Immigrant challenges - breaking in to PE/VC

This is related to international students/professionals who have to deal with the work VISA process, so may not apply to majority of folks here.
I know consulting firms are pretty good about sponsoring VISAs and supporting immigrants in the long-term, but not sure if PE or VC firms are generally open to hiring, and as a result, dealing with the work visa process? Do folks here know if firms that are open to it? I understand it's a niche topic but wanted to see if there's anyone with any inputs or experience on the matter. Thanks!

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Comments (9)

Dec 28, 2019 - 6:02am

My current firm sponsored my work visa and helped me apply for it. But do realize most VCs are small teams - nobody wants to get stuck w the paperwork

Dec 28, 2019 - 3:41pm

That's encouraging to hear! Would you say only the larger VC firms are open to sponsoring or will smaller shops also be open to the possibility?


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Dec 29, 2019 - 11:45pm

Thanks omegalul. Congrats on having two offers - that's incredible! This is really helpful, and encouraging. Am trying to move from corporate strat in tech (and formerly strategy consulting) to the VC world. Not even close to an offer but still helpful to know that they do sponsor if needed. Could you share some insights on the interview process, if you don't mind? And any resources you used to get the offers? Would appreciate it.

Dec 30, 2019 - 12:16am

You're welcome! Thanks, took me a year to land both :) Not sure if interview process is the right phrase. Both were quite unstructured.

In general, I met junior / mid-level investment team members first, then a partner. Conversations were literally about anything - my background, the public markets, a tech / non-tech stock Ilike, sports, views on a trend in VC, things I've seen / know that they don't.

Don't be fooled by an invitation to a casual lunch / coffee, there is no such thing as a casual coffee. They are already evaluating you: your table manners, your attitude towards the restaurant staff, your ability to hold a conversation etc.

Some typical tasks during the interviews I had were financial modelling (ex. 5 yr P&L, cap table, exit projections), a pitch on a startup, how I'd approach a founder through a cold email.

Here are a couple of tips:

  1. Get a warm intro. This is pretty much non-negotiable, particularly in the valley. My case was a bit different, I cold-emailed the heck out of every VC I could find. I also had a bunch of high-level people that I worked for in previous jobs & internships who stepped up when these 2 VCs did their reference checks. Was very very very lucky.

  2. Come bearing gifts - a very trite phrase, but very powerful. Besides intros to startups that I sourced on my own, for one of the VC firms I interviewed with, I also came with an LP intro (which didn't pan out in the end, but still, who comes with LP intros?).

  3. Actually know what it takes to do the job. You should have your own views on the world and tech trends, be able to source startups, understand how VC works as an industry (basic stuff like the power law distribution, what vintage year means, various metrics that determine fund performance, etc.), i.e be a VC before you actually become a VC.

There are a lot of resources online. A16Z's podcast, 20VC, Reid Hoffman's Blitzscaling, AllenLatta, YC has good stuff too. Spend enough time digging and you can get quite a bit from the internet.

Good luck man! It's a worthwhile grind if you love VC. Check your DM.

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