The Venture Capital industry is fast-paced, with a focus on identifying and backing the next big thing. A career in VC requires a combination of financial savvy, business acumen, and an entrepreneurial spirit. If you're interested in exploring this exciting field, we encourage you to attend events, read up on the latest industry news and trends, and connect with VC professionals to learn more about what a career in Venture Capital has to offer.

Venture Capital Resources at Dartmouth

Venture Capital Investment Competition (VCIC) - Global competition hosted by UNC that Dartmouth actively participates in. Every fall term there’s an educational series taught by Jim Feuille (GP at Crosslink Capital and Tuck Professor) where he teaches you everything you need to and gives you real-world knowledge as well as practices with real startup decks and pitches. At the end of fall term, you compete in the Dartmouth Internal VCIC competition and the all-star team is then picked to compete in the New England regionals at Boston. This competition not only offers you great insights into the theoretical and practical aspects of the industry but gives you a great opportunity to network.
Moosilauke Student Ventures (MSV) - Student-run club focussed on training students in due diligence and evaluating startups. By joining this club, you’re given access to real startup decks and work with your club peer members and contribute to investment decisions.
Contrary Capital events - Contrary is a $100+ mn early-stage VC backed by the founders of Tesla, Airbnb, Reddit, etc and they actively host founder dinners, speaker sessions, coffee chats and more on campus. To get access to these events, reach out to Shaamil (Venture Partner at Contrary Capital)
Research - Many Tuck professors are actively conducting research in Venture Capital and cold-emailing them for a research opportunity could help.

Questions to ask yourself to evaluate your fit with VC

Why do you want to work in VC? What draws you to the industry? Understanding your motivations and interests can help you determine if a career in VC is the right fit for you.
What do you know about the Venture Capital industry and its role in the startup ecosystem? A good understanding of the industry and its dynamics is important for success in a VC career.
What skills and experiences do you bring to the table that can add value to a VC firm? A strong analytical and financial background, strong networking skills, and experience working with startups or in venture capital can be useful assets.
What type of VC firm are you interested in working for? Early-stage? Late-stage? Focused on a specific industry or geographic region? Knowing the type of firm you want to work for can help you determine the best career path.
Are you comfortable with risk and uncertainty? Venture Capital can be a high-risk, high-reward career. You should be comfortable with taking risks and dealing with the uncertainty that comes with investing in startups.
How do you plan to stay up-to-date with industry trends and developments? Keeping up-to-date with the industry is essential for success in a VC career. This may involve attending events, reading industry publications, or networking with other VC professionals.
How do you plan to build your network? Networking is key to success in VC. You should have a plan for building relationships with entrepreneurs, other VCs, and industry experts.

How to break into VC?

There’s two major pathways, through college and degrees or through being an operator at a successful startup. Within the college/degree path the are ways to start off as a base Analyst fresh out of college. Lots of people also work in Investment Banking or Private Equity before being hired into VC. Alternatively, an MBA also puts offers candidates a higher starting position at typical VCs.
Venture-Capital-Career-Path-Senior-Roles-Life-Science.jpeg

What can you do in college?

Networking: Through VCIC, MSV, and Contrary Capital, you’ll gain access to events and meetups, connect with VCs and entrepreneurs, and participate in organizations like entrepreneurial clubs or venture capital organizations. Dartmouth has a decorated list of alumni working in Venture Capital. Reach out to them on Linkedin!
Read: Stay up-to-date on industry news and trends by reading blogs, books, and articles on venture capital and startups. A big part of VC is keeping up with industry trends and understanding them beforehand so that you’re equipped with enough information to come to an investment decision.
Gain relevant experience: Consider interning at a VC firm, or at a startup to get hands-on experience and a deeper understanding of the industry.
Build your own portfolio: Start investing in startups (even small amounts), or join an accelerator or incubator to gain exposure to early-stage companies.

Resources to learn more:

Here are my top reads to learn more about VC: Rad about bout the history of venture capital, from start to finish:
Read each of the following blog posts:
, Fred Wilson
, Fred Wilson
, Fred Wilson
, Fred Wilson
, Fred Wilson
, Fred Wilson
Read , Brad Feld & Jason Mendelson. Although lengthy, this will build a really strong foundation. A quick will return free PDF . I’ve listed a few mandatory chapters, the remaining chapters are optional but useful for your careers.
Ch 1: The Players
Ch 2: How to Raise Money
Ch 8: How Venture Capital Funds Work
Ch 10: Raising Money the Right Way
Ch 11: Issues at Different Financing Stages

Twitter VCs:

Most VCs are super active on Twitter, by following the right people, you can use leverage Twitter to learn tons about the industry. Here are my top recommendations.
1. Guy Kawasaki, Garage Technology Ventures 2. Fred Wilson, Union Square Ventures 3. David Hornik, August Capital 4. Brad Feld, Foundry Group 5. Ben Horowitz, Horowitz Andreessen 6. Josh Kopelman, First Round Capital 7. Mark Suster, GRP Partners 8. Jeremy Liew, Lightspeed Ventures Partners 9. Bill Gurley, Benchmark Capital @ 10. Chris Dixon, a16z, 11. Christopher Allen, Alacrity Ventures 12. Seth Levine, Foundry Group 13. Jeff Bussgang, Flybridge Capital Partners 14. Mike Hirshland, Polaris Venture Partners

⭐ Contributors

Shaamil Karim, ‘26. Venture Partner @ Contrary Capital & Founder @ Diginoor (exited)

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