What exact position at a startup can a VC exit into?

I've recently joined a VC focused on series A stage as an investment analyst, but I realized in the meanwhile that I want to switch to the operational side later on.

I'm wondering what sort of positions at a startup can you exit into with a couple of years of VC experience?

Comments (13)

throaway92, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Typically Senior Manager/Director level depending on tenure and experience, relationship with the founder, and skill. 

Typical misconceptions

- Don't usually land at a VP level lateraling from a Sr. Associate or even VP role. Good founders are aware you're a smart generalist but your execution/operational ability is diminished given the nature of your work.

- No strategy roles really unless you're going much later stage- good founders and functional ELT set strategy. "I want to help with strategy" is usually MBA/banker/consultant babble speak for not adding a lot of functional value and spinning up a lot of decks and randomizing work.

- The best opportunities can often be outside your portfolio. Build relationships and stay in touch with founders who are Series A-Series C startups on a solid trajectory. You should know which cos are the hottest to join and build a rapport with those founders over time, regardless of whether they're in your portfolio. Smart for your network as a VC and optionality long-term.

NuclearPenguins, what's your opinion? Comment below:

If OP is joining as an analyst and is asking about going corporate after only a couple of years of work exp, there's very little chance they're going to be able to join at the senior manager / director level (unless it's a case of everyone is an analyst as a generic title). Even a typical 2 years of IB + 1-2 years of PE is probably more manager / sr. manager level from what I've seen, not director.

  • NA in IB-M&A

Thanks for your reply. You mention that exit into a senior manager/director level would be possible. What role would that be exactly and what are the skills that are transferrable into that?

  • NA in IB-M&A

What is the role of a chief of staff usually and what skills would someone in VC be able to transfer into that position?

Most Helpful
Person123, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Super late to this thread, but wanted to add some insight (currently in a Chief of Staff role at a startup) in case you might find it helpful. 

(1) What is the role of a Chief of Staff? It varies immensely based on (i) the stage of the company, (ii) the CEO/executive leadership, and (iii) your level of experience. A Chief of Staff could be someone with 2-4 YOE primarily supporting the leadership team or, conversely, a seasoned industry veteran functioning as a quasi-COO. Assuming you fall under the former category at a startup, you're typically a jack-of-all trades, but master of none in a CoS role. Typical responsibilities might include:

  • Preparing all Board of Director materials (ad hoc, quarterly meetings, etc.)
  • Attending and driving the agenda for executive leadership meetings 
  • Spearheading special projects (e.g., building business cases, optimizing product pricing)
  • Developing short- and long-term strategy plans for individual business units, or the company itself 

(2) What skills from someone in VC would be transferable to the position? With regards to your skillset, I'd bet the "investor lens" you develop during your time in VC would be a valuable asset to any early-mid stage startup (depending on how operationally intensive your VC firm is). In particular - your understanding of the competitive landscape, drivers of growth, bottlenecks, etc. would be quite useful for a company looking to map out or refresh their 5-strategy, for example. I also think executive leadership would be very appreciative of your knowledge of how to properly articulate strategy and updates with regards to investor/Board communications (quarter end is always a hectic time of year for startups). 

As always, feel free to PM me with any questions. Hope this was helpful!  

  • Intern in IB - Gen

Would it be different for exiting late stage VC/growth?

princepieman, what's your opinion? Comment below:

atrategy & ops (incl chief of staff, country GM or program manager stuff), product, corp dev, biz dev / partnerships, finance, product marketing, investor relations

  • NA in IB-M&A

I dont see how VC would transfer into product or marketing. Could you elaborate on that?

As for strategy & ops - how common is the switch to that position? I mean as a VC youre not really managing teams or creating strategies in most cases so I dont see the transferrability there either.

princepieman, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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