Join 8VC or Insight Partners as New Grad?

I have a CS degree. Which firm would you recommend joining as a new grad out of college who hopes to transition into a top VC firm or becoming a founder in the future? I feel 8VC is much more focused on early stage investments and actually has people with tech backgrounds whereas Insight Partners invests at much later stages and has less people from a traditional tech background.


Obviously getting into top VC firms like Sequoia, a16z, and Founders Fund requires some connections/networking as well but which opportunity would help the most with this? I think 8VC has some decent connections to Founders Fund through Joe Lonsdale?

 

Can you tell us what you know about the 8VC Analyst program? My initial reaction is that is not as known of an entity as Insight, which sets you up perfectly for any venture career. Everyone knows what skills you have, and those are coveted. While 8VC is great and the predecessor, Formation 8 had phenomenal returns, it's more of a gamble. You're at more of a classic small feel VC firm (having worked at one of them, it's fun, but it's less regimented, which candidly I think is good for you early on in your career). As I write this and think about it, I think I lean more towards Insight unless you have more information you can provide on why 8VC helps you achieve your goals. I.e. why does them having people with tech backgrounds help *your* goals along. 

 

As an analyst under 8VC you work directly with a main partner and your responsibilities are across due diligence, sourcing, working with founders, and all other aspects of the VC process. You sit in all the meetings with your main partner and can sit in meetings with other 8VC partners as well. From what I've heard, Insight analysts seem to only have their main priority be sourcing until they reach associate, so 8VC seems to have a lot more responsibility and learning opportunities here.

 

Yea so exactly to my point you get the classic "small feel VC firm". Your experience is going to be completely dependent on what that partner knows and how well he can teach you. Could be great - I mean, imagine being apprentice to Bill Gurley. But also, you might get a JV partner who has no idea what he's doing, in which case you're screwed. Whereas going to Insight is more like going to get a Masters Degree in Sourcing from the Harvard of venture / venture growth firms. So, kind of depends on what you want and your risk tolerance this early in your career.

 

Go with Insight. It's not even close. Insight is the best VC analyst program by far (no I did not go there so this is totally unbiased). You'll get great training, it's a great brand, strong alumni network, and they give a lot of responsibility to analysts/associates.

 
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8VC is dope, if you're interested in defense start-ups this brings you into to the whole Palantir/Epirus/Anduril/etc club as well as their other connections. A friend is involved with them and he has direct access to all the top guys which is awesome. If you're a self-starter I would 100% take the uncommon path and do 8VC, but if you don't think you're ready to hang yet then Insight is standard and known.

 

A lot of young people undervalue the ability to train and learn at traditional programs. Often these programs and the way you’ll work directly with the senior members of the firm will be invaluable. And the returns from those programs compound, it’s not just what you learn factually during the program but also what you learn in terms of frameworks, processes, structuring, and diligence. Very few people (and not even necessarily the best people) are ready to be investors out of undergrad without good training and experience. 
 

With all that said, I would suggest Insight. 

 

From what I understand, you get more opportunities to interact with senior members at the firm at 8VC since it's smaller. At 8VC you work directly with a main partner and your responsibilities are across due diligence, sourcing, working with founders, and all other aspects of the VC process. You sit in all the meetings with your main partner and can sit in meetings with other 8VC partners as well. From what I've heard, Insight analysts seem to only have their main priority be sourcing until they reach associate, so 8VC seems to have a lot more responsibility and learning opportunities here.

 

The answer is Insight. I'm happy to share longer reasons why over DM but the short version is training at Insight is good and you will learn and be thrown in a very competitive environment early. Their analyst program is a known quantity. 8VC has a variety of cultural issues, some mentioned here, and the only way you would get a better experience is if the Principal or Associate you work directly for is outstanding. 

 

If the goal is to be a founder, none of these will benefit you.

Many undergrads think VC is a gateway to being a founder, but in reality, you don't learn much about what its like to be a 0-1 founder. Most VC's are a negative value add to a company and the truly great VC's they rarely work with younger associates unless you're at a firm like Founders Fund, Sequoia, Floodgate, Benchmark etc. Growth VC is so irrelevant to understanding what its like to be a founder, you may as well be in PE

Also the only thing you'll really learn at Insight that translates is how to cold email and do sales, which you might as well do at a startup.

Source: Worked at a top TMT IB group, had offers at VC funds like Insight/Summit -> quit to be a founder, now raised over $15M backed by top VC's.

 

i know a lot of founders feel this way but frankly I do think there are elements of VC that are helpful. Sure at pure growth firms, maybe not. But a place like Insight does as early as seed and often Series A. If you do VC you can gain expertise (or otherwise get your feet wet) in a vertical (or many verticals -- usually many bc the best firms tend to be generalist) and also build a network of builders and VCs that you can bring with you if you ever wanna build / raise. You also get to consider strategy and see how diff decisions play out for diff portco's, what works and what doesn't. I understand your argument, lotta people have made it to me. But i don't think doing VC is necessarily a net negative. Sure working at a Series A/B in the vertical you like can get you more direct / transferable experience, but then you and your expertise are somewhat limited to that one vertical. You aren't getting a high level view of how the startup world operates and who wins.

You could work at a Series A startup, then found. But i’d argue you’d have an even broader network / tool box if you VC —> build at an A —> then found

 

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