How to be a VC

Shantanu of Amadeus Capital posted about being a VC at the tail end of last week.

As I just answered an email about becoming a VC over the weekend and was cornered by an MBA re what it takes to be a VC at last Monday’s “Silicon Valley comes to Oxford”, I thought I would link to Shantanu’s two posts on the topic: So you want to be a Venture Capitalist and  How to become a VC.

For me, the number one requirement for being a VC is having been an entrepreneur or having worked in a start up. I cannot stress this requirement enough.

Other nice to haves:

  1. Strategic consulting background
  2. M&A background
  3. MBA
  4. Scientific background (actually a must have if you’re in Biotech/Medtech investments)

Oh, and lastly luck and perseverance. There are few jobs in VC out there- you have to push to get one and be in the right place at the right time…


  1. Some entrepreneurs get bored being VCs, some like the diversity of activities and working with multiple companies simultaneously. Some simply have ADD (like me) and can’t focus on one project for too long…

  2. Shefaly,

    Hilarious. Some of those really ring true for me-
    “Worked at a successful startup, so that you can speak first-hand about the ecstasy of entrepreneurship. (add 1 point)

    “Worked at a failed startup, so that you understand three things: first, how hard it is to achieve success; second, that the world doesn’t owe you a thing; and third, what it’s like to be fired or laid off. (add 3 points)”

    Check and check.

    I really respect Guy because he’s got an MBA and distrusts MBAs wholeheartedly. “Work Experience – MBA (subtract 5 points)” I’ve got an MBA and am continually underwhelmed when people brag about their MBAs…

    Thanks for the heads up- every VC or VC to be should run this.

  3. Jason, ditto here re MBA. I think only an MBA can, as some people put it politely, diss an MBA as a degree. Others may be accused of the sour-grapes phenomenon in action.

    I got checks for engineering (+5), sales (+5), downturn though I would not call it long-lasting (+1), failed start-up (+3) but the MBA took away 5, which wasn’t so great. Although hurtful at the time, the experience of letting people go, gained at a relatively young age, now appears to be a useful skill to have.

    I laughed when I saw the Necessary Knowledge questions – all one needs is to have worked with an Indian company creating new businesses; one learns a whole new level of skills re shoe-strings and budgets, and therefore creativity.

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