How to land a job in Venture Capital in Europe (London)?

I'd be happy to hear your thoughts on this:

  • Does recruiting work in the same way as for Private Equity?
  • How does salary compare to IB and PE?
  • Is transitioning to VC from IB a good idea?
  • Which are the best VC firms in Europe (London)?

Thanks a lot!

Comments (16)

Feb 24, 2020 - 7:42am

Hi there,

  • Recruiting is less seasonal and more based on VCs' current needs and networkin

  • Salaries are lower than in PE (but with better hours)

  • It is a good idea if you want to stay in VC or be an entrepreneur. Generally, it is way easier to move from PE to Growth to VC than the opposite as the market is specific and you don't build as much of a technical skillset (since you don't use debt and invest in early-stage companies).

  • The best firms in London are Balderton, Accel, Atomico and Index Ventures. There are of course a lot of other good VCs in Europe (Eurazeo, Northzone, Global Founders Capital, DN Capital, Alven, Point Nince, Partech, Holtzbrinck Ventures, etc. etc.). On the growth side, a lot of good players are from the US (e.g. TA Associates, Summit Partners, General Atlantic).

Feb 24, 2020 - 10:05am

Correct for the most part, would even argue that on top of VC's current needs, most VCs will only consider you if there is a form of warm intro - being from one of their port-co C-Level folks or employees (usually met at some form of event in the VC/Tech space) and require you to be able to source investments - ie know who's raising currently in the market/or may want to raise in the future.

Jun 15, 2020 - 6:12pm

You mentioned that it is a good idea to go into VC if you want to become an entrepreneur. How common is this path? Do more PE or VC guys become entrepreneurs?


Jun 16, 2020 - 5:29am

Well to become an entrepreneur you just have to launch your company and you can do it from any background, however you're move likely to join an existing startup being a VC

Most Helpful
Feb 24, 2020 - 2:25pm

Topic I know well as I do a lot of work in the space and am setting up a micro VC fund.

  • Processes are not as structured as they can be in private equity where you have clear opportunity windows and nothing in between. Most jobs are secured through heavy networking and warm introductions as mentioned above.

  • I will let other people talk about the US, as there are major differences between the East and West Coast. In Europe, the average comp is significantly lower than in IB and PE. It is frequent to hear Senior Associates earning £55k and a tiny bonus, but positions are rare so people stick around.

  • A transition from IB to VC is very difficult and when it happens there are usually pretty good reasons for that (e.g. New hire is a serial entrepreneur, a tech genius, angel investing for a long time, real passion for tech...). Some teams (e.g. GS TMT) are better than others to lend a VC job, but again this is not the norm.

  • Most people around started their career in consulting or IB, then became pretty successful entrepreneurs and moved to VC to share their experience and help fellow entrepreneurs. The way Softbank recruits is not a true reflection of the way the industry works.

  • Don't transition to VC now if that's for the fame and money. Do it because you LOVE spending time with entrepreneurs, sorting out issues and don't mind spending a huge amount of time raising money for portfolio companies and your fund. Let's be honest, there is no such thing as a real VC career in Europe. Most of us do it for a few years and then go back to entrepreneurship or invest in this category as part of a broader mandate (i.e. Family offices).

  • Most people would be surprised by the actual IRR generated by most funds. It is not because some of them keep raising always bigger funds that they are necessarily extremely successful. Most of the time they've picked one or two winners and raise money on the back of that.

  • Hard to answer your question regarding the best funds without looking at the following:

  • Investment stage: Pre-Seed, Seed, Series A / B, growth, late stage
  • Type: Incubator, Accelerator, Micro VC, VC, VC Trust, EIS / non EIS
  • Geographies covered
  • Sectors covered: generalist or specialist (e.g. SaaS, Deep Tech)
  • Lead or co-investor
  • Investment style: selective or not

Once you have a better sense of what you are into, you may want to work for Felix Capital rather than Mosaic, EQT Ventures rather than Advent Venture Partners, etc. There are at least 100 great accelerators and funds in London such as Founders Factory. Once again, it depends on what you want to do and the kind of exposure you are after.

  • Is the work life balance better? Without a single doubt yes but you do spend a huge amount of time attending events, networking and meeting entrepreneurs. You will work (very) hard and the comp won't follow - at least straight away.

This is a very short answer, but I will probably create a AMA thread at some point. In the meantime, feel free to ask me any questions.

Hope this helps.

  • 13
Feb 25, 2020 - 1:20am

Interesting insight and I guess I expected the compensation part.

I'm going to intern at a pre-seed/seed fund in Berlin, before I start as an analyst at MM Bank in London.
For the internship I interviewed with one of the partners who told me that his compensation is better than what it was when he was still doing IB.

But I guess pay extremely depends on the firm.

Feb 25, 2020 - 3:20am

Nice post !

I would say that for the later stage shops (Series B onwards), it is actually quite usual to hire former bankers, provided you can show an interest in tech. MBB consultants can also work in VC without going on an entrepreneurial route first

Mar 6, 2020 - 12:14pm

In general, what advice do you have for someone who's looking to break into VC without any prior VC / entrepreneurial experience? (i.e. coming from Investment Banking).

Are there any funds that are more "open" to this kind of background than others?

Thank you

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Mar 7, 2020 - 10:43am

If you have no tech, entrepreneurial or investing experience why would they hire you? What skillset do you bring to VC that someone with one of the above skillsets (particularly the investor) could not bring? Would you hire a candidate like that? So the key here is get one of the three skillsets above.

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