Good evening everyone! (or whatever time it is in your time zone),
I wanted to open up some time for Q&A with the WSO community. WSO was a very helpful tool in helping me pursue internships and gain knowledge on particular areas in finance, specifically IB, PE, and VC related. I believe it is only just for me to give back by answering any questions you may have. Unfortunately my old account got erased some time ago, so I had to quickly create a new one to get back in the WSO game.
This post is going to be long as hell, so put on those reading glasses, pour yourself a stiff one, and enjoy!
It all began during my freshman year of college.. I went to a non-target state school that did not have a huge IB/PE presence, which made things tough, but had an exceptional finance program. While most of my peers were getting shit-faced Wednesday-Saturday, I put myself forward in pursuing as many finance related opportunities as I could. In the fall of my first year in college I gained the courage to go downtown to a finance internship fair. I stumbled around expecting to not receive anything out of it but the peer concept of in-person interview practice and connection establishment. I came around to speaking with a partner at a middle market PE fund that was locally based in the city. We exchanged contact information and I surprisingly received a call the next week inviting me into the offices for an interview. At the time, I knew very little about PE, besides the fact that I was great with numbers and wanted to get into something investing-related. The interview came quick and after a week of teaching myself everything possible about the industry in the short amount of time I had, I did relatively decent on the technical aspects of the interview. I have always been an entrepreneurial-minded, talkative, and ambitious individual, so the personality-based questions came easy to me.
A few weeks later, during a Christmas break shopping spree I received a call from the MD whom I interviewed with. I got offered a position for an internship during the winter semester. This was a shocker to me and of course I immediately accepted it.
During my time with the firm I spent a significant allocation of time connecting with investment bankers trying to source deals to review. I would hop on the phone and connect with various MDs around the nation and pitch our criteria to see what they had in stock. After signing an NDA I would then receive an OM (opportunity memorandum) which laid out everything I needed to know (for the most part) about the company. Grant it, everything these OM's had to say were positive since the investment bankers are like real estate agents - they aren't going to put a damper on their own deal. I would present the deals that I thought were good at our weekly meetings where the board members and partners would rank which deals we wanted to pursue.
If one (or more) of mine were picked I would setup a broker call to receive more info on the deal, then submit a preliminary valuation (IOI), then eventually press for a (LOI) where I wouldmonths later.. Needless to say without getting into too much detail (kinda already did but there's no going back now) I got the opportunity to work on a few buyouts and had some incredible exposure that I am very grateful for.
I continued my internship the next following years, where I eventually left and pursued an internship my junior summer a. My experience there was a huge resume builder and emphasized my background. Later into the summer I got put on a job to work with the firms new fund of funds division on early stage investments. At this point I instantly fell in love with the . Analyzing the VCs to invest in showed me truly how profitable the industry was, not to mention the risk-factor behind it was stimulating. Not only that, but the fact that these funds could step in and make an incredible idea that otherwise may have failed turn into a Facebook acquisition was just incredible.
Now its important to briefly go back in time. I had always loved starting my own little ventures throughout highschool. I started 2 businesses and had one decently successful one that I sold off for a small amount to an acquaintance when I went off to college. Now fast forward. I finished the summer with an offer to continue in the fund of funds position and I accepted it. I worked that position for about a year in a half. The last 1/3 of my time in that position I began founding my own venture fund with 3 other partners of mine that I had met in college and had worked with who I knew would be valuable assets to the team - that was what was important - the team you raised. We started raising capital and were able to reach an amount that we saw was enough to start calling in to make early seed investments in tech startups.
It has been 2 years since the found of our VC fund, and needless to say, I have absolutely no regrets. I love the work we do and the startup founders we work with. Seeing these small startups grow into something they deserve to be is truly rewarding.
Before I ramble on too much, I'll end it here. Feel free to shoot away with questions! Thank you guys for your time for reading this, and to everyone out there who may have helped me indirectly through your posts in the past.