A venture capitalist invests third-party funds in startups and other companies with a high potential to succeed. The investment typically secures the venture capitalist a seat on the company’s Board of Directors and offers partial ownership in the organization, providing the chance to help drive the company to success. The venture capitalist strives to earn a profit by eventually selling his share in the company or earning dividends, when the organization turns a profit.
Skills and Education
A venture capitalist has exceptional listening, communication, analysis, management and coaching skills. These professionals are excellent at the art of persuasion, talented planners, exceptional team players and have a solid network to rely on. Having the ability to comprehend financial reports and being familiar with market conditions is essential, enabling the venture capitalist to accurately forecast whether a company has the potential to flourish and grow. Venture capitalists come from a variety of career backgrounds, including technology, consulting, investment banking, accounting and private equity. A bachelor’s degree is generally the minimum education requirement for the job, but many have an MBA or related graduate degree.
The standard responsibilities of a venture capitalist include evaluating investment opportunities, identifying risks, conducting financial analyses, performing research and brokering deals. Reading trade publications and financial reports to search for new business opportunities are also part of the job on a daily basis. Working in venture capital is a highly social career, as client communication, meeting with entrepreneurs and networking are a major part of the job.
How to Become a Venture Capitalist
Venture capital firms tend to favor candidates with a experience working in investment banking, media, consulting, technology or at a successful start up. Professionals without this experience can increase their chances of employment by networking with venture capitalists, volunteering to assist on venture-backed projects to gain experience, becoming an angel investor and starting a fund, if the financial backing is available.
Frequent overtime is typically expected in a venture capital environment. Professionals work long hours meeting with entrepreneurs, investors and business associates. The job requires a great deal of travel, for in-person meetings with associates located across the country and even across the world. Some firms have a more relaxed company culture than others, allowing professionals to have more command of their working hours.
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