The First-Class Fellowship at New Stack Ventures

Why I love VC

A year ago, I was one of those kids that constantly looked at VC recruiting boards such as John Gannon’s blog and read every ‘Breaking into VC’ article I could find. I was obsessed with working in VC and have always been enamored with entrepreneurs and what they can build.

For me, startups represent the heart of free-market capitalism: allowing anyone to solve a problem they see and be rewarded appropriately for their execution, vision, and the size/prevalence of the problem.

Likewise, investors are rewarded for the risk they bear by putting capital in these early-stage startups and are successful when they identify potential greatness in a team and the problem that they are solving. Being able to predict the future is something that I have always been preoccupied with from a young age. This materialized in me finding ways to try to rationally predict the future through investing. As Taleb’s quote below shows: investing is the way we show others and ourselves what we think the future will be like.

From Taleb’s book: “Skin in the Game”

After my summer internship, I finally saw the perfect opportunity to break into VC: a Fellowship at New Stack Ventures. I immediately assumed it was for grad students but clicked on the link and found it was for undergrads passionate about VC like myself! I applied and was fortunate enough to be accepted to the program and ‘break into VC,’ as the cliché goes.

I was successful in the recruitment process by being able to show that I was passionate about the space, knew great startup companies that should be on their radar, and read the gazillion newsletters that every good VC reads. This culminated in really speaking the language of VC and showing that I had spent time thinking about emerging trends and trying to identify compelling companies through various investment theses.

The Role

What does it mean to be a ‘fellow?’ A fellow is essentially a learning role, similar to that of an intern, in which you bring value to the team through your work and are ‘compensated’ through your unique and extraordinary learning opportunity. At New Stack, this culminated in learning how to source great companies and deals and further filter those companies through due diligence. A fellow role was perfect, as I was able to learn from the best and also leverage it into a full-time VC role.

I was grateful to be able to focus broadly on pre-seed companies, the earliest stage of institutional investing where ideas begin to meet reality and traction is limited. This results in VCs being able to rely on less quantitative data and more on qualitative things and really gut instinct. As we learned from one of our guest speakers, Ramy Adeeb — GP of 1984 Ventures — the best investors are able to build conviction and make investment decisions quickly because they have that incredible instinct for great companies.

Highlights

My main highlight of the fellowship was simply learning. My curiosity was constantly fed and I was able to learn so much each and every week from the incredible team at New Stack while also continuing to be proactive and learning on my own.

The role certainly focused heavily on sourcing, but at the same time encompassed so much more than that. I was able to ‘shadow’ calls and eventually lead my own calls with founders, we had learning sessions that taught us networking skills to market sizing to the nuances of the term sheet. We wrote articles and did interviews with other VCs and we held weekly standup meetings where we discussed the deals we sourced and what was going on in each other’s lives.

Being able to lead the ‘weekly stand-ups’ was easily a highlight for me. Not only did I get the experience of leading a group and holding myself and others responsible for meeting a set of objectives and goals, but more importantly I got to know the people in my group.

I was lucky enough to meet some amazing individuals who were just as passionate about startups & VC and had also worked against all odds to get there.

The team at New Stack showed me how important it is to work with good people who are passionate about what they do and truly want to see those around them be successful as well.

Advice

  1. For those looking to break into VC: understand why you want to work in VC and be able to communicate that clearly and coherently.
  2. VC isn’t as glamorous as you may imagine: truly loving startups, investing, and the future are all a must. Craft a compelling story that is authentic to you, your background, and the value that you can bring.
  3. Don’t take any learning opportunity for granted: Come into any fellowship, internship, or class with a clear set of goals and things that you want to get out of it. Don’t be afraid to ask your boss or those around you with help on getting those goals accomplished and those opportunities met.

There’s so much more that I would love to say about New Stack, the Fellowship and how it really changed the trajectory of my career but I’ll spare everyone (for now).

Thanks to the entire team especially Nick Moran, Nate Pierotti, and Austin Ju for running an unforgettable Fellowship program. Excited to say that I will be joining another incredible team and working full-time for a late-stage VC fund: Riverside Technology Capital Solutions in San Francisco starting in June!

If you are interested in the Fellowship at New Stack, apply for the Fall cohort! Apply here.

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