Can I go into VC/GE from Tech?

I'm currently a computer science major at a target school and I'm aiming for SWE or Product Management roles for when I graduate. The problem is, I don't want to stare at code for the rest of my life. I'd much rather work as an investor or manager of tech companies. Unfortunately, I'm not at all interested in IB and I think it's too late to recruit at this point anyways. I know sometimes VC firms take startup founders, but the chances of a startup succeeding are slim so I'm not considering that option now. Is there a path to VC/GE from my background or is IB experience an important requirement?

Comments (10)

  • Associate 2 in VC
May 9, 2022 - 4:29pm

It's not a requirement, but the IB signal certainly helps. Former bankers tend to have more discipline and experience with modeling such that the learning curve ends up being fairly minimal. That being said, venture encompasses a broad swath of firms and fund sizes, and if you're truly committed to becoming an investor, I'd start by applying to the existing analyst programs through your school or smaller VC firms. And remember that networking is key.

Most Helpful
May 11, 2022 - 5:27pm
aristotle, what's your opinion? Comment below:

As someone attempting this transition after working a few years at FAANG, please please do banking or consulting. It makes it so much easier to make a case for yourself as to whether you a) actually understand what the job entails as you'll definitely be exposed to the financing, modeling, negotiation, and deal experience more with some finance experience b) you'll be helpful to their clients given a). I've had to network for months and quite aggressively to have a few firms take a chance on me, and this was after a ton of networking amongst my own finance friends to understand what it is VC/GE firms do, how they differentiate themselves, what value they provide to targets, etc. 

Ideally, you do banking because this will give you the widest breadth of exposure and the easiest time recruiting. Your cohort in a banking analyst program will be much more relevant to GE than the PMs/SWEs you start with in FAANG. In VC, product experience can be useful, especially from a place like Google or Apple, or one of the fund's portcos. It may be harder from other tech firms. 

Generally speaking, this path is the easiest to transition to GE/VC from. Going the tech route doesn't make it easy to get on headhunter's radars and networking is a bitch when you have to do that. It is also MUCH harder to get the relevant modeling experience from a banking analyst program when you have a few years in tech. I legitimately had a JPMorgan TMT Executive Director tell me that he didn't believe me when I said I wanted to leave tech for banking to eventually break into GE. 

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
May 11, 2022 - 5:50pm

Makes sense. Was your previous experience at FAANG in SWE or a different role?

Also, what do you think about post-MBA recruiting? Is there a better path to GE/VC from here?

May 11, 2022 - 6:40pm
aristotle, what's your opinion? Comment below:

SWE

Re: Post-MBA recruiting. Certainly hard without pre-MBA investing experience. If you want to do product, then you can make a transition to VC (and maybe GE but not without banking internship, and even then it's very unlikely). I think if you want to do any investing, you just have to suck it up and deal with banking or consulting recruiting and the entry-level role for two years. Think of it as a professionalizing part of your life, just like a medical resident going from medical student to doctor/surgeon. It's a necessary evil. 

May 17, 2022 - 2:48am
monkeyshitfeverdream, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Honestly, you can go either way and it's common that operators in startups eventually go into the VC world. Within VC, banking skills aren't really all that useful especially modeling as no one gives a fuck what the DCF says a 30% MoM revenue growth tech startup will look like in 10 years. They're almost always wrong so they're useless. GE is a bit different, however. If you want early stage VC, there's nothing more valuable to a firm than a former founder or executive at a startup. Since most VCs nowadays have started going down this "value-add" path (which I think is kinda bullshit but whatever), they look for people who have experience in growing a startup and can help the founders that they fund along the way. These are my two cents, at the very least if you go SWE get into a management role as soon as possible.

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
May 17, 2022 - 12:04pm

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