Moving from VC to PE?

Hey all.

I've secured a VC internship in my penultimate year at university. I love the firm and the work they do, as they seem to be an interesting mix between VC/growth equity/PE, and I can see myself working in a place like this for a long time (provided I'm given the chance).

However, I still enjoy the idea of crunching numbers in Excel like a true monkey does in PE. There isn't much of that at this firm (as expected in VC I suppose). We generally outsource the M&A and IPO work to IBs, so there isn't much I can learn in that regard (albeit a bit).

So the question is, given the skill set acquired in VC, is the move to PE possible? Even if I don't decide to move, I still like to keep my options open. What other high finance roles would be available after a few years at VC?


Comments (17)

Jul 10, 2016

what is your job description?

Jul 10, 2016

Maybe more difficult if you're coming from a pure early-stage firm. However, later-stage/growth equity may be considered to be a "close substitute." For example, the fact that investor group in the Skype acquisition was composed of firms like Silver Lake Partners but also Andreesen Horowitz demonstrates this overlap.

Jul 10, 2016

I would like to bring this back up.

I'm a VC analyst at a moderately strong stage agnostic fund now in my second year. Love my job but have realized long term I really just enjoy the later stage growth size companies more. While a stage agnostic fund, my transaction experience is really more Series A-B, $5m - $15m equity raises, but we see a good number of growth/buyout deals.

I talked to a few of the megafunds who said they need me to do IB to be considered for an associate spot. I got into VC out of undergrad so I've talked to and interviewed at some of the BB's -- no bites yet.

Really trying to figure out this pivot and how to get myself into a growth equity shop. Any advice?

Jul 10, 2016

I did VC then switched into PE/growth. You have to be open minded about the type of "PE" you wan to get into. I think you're right to avoid the megafunds/large cap traditional LBO. You may want to hone in on an industry, pick software or something where there is a lot of growth capital. Happy to talk more but it's easy to spin your experience to match something later stage.

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Jul 10, 2016

Its a pretty different investment style, and I can't claim to be an expert on VC, but it strikes me as much more of an art than science, vs. the opposite can be said for PE. Regardless, across the PE spectrum it seems like some areas would be more penetrable than others... i.e., Tech groups in PE such as Silver Lake, KKR etc...or some of the firms that do more growthy or even early stage investments. GA and Vector both come to mind. Although again, I'd say even growth or early stage PE is fairly different than VC investing. Its much more fundamentals-focused investing, less of a spray and pray approach, or backing a really solid management team to build something.

Jul 10, 2016

It really depends on the types of VC deals you did and the type of fund you're working at. If you did early-stage deals with little financial analysis and mostly finger-in-the-wind type primary market research, a buyout fund will not be the right fit.

But many VCs are doing more and more late-stage deals, injecting post-revenue growth capital, dealing with complex financing structures, building engineered term sheets to boost returns. Such funds will consider doing roll-ups (typical of mid-market PE shops), will participate in PIPEs, and can get involved in traditional buyouts (LBOs or MBOs) and spinoffs. That kind of experience overlaps with a traditional PE shop.

Jul 10, 2016

In my experience this is hard to accomplish.

For what it's worth I know of about 10-15 people who tried this and 2 people that have done it. Both are at Carlyle, both worked in a top group at a top BB (GS/MS), went to HBS/GSB, etc. You get the point. Obviously this is not a fair sample so take this with a grain of salt.

Jul 10, 2016

you usually need banking before any solid pe work. If you really want pe, try and use vc to get to banking, and then go to PE from there.

Jul 10, 2016

That's what I figured, I need real modeling experience. How do I leverage my VC experience to get an IB summer internship?

Jul 10, 2016

I'm similar to you. Doing a venture cap internship, and leveraged it into an IB internship (hoping to break into PE one day). I was rather fortunate though; the director of the boutique IB is on the advisory board of the VC firm I intern at, so when I cold emailed him he was really receptive and took me on.

I'd say just highlight all your relevant experience in VC and leverage it. For example, don't you perform due diligence on the startup and the sector it's in? Writing information memorandums? Calling up clients? That's all pretty relevant to IB, so be sure to highlight those in your CV and interviews. I personally supplemented all the above by learning financial modelling just so I could nail any technical question asked.

PM me if you have any other questions.

Jul 10, 2016

Old thread but I'd like to also know...

Jul 10, 2016

I'm gonna bump this as well.

Is it reasonable/precedented to go:

Undergrad => Top Tech M&A group => Top VC like Sequoia or KPCB => Top MBA => Tech-focused PE Fund like Silverlake, H&F, etc.

Jul 10, 2016