Q&A: 1st Year VC Analyst at a top-tier Asian fund

Hi all. Saw quite a bit of interest in VC / how to get into VC on the forum, and thought it would be good to do a Q&A for anyone interested in breaking into the industry. 

I'm just about to begin my 2nd year as an analyst at a top-tier, sector-agnostic Asian VC fund ($1b+ AUM). Happy to answer any questions on the job / lifestyle / recruiting / trends / etc.

Ask away!

 

Comments (20)

 
Sep 21, 2020 - 11:50am

Hi, thanks for the initiative

VC is one of the exits I would contemplate in the short-mid run but I know almost nothing about it. So my questions if you allow me are:

1/ what's the usual background to get into a top VC? (Do they only hire mbas?)

2/ lifestyle-total comp ratio? Where r u based?

Thank you! 😎

 
Most Helpful
Sep 21, 2020 - 1:00pm

I'm not quite sure why people think only those with MBAs get hired as VCs. It's very much a commodity.

1. Usual background for analysts and associates: 2 - 4 yrs in product management / consulting / IB. At the associate level there are more laterals. It's not as clear to me what the typical background for principals and partners is. That said, the one defining characteristic that most principals / partners have is some sort of track record.

2. Lifestyle - I think for most people in the VC space, they'll understand what I mean when I say VC is a lifestyle in and of itself. It's very hard to separate work from life particularly if you love the job. In terms of hours I probably work about 70 hrs a week (not including the time I spend reading up on industries / trends / companies), more when we're making an investment. Working on the weekends / holidays is fairly uncommon, but I don't really mind it at all. Comp. is good, slightly more than MBB, but less than what some make in IB. Wouldn't recommend VC if you're trying to optimize for getting the highest base/bonus package though - PE and HF are the way to go if that's your goal.

 
  • Associate 1 in PE - LBOs
Sep 21, 2020 - 3:11pm

Curious how you think the hours look at the associate level, given people tout VC as having a better work life balance than PE/IB while still being a transaction oriented career. If you're still pulling 70 hour weeks, that doesn't sound like that much of an improvement (still would imply 9 am - midnight Monday to Thursday and 9 am - 7 pm on Friday, assuming no weekend work)

 
Sep 21, 2020 - 12:47pm

No restrictions on geography or on stage, the firm is very opportunistic when it comes to investments. I'd say the typical way to describe us is that we're a Series A/B firm, but with slightly more emphasis on B nowadays as the funds grow larger. We also tend to fall into the bucket of VCs whose first question when looking at a company is "What's this company's tech edge? (ala Khosla Ventures, Lux Capital)" instead of "How could this business become a large monopoly? (ala Sequoia, Founders Fund, etc.)".

I wear a lot of hats - although my role is primarily on the investment side (sourcing, analysis, dd, executing investments), I do help quite a bit on the portfolio management side, as well as in fundraising, investor relations, and typical admin stuff that analysts have to do. Based on my calendar this past year, my job is a ~70 / 30 split between investment work and non-investment work. 

 
Sep 21, 2020 - 9:33pm

It's always relative to AUM. In general, you will make less at a VC vs. at a PE / HF given that VC firms tend to manage smaller amounts of capital.

Carry is typically given to principals and above, associates rarely receive carry. Most firms do allow staff to coinvest when there's room left in the round. 

 
Sep 25, 2020 - 10:28am

The way carry works varies significantly across funds. Some funds treat investing like a team sport; carry allocation might differ across partners, but they're receiving their percentages from the same pool of money. Other funds have an eat what you kill system, where partners receive upside only on the deals that they managed. 
 

In terms of who gets carry: GPs receive the vast majority, with principals maybe sharing several hundred bps between them. Associates rarely get it, although some do 

 
Sep 22, 2020 - 2:25am

How did you manage to land the gig? Any headhunters you would recommend for moving into VC in SEA?

Gimme the loot

 
Sep 22, 2020 - 3:39am

I cold emailed pretty much every VC I could. Got into interviews with 3 firms, was rejected by one, and ended up getting offers from the other 2. Was a snap call to pick the offer from what was actually biggest firm out of the 3 (due to comp, brand name, performance etc.). The interviews were quite different across all the firms.

For one of them I had a couple of phone interviews, a case study (cap table, building a 3 statement model, valuation, etc.), a startup pitch, then a "superday" with the partners and the investment team.  For the other two VCs, it was incredibly casual - mostly lunches / dinners with the partners & investment team.

I don't have enough context to speak about SEA, or about headhunters in general as I never went through the headhunting process.

 
Sep 22, 2020 - 4:09am

Interesting to hear the range of interview styles for the firms. Did the more casual interviewing firms have structured analyst programs, or were they only hiring when needed and based on fit? How do you think you were being assessed if there weren't any case/ pitch elements?

Also, assumed you were based in SEA for some reason - my bad :D

Gimme the loot

 
Sep 23, 2020 - 10:13pm
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