This site has led me along my path since coming out of college, and for that I am extremely grateful. I never had much direction coming out of school (non-target), but knew I liked the markets and knew that I wanted to make money, so with a lot of ups and downs I've successfully been in equity research for just about 2 years covering the retail sector across multiple sub-sectors (softlines, hardlines, broadlines and luxury).
With that said, over the last year to 1.5 years, I've become EXTREMELY interested in entrepreneurship and start-ups in general. To the point where I've become noticeably less interested in the work I do on a day-to-day basis. Don't get me wrong, I still love learning the ins and outs of companies, particularly ones that are mulling over an IPO, but outside of that this job bores me more often than not. I've recently started poking around how I could exit to a VC and have seen some very conflicting views on the subject matter. I see a lot of bankers make the move, but I would argue (outsider looking in) that someone coming from research has a MUCH better understanding of actually what makes a company tick, what it's growth drivers are and how realistic its assumptions and goals are. This isn't to say that bankers can't also grasp all of these facts, but whenever we're on the phone with a banker here, valuations are always suggested at astronomical multiples and the company's growth prospects are typically blown WAY out of proportion.
I'm a CFA Level III candidate and will likely not actively seek out any positions until I take the exam in June but, from what I understand, getting into a VC has a lot to do with networking--so it may serve me to begin that process.
For all you monkeys out there, my questions are simply: (1) Is this a realistic exit op? If so, why? If not, why not and what can do I from here? (2) What are the best sources for me to really start to learn about VCs, start ups, etc. that are relevant while interviews/talking to VCs? (3) Does the CFA offer ANY 'leg up' over the competition in the VC world? and (4) What's the overall career path of someone entering VC? Does EVERYONE have to leave after 2 years to go to b-school or a portfolio company or are there people that truly just advance?