Current VC Intern - Ask me anything!

I am currently working (long term internship) at a leading European VC fund. Graduated with an Engineering Bachelor this summer from a target school. The VC fund has around $1B AUM and is tech focused (no biotech).

Feel free to ask me anything about the job, the recruiting and the opportunities I have afterwards.

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Comments (9)

Nov 18, 2015

Hey Jean, thanks for doing this. I'm currently a junior at a US target studying computer science and entrepreneurship. Have had my fair share of software internships/built my own apps/done the whole coding thing and while I like it, I'm much more interested in a more macro view of technology (e.g. industry trends, drivers, business models, etc.) so I think VC would be a great fit for me.

Could you describe how you went about getting the internship? Were the interviews more technical? Behavioral? Did you network your way in or was it a formal internship program? A couple of VCs come to recruit at my school, but I'd rather not put all my eggs in one basket. The weakest part of my profile is probably my GPA (3.3-3.4) due to computer science being something that was initially way out of my comfort zone. Do you think they focus on that a lot? Do you have the opportunity to join full-time?

Question related to the actual job: Do you feel like you're doing mostly sourcing or is there a balance between diligence and that?

Sorry for the bombardment of questions - an answer to any question is much appreciated! Thanks.

Best Response
Nov 19, 2015
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Hey Jean, thanks for doing this. I'm currently a junior at a US target studying computer science and entrepreneurship. Have had my fair share of software internships, built my own apps/done the whole coding thing and while I like it, I'm much more interested in a more macro view of technology (e.g. industry trends, drivers, business models, etc.) so I think VC would be a great fit for me.

Could you describe how you went about getting the internship? Were the interviews more technical? Behavioral? Did you network your way in or was it a formal internship program? A couple of VCs come to recruit at my school, but I'd rather not put all my eggs in one basket. The weakest part of my profile is probably my GPA (3.3-3.4) due to computer science being something that was initially way out of my comfort zone. Do you think they focus on that a lot? Do you have the opportunity to join full-time?

Question related to the actual job: Do you feel like you're doing mostly sourcing or is there a balance between diligence and that?

Sorry for the bombardment of questions - an answer to any question is much appreciated! Thanks.

No worries, happy to help! I got a fair bit of help from WSO beforehand.

You do indeed have a good profile for VC, but unfortunately luck plays a big role as well. When you built your app did you also publish it and get users? You seem to have the technical side covered, but they might want to see more involvement on business side (any experience where you used the entrepreneurship minor?).

The major difference between the US and EU is that in the US you often have more structured internship programs, in which case they have professional recruiters on their team which will lead the interview (includes technical questions). In Europe, it works more along the lines of "This is a great CV, lets see if he would fit in our team and juste create the internship position in that case". Therefore my interviews were very behavioural and fit focused.

How I went about to get the internship:

Last year I had a 2 months internship in a 500M AUM fund, which I got through networking and getting along well with one of the Managing Partners (that was my share of luck). I initiated the idea of an internship and he told me from the beginning that they don't hire interns, but that I could come and "shadow" a principle for 2 weeks. I saw this as my way in, and through a lot of hard work and useful contributions to the team, I transformed it into a paid 2 month internship.

Then to get my current internship, I applied to the top 10 funds in Europe without any networking or connections (I counted on my previous VC experience to make me stand out). Got 2 invitations for interviews. They were all very behavioural focused with some questions on market knowledge. Had rounds with a VP and with a Partner. Questions like: Why VC? Why this fund? Why now? What do you like about one of our portfolio company and why? What company should we not have invested in? What company should we invest in? What is a good pitch? What are the 5 key points you would use to evaluate a startup? and then the usual questions about my course, my previous experiences, my motivations etc...

With regards to your grades:
I can't guarantee that this is true, but it is my opinion - I think that as long as you have decent grades, they won't mind too much. It just helps them differentiate at the beginning when they have too many applicants. So if you get them to look past it at the very first stage, they won't bother too much about your GPA anymore.

Job Opportunities that I have:
They said that they generally do not hire full time analysts, but again that would be up for discussion based on the current situation when I finish my internship. One of the partners and two VPs have however all guaranteed me that they will contact 1-2 people in all the big funds and try to place me there if they find an opening. So while I have no guarantees, I think having their strong backing in such a small industry will make a big difference.

What I do on the job:
I spend about 40% of the time "sourcing" but I would rather call it screening. I am the first filter for any incoming pitch, I reach out to companies I find interesting and get asked to reach out to some introduced ones. To do this, I analyse the information provided by comparing it to our database of previous pitches, I have 1 or 2 calls with the founders on my own before bringing in a VP or Partner and I make a conclusion on the opportunity that I then bring to our weekly investment dealflow meetings. Another 30% is based on Due Diligence: only a bit of financial valuations, calls with industry experts, discussing it with other VCs, market analysis and further calls with the founding team. The final 30% of time is spent on various tasks, ranging from helping the Finance team with their reporting and valuations to working directly with the partners for the fundraising of a new fund.

What I have not yet, but have asked to be more involved in the future, is "consulting" the portfolio companies. I think that's the only important part of the job that I am still missing at the moment.

Hope this was helpful, if you have any more questions, definitely ask!

    • 4
Dec 10, 2018

can i pm you ?

Nov 30, 2015

Is your fund hiring interns now (or know anyone who is???) Im waiting on starting a BB job in summer and would love to get some VC experience!

Dec 20, 2015
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Is your fund hiring interns now (or know anyone who is???) Im waiting on starting a BB job in summer and would love to get some VC experience!

My fund has an intern for the next "cycle" but I know of some other funds that are currently hiring. Most of this is going through recommendations though and the positions are not openly made public. Send me a pm and I'll try to help.

Dec 6, 2015

I have had multiple WM internships, with some consulting internship experience. I am also at a top 5 undergrad b-school, studying Finance and Global Business, and am a leader of a VC club that I started while here. The club is small and is growing, and I am doing a lot of networking with VCs. What all can I do to get a VC internship?

Dec 20, 2015
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I have had multiple WM internships, with some consulting internship experience. I am also at a top 5 undergrad b-school, studying Finance and Global Business, and am a leader of a VC club that I started while here. The club is small and is growing, and I am doing a lot of networking with VCs. What all can I do to get a VC internship?

You definitely seem to be on the right track. What work do you do for the VC club? And what does the club do in general?

Unfortunately the best answer I can give you right now is to simply apply to a lot of funds even if they are not advertising vacancies. Send me a PM with more info and I can send it to certain funds which I know are currently hiring an intern (not openly).

Dec 10, 2015

Hi, thanks for such a useful topic!

Do you have any open internship vacancies for the next summer?
I am starting my MBA in INSEAD this Jan and desperately looking for any opportunities in the VC field. I did a long (5 month) internship in a large regional fund previously.

Dec 20, 2015
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