WSO Podcast | E201: Anthropology to Venture Capital (VC) in London
In this episode, member RexBanner shares his unique path as an Anthropology major to venture capitalist. We learn that initially he wanted to be a lawyer, when he figured out that was not a great idea, the struggles he went through from a non-target for uni and how eventually he pivoted to management consulting out of the London School of Economics.
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WSO Podcast Episode 201 Transcripts:
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:00:06] Hello and welcome. I'm Patrick Curtis, your host and Chief Monkey. And this is the Wall Street Oasis podcast. Join me as I talk to some of the community's most successful and inspirational members to gain valuable insight into different career paths.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:00:20] And.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:00:20] Life in general. Let's get to it. In this episode, member Rex Banner shares his unique path as an anthropology major to venture capitalist. We learn that initially he wanted to be a lawyer when he figured out that was not a great idea. The struggles he went through from a non target for uni and how eventually he pivoted to management consulting out of the London School of Economics. Enjoy. Rex Banner, thanks so much for joining the Wall Street Oasis podcast.
RexBanner: [00:00:54] No worries. Happy to be here.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:00:55] So it would be great if you could give the listeners a short summary bio.
RexBanner: [00:00:59] Sure. So I grew up just south of London.
RexBanner: [00:01:03] In a place called Surrey, spent.
RexBanner: [00:01:05] My first 18 years. There was a straight B student school. I had no idea what.
RexBanner: [00:01:10] Finance or any of this.
RexBanner: [00:01:12] Stuff was, but had a brief indicated I wanted to be a. And did.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:01:17] A lawyer.
RexBanner: [00:01:19] Become a lawyer? Yes.
RexBanner: [00:01:21] This was based purely on what.
RexBanner: [00:01:22] I've seen on TV, which was completely inaccurate.
RexBanner: [00:01:25] But I ended up going to University of Kent in the south of England, which is a lovely university.
RexBanner: [00:01:34] It's not what I call the target university, but still a great place to be.
RexBanner: [00:01:38] And I actually ended up studying anthropology there, which was based on two things.
RexBanner: [00:01:44] Firstly, having spoken to actual lawyers. They said, don't go and study law. You're going to have a horrendous time, you'll be miserable for three years. Instead, go and study something which you really enjoy and then you can convert to law afterwards.
RexBanner: [00:01:58] And the subject which I found.
RexBanner: [00:02:01] Most interesting, happened to be anthropology, and it helped that it was at the very beginning of the university prospectuses as well.
RexBanner: [00:02:07] Beginning with the day that that's what I chose to go for. Spent three years studying.
RexBanner: [00:02:12] Anthropology and had the best possible undergrad experience I possibly could have had absolutely loved my time as an anthropologist.
RexBanner: [00:02:21] But then realized.
RexBanner: [00:02:22] Afterwards that.
RexBanner: [00:02:23] I didn't want to be a lawyer any more. But definitely didn't.
RexBanner: [00:02:26] Really want to be an anthropologist. I'm not sure if that is an actual.
RexBanner: [00:02:30] Formal career path. So I wasn't really sure.
RexBanner: [00:02:34] What I wanted to do. And is.
RexBanner: [00:02:35] That right?
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:02:37] Sorry. I continue. You can just we'll dive into that. Go ahead.
RexBanner: [00:02:41] Joe. Well, with that in mind, I ended up doing a master's.
RexBanner: [00:02:43] At the RSC. So going from non-target to Super Target.
RexBanner: [00:02:47] Ended up focusing on.
RexBanner: [00:02:49] Economics and risk. When I was at the RSC and that's what opened up the broader finance world to me. So from there to.
RexBanner: [00:02:56] A couple of years, consulting.
RexBanner: [00:02:58] Cutting my analyst.
RexBanner: [00:02:58] Teeth and then moved over to VC. And I have been there for four years.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:03:03] Very interesting background anthropologist and venture capitalist. So let's go all the way back to the undergrad or the uni. Days before the Masters, you'd said you realize you didn't want to be a lawyer at some point, so what kind of triggered that? And then specifically, did you look into potentially a career in anthropology? There's probably some there are some careers, right. Like, you know, that need. Yes. Did you seriously consider doing any of that at any point? And sorry. And one last question. Was it three full years and that was it your uni was fast or do you do for.
RexBanner: [00:03:39] Those three.
RexBanner: [00:03:40] Years undergrad, which is the stat0 in the UK.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:03:42] And then you did the Masters.
RexBanner: [00:03:44] Which is pretty. Exactly.
RexBanner: [00:03:45] Okay. So so the first question is.
RexBanner: [00:03:49] Why did I decide not to become a lawyer?
RexBanner: [00:03:51] So I actually had a couple of internships.
RexBanner: [00:03:54] Whilst I was an anthropologist at law firms at some of the big US law firms based in.
RexBanner: [00:04:00] London and in Paris.
RexBanner: [00:04:02] And it was here where I realized exactly.
RexBanner: [00:04:04] What kind of work happens in law, which I well, firstly, I love.
RexBanner: [00:04:09] The lifestyle of law. I thought that was fantastic. I knew that this kind of corporate advisory kind of role is brilliant.
RexBanner: [00:04:16] And what I didn't enjoy so much.
RexBanner: [00:04:18] About law was the lack of dynamism to it, especially because at the same time I was kind of opening my eyes to finance and also did an internship within the corporate finance department of a small advisory house. And I was able to weigh up those two ideas against each other. So law firms, is small scale M&A.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:04:41] After your first year, which when did you do first law? Yeah. And then you kind of after your second year was the corporate finance.
RexBanner: [00:04:48] Exactly. And then just so I could go back to law firms and say I've tried something else as well, but I'm for sure I want to be a lawyer.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:04:56] But then you realize you're actually like the corporate finance stuff. Better.
RexBanner: [00:04:59] Exactly. That. Exactly that. No.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:05:01] At any point after that, where you immediately saying, uh oh, I kind of I don't know if this anthropology is going to help me. And were you nervous or you thought, it's okay? The structure of this allows me to kind of go go reset with the Masters.
RexBanner: [00:05:14] So I would say I was blindly ignorant rather than nervous or whatever they would.
RexBanner: [00:05:20] Be okay and managed to manifest it.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:05:22] As the majority is like that. Yeah. It'll all work out in the end. Doesn't matter if you start early or later in the meantime, like kids are getting recruited, at least here in the US their sophomore year. Their second year.
RexBanner: [00:05:36] Yeah. So this.
RexBanner: [00:05:37] Yeah.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:05:39] Like I've heard this, but I never went through it, so.
RexBanner: [00:05:41] Exactly.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:05:42] And did you ever consider investment banking that corporate finance, did it kind of open the idea of investment banking to you as well? Or was consulting always the the main goal here?
RexBanner: [00:05:51] So it was yes or no? Yes when I was at. So one of the big.
RexBanner: [00:05:57] Differences between coming.
RexBanner: [00:05:58] From non.
RexBanner: [00:06:00] Target camps to target LC is just the exposure you get to especially being based in London to all the different banks or different consulting houses.
RexBanner: [00:06:10] And I was I remember on.
RexBanner: [00:06:12] Careers that I was a bit like a.
RexBanner: [00:06:14] Kid in a candy.
RexBanner: [00:06:14] Shop where you've suddenly got all these huge brand names that you recognize coming at you and what is it that I want to do? And I threw my name into every single ring possible. So I did go through the M&A recruiting as well at the big investment banks. Didn't get very far with them, unfortunately, but I didn't have the right kind of background to be going into them. But definitely was something I did consider.
RexBanner: [00:06:39] Although probably.
RexBanner: [00:06:41] Not as seriously as the people and my friends who did actually end up going down that route.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:06:45] And so the transition from went to at LSC, it was that difficult and like how did you even get in? With an anthropologist. Do they accept a lot of anthropology degree people or do they like that kind of varied background? I mean, I assume it's.
RexBanner: [00:07:01] Probably quite.
RexBanner: [00:07:02] Lucky with this one. I applied.
RexBanner: [00:07:04] To one masters.
RexBanner: [00:07:06] And which happened to be this one at the NSA.
RexBanner: [00:07:09] It was a really small.
RexBanner: [00:07:10] Niche course I did. There were only 20, 20 or so of us on this course, and they really pushed the social science aspects of economy and risk and markets. So it was a bit.
RexBanner: [00:07:23] Of a blend of.
RexBanner: [00:07:24] Sociology, anthropology, economics, accounting. Just everything the NSA is known for really condensed into one very social science focused course. So anthropology was actually a bit of an asset for that. They got a lot harder going.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:07:40] To that specific niche within Lzzy. But then once you're in Lzzy, did you have this? Were you privy to the same career recruiting as anyone else in the finance?
RexBanner: [00:07:52] Exactly. Once you're in your have no one else to cause your day. It's just school day.
RexBanner: [00:07:57] And boy.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:07:57] Is it hard to get a lot of first round interviews. It sounds like you did get some interviews for M&A, even though you had the even though you were in this kind of niche social social studies type. It's a subset of LC. What was your what was your conversion rate like, how you said you put your hat in the ring for so many places? Was it like 30 places and how many.
RexBanner: [00:08:20] Other zero.
RexBanner: [00:08:21] Onto that there were?
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:08:23] You just went crazy, dropped your resume everywhere and said, we're going to interview with you.
RexBanner: [00:08:26] Exactly. Reaching out to as many different people as I could for coffees, for just.
RexBanner: [00:08:31] For anything, really.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:08:33] And so you did end up interviewing for like M&A.
RexBanner: [00:08:35] You did a date never at any of the big bulk brackets.
RexBanner: [00:08:38] I did a few of the smaller, more boutique places.
RexBanner: [00:08:42] I mean, looking back at it.
RexBanner: [00:08:43] Now, I, I wasn't fully prepped.
RexBanner: [00:08:46] For.
RexBanner: [00:08:46] That, was I?
RexBanner: [00:08:48] I think if you are going to go.
RexBanner: [00:08:50] Into everyday and you are at that.
RexBanner: [00:08:52] Position, if you like.
RexBanner: [00:08:52] You need to go all in. And I wasn't all in. I was still looking at consulting, I was still looking at whatever looked interesting to me.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:09:00] So what are their types of things? So obviously management consulting, that's where you ended up, banking M&A, like you said, anything else that was interesting, corporate finance roles, corporate development, anything like that?
RexBanner: [00:09:10] Yes. Yes. I looked at corp.
RexBanner: [00:09:12] Dev in house corporate strategy.
RexBanner: [00:09:15] Yeah. I was primarily focused in the.
RexBanner: [00:09:18] Financial services sector as a whole. So either consulting for that sector, working within groups or even going into, I guess in-house strategy orientated roles.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:09:31] And then so tell me how it went. So, like you said, 100 hundreds of applications. How many first round interviews like formal interviews, not coffee chats, but from formal first round interviews. Do you think
RexBanner: [00:09:43] That's a good question?
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:09:45] Like 2050?
RexBanner: [00:09:46] Yeah, let's say about about 2030 or so. 20, 20 or 30.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:09:51] So over what period of time? Like three months?
RexBanner: [00:09:55] Over about six, six months.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:09:58] Okay. So you weren't drowning in like one or two weeks or anything like that?
RexBanner: [00:10:02] No, no, no. It was all spread out. The other nice thing about doing the Masters, as I say as well, is it kind of puts you in this little hybrid position where.
RexBanner: [00:10:13] You are open for all the.
RexBanner: [00:10:15] Standard graduate schemes and analyst programs. But at the same time, because you're a little bit of a funny shape, you can try and go.
RexBanner: [00:10:24] For.
RexBanner: [00:10:25] I guess more than just in times of seasonal hiring as.
RexBanner: [00:10:28] Well.
RexBanner: [00:10:29] So that's where a lot of my interviews were coming from.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:10:32] They're like, We need somebody now, right?
RexBanner: [00:10:34] Exactly.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:10:35] Right. When you graduate. So is it pretty standard even to start working when you're in school?
RexBanner: [00:10:40] Yeah. So I had some.
RexBanner: [00:10:41] Friends who did do this.
RexBanner: [00:10:43] School year runs from we.
RexBanner: [00:10:45] Started in September, we graduated the following December, but then from around June there were no classes. You just supposed to be going out and writing your final dissertation, but that's the same time. The time when if you are going into an M&A analyst program, you would be starting. So I've got friends who wrote a dissertation whilst they.
RexBanner: [00:11:06] Were learning M&A, the bank.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:11:09] Also working 100 hour weeks at the bank.
RexBanner: [00:11:11] Exactly.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:11:12] Sounds pretty brutal.
RexBanner: [00:11:15] I mean, I'm not sure how much they cared about.
RexBanner: [00:11:17] Their dissertation at that point. Once they've reached a final goal.
RexBanner: [00:11:20] But yeah.
RexBanner: [00:11:21] Still pretty brutal.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:11:23] So you ended up with the very blue chip name of GWC Management Consulting role. Tell me about that process in terms of like the interviews, how those went versus some of the others. Was it did you click with one of the managers? Did you were you just more seasoned on the cases that allowed you to break through? What was it?
RexBanner: [00:11:41] So you see, I actually did.
RexBanner: [00:11:45] Join at a more.
RexBanner: [00:11:46] Senior position.
RexBanner: [00:11:47] I joined as a senior associate.
RexBanner: [00:11:49] Which was I.
RexBanner: [00:11:50] Guess the next band up from associate where the most grad.
RexBanner: [00:11:53] Student. And the reason.
RexBanner: [00:11:56] For this was again, the NSC. It was the research I did then as part of my final dissertation.
RexBanner: [00:12:03] Had to be on capital markets firms.
RexBanner: [00:12:06] And this was something which VC at the time were very interested in. So drafted me to come in a little bit more senior than I would have otherwise had I been coming in as a fresh grad and for the actual interview process. It was it was very.
RexBanner: [00:12:21] Typical consulting.
RexBanner: [00:12:23] Where they'll do it as a group interview kind of thing with other applicants. And we'll have to do individual case studies, then case studies, and then actually argue it out as a little circle and try and convince the others and the team to.
RexBanner: [00:12:38] Go with.
RexBanner: [00:12:39] One particular viewpoint. And then it ends with a final part in the meeting. So it's one long super day, essentially after you've done the telephone calls.
RexBanner: [00:12:48] And the initial.
RexBanner: [00:12:50] I guess easier to is.
RexBanner: [00:12:52] And yeah, this was the one where it.
RexBanner: [00:12:54] All just it just clicked. Really, this was it. I think I had a good indication when I left that day that yeah, it would probably be decent.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:13:04] Did you have other management consulting interviews prior to this that allowed you to be more polished in the group settings? Or was this like your first super day for the firm?
RexBanner: [00:13:15] No, I'd had consulting.
RexBanner: [00:13:16] Interviews.
RexBanner: [00:13:17] Before this as well.
RexBanner: [00:13:19] This was the first, I guess, actual super day for consulting where I was just a long.
RexBanner: [00:13:24] One hour afternoon.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:13:26] But how did you survive? What any tips specifically, specifically around the group settings? I feel like that's the most awkward.
RexBanner: [00:13:34] It can be, but at the same time, it's a great.
RexBanner: [00:13:37] Opportunity to.
RexBanner: [00:13:38] Just.
RexBanner: [00:13:38] Flex something as well. To try and flex that you are a little bit different.
RexBanner: [00:13:44] So. As long as you're saying something with conviction, really.
RexBanner: [00:13:49] And you can back it up, then go out there and say it. Don't worry, everyone else in the room thinks you're wrong. And if everyone else does think you're wrong.
RexBanner: [00:13:56] Then just go with the.
RexBanner: [00:13:57] Go with the tide of the mood, or so go with the mood of the room if you think you can still back it and back it. If you just.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:14:04] Did that.
RexBanner: [00:14:04] Happen to you.
RexBanner: [00:14:05] And be adaptable?
RexBanner: [00:14:07] It did a little bit, yeah.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:14:08] Can you tell us that or give us that example? I'm just curious how you would deal with that, because that sounds very stressful in an interview setting.
RexBanner: [00:14:14] So there are about.
RexBanner: [00:14:17] Five of us, I think, in the group and we sitting in the middle of the room, we had.
RexBanner: [00:14:22] Four.
RexBanner: [00:14:23] Appraisers in each corner.
RexBanner: [00:14:24] Who were.
RexBanner: [00:14:26] Taking their notes and we all had to argue for a particular thing. And I ended up with two of the guys in the room arguing out and myself and the other two people haven't been able to speak yet and we ended up running out of time. So just at the end it was me jumping in and saying, Ashley, why don't we consider this third option? Which wasn't my point to argue so. But that's what got points for being able to make myself heard when in a room, which is quite hard to make this up.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:15:00] So there was two people just basically arguing back and forth, back and forth, and there was two of you that had been silent the entire time.
RexBanner: [00:15:07] Yes.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:15:08] You have like a clock ticking in your head or you knew like you're running off.
RexBanner: [00:15:11] It is like, no, I know.
RexBanner: [00:15:12] I've got to say something. Yeah. Otherwise I'm going to get no points for this. And so, I mean, it started with us all being given a card and that card had an argument point on that and it said to you, this is the point you need to argue. And that's not the point. I ended up arguing at all. I just said a combination of those other two points, but I got pulled up for adaptability and flexibility on that one and I'll take it.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:15:40] That's great. That's great. So so yeah, I guess in the sense of if it's better to do something that's not explicit on the instructions of what you have to argue for, it's better to do something else and show some adaptability versus staying silent because you didn't get the opportunity.
RexBanner: [00:15:57] Yeah, I mean, I wouldn't say that the instructions.
RexBanner: [00:16:00] That's that doesn't.
RexBanner: [00:16:01] Sound like good advice to you, but if.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:16:04] You can.
RexBanner: [00:16:05] Follow better.
RexBanner: [00:16:05] Than exactly, don't be silent. Steal whatever it takes to not be silenced.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:16:09] Yeah, that's. That's got to be really tough, especially if you have some dominating personalities.
RexBanner: [00:16:13] Yeah. But at the same time.
RexBanner: [00:16:16] You know that if you are competing against.
RexBanner: [00:16:19] These guys, which I know they never say you are.
RexBanner: [00:16:22] Competing against the other guys, but you always know you are competing with the other guys in the room, with the other applicants only. They're only looking to 4 to 5 start to fill a few positions compared to how many applicants they're bringing in.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:16:36] So you had that. Was there any other kind of interesting dynamics that played out during the group sessions or during the individual case even? Any like good cop, bad cop, any people where they drilled you, you had to do a lot of mental math or anything like that.
RexBanner: [00:16:51] Yes, there.
RexBanner: [00:16:53] Was. So I remember.
RexBanner: [00:16:55] In one of the rounds.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:16:56] I love these stories. Sorry. I don't know. I think the lesson is like it sounds like boring for some people, but for me it's kind of like puts me back to it gives me flashbacks.
RexBanner: [00:17:07] But yeah, it feels like a long time ago now for me as well.
RexBanner: [00:17:10] I haven't really thinking back it.
RexBanner: [00:17:13] I guess the other only thing.
RexBanner: [00:17:14] Notes, which was me. But in my search, in my mouth.
RexBanner: [00:17:20] During one of.
RexBanner: [00:17:20] The earlier interviews where this was at the time where Barclays Bank was going through a big.
RexBanner: [00:17:27] Leadership change.
RexBanner: [00:17:28] Where they just brought in just his predecessor who would change the entire culture of the bank and particularly on the back of the LIBOR trade.
RexBanner: [00:17:37] Crisis or crisis.
RexBanner: [00:17:39] Is a very strong word. And people trading incidents.
RexBanner: [00:17:42] Yeah.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:17:45] So what happened there?
RexBanner: [00:17:46] And so I just made a very offhand comment mentioning this change in leadership.
RexBanner: [00:17:53] Just as an example of me keeping abreast of the news.
RexBanner: [00:17:56] Not.
RexBanner: [00:17:56] Realizing that the interview director at ABC had worked very closely with Barclays during this entire transition period and was setting a new culture. And her eyes suddenly lit up as soon as I mentioned Barclays Bank. And she really, really went in on it asking every single question. She is basically the history of the bank.
RexBanner: [00:18:22] Why I think.
RexBanner: [00:18:23] Jess Staley is the right option.
RexBanner: [00:18:26] Why?
RexBanner: [00:18:26] Why effectively?
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:18:29] How deep was your knowledge? Not not very deep. And you had to like how did you fumble through that or did you were you somewhat knowledgeable enough to make it through?
RexBanner: [00:18:37] I was able to regurgitate everything.
RexBanner: [00:18:39] I've read and the fk.
RexBanner: [00:18:40] That one.
RexBanner: [00:18:41] Which got me through it.
RexBanner: [00:18:44] So if we're.
RexBanner: [00:18:45] Bringing this back to you, good advice. Don't mention anything unless you could talk on it. Because if it's an interesting point, you will be caught up on it for sure.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:18:55] Yeah, it's super interesting. Yeah, that's great advice. Don't bring up anything in the news, anything about a specific company unless you're ready to go.
RexBanner: [00:19:02] Exactly.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:19:03] And go at least three or four more layers deep, right?
RexBanner: [00:19:06] Sure.
RexBanner: [00:19:07] That's cool. Headlines don't cut it down.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:19:09] You survived. You made it through the gauntlet. The gauntlet. And tell me like so at this point, was it later in the was it had you graduated? Were you working just on your thesis at this point? And so were you getting nervous or were you confident because you had enough first rounds going and second rounds going that you would land something?
RexBanner: [00:19:24] So this was.
RexBanner: [00:19:25] Actually a month or two after I graduated.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:19:28] So like late, late summer.
RexBanner: [00:19:32] No. This was in spring. I graduated in December.
Patrick (CEO of WSO):: [00:19:35] Oh, in December. You were fully graduate dissertation on everything. Were you nervous at this point because you didn't have a job? Or was this is this pretty normal to be recruiting after?
RexBanner: [00:19:47] It was nervy, for sure. It was nervy.
RexBanner: [00:19:52] Yeah, it was.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:19:53] You become damaged goods after you become damaged goods after a certain point. If you don't have a role, I guess is a better question.
RexBanner: [00:20:00] You know.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:20:01] Like six months if it's like.
RexBanner: [00:20:03] At the time, I.
RexBanner: [00:20:04] Definitely thought so. Like, it felt like there was a clock ticking above me. And every day where I didn't have a job felt like a failure, for sure. And especially because my friends at this point who had gone through, I guess, the traditional banking recruiting, they had been in that position.
RexBanner: [00:20:20] For.
RexBanner: [00:20:21] Almost a year at this point. Now, at least I was six.
RexBanner: [00:20:23] Months and.
RexBanner: [00:20:25] I was still living in my parents house trying to work out what.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:20:29] Did you have debt to?
RexBanner: [00:20:32] Um.
RexBanner: [00:20:33] Yes, but.
RexBanner: [00:20:35] Not.
RexBanner: [00:20:35] In the US sentence is the UK student that says I didn't have to pay her back at the time.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:20:43] And the baby hadn't started taking. I don't know so on that yet so you're so you're basically interviewing here was this TWC opportunity like was there other stuff going on around it at the same time? Because I think I think the dynamics of having other options obviously makes you a better interviewer because you're like not super desperate, right. In those.
RexBanner: [00:21:02] Situations. Exactly that. Yeah. That's something I noticed for sure as well is.
RexBanner: [00:21:07] The way in which.
RexBanner: [00:21:08] I interview when I was much more relaxed and.
RexBanner: [00:21:12] I don't want to say didn't care as much.
RexBanner: [00:21:15] But always had that mentality to it where.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:21:18] I'd have to have a little bit of it. You don't have.
RexBanner: [00:21:20] To.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:21:21] Be arrogant, you don't want to come across is like overly confident, but it's like it prevents you from getting overly nervous.
RexBanner: [00:21:28] Exactly.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:21:28] Which is like the key thing. It's like, can you settle yourself and perform? Yes, you can. Because you realize you have other at bats. And if this doesn't work out, it's not the end of the world.
RexBanner: [00:21:38] Exactly that.
RexBanner: [00:21:40] Going into interviews as a whole, I think I've always been oh, at the time I was always pretty confident as well because I knew. That of every single applicant. These guys are going to speak. No one else is going to have my story or my background, which is depressing. I can recognize at the time that there aren't many anthropologists who have ever become economists who then want to go in.
RexBanner: [00:22:05] So we go into these.
RexBanner: [00:22:06] Interviews knowing that no one had this same background that I had and knowing that I would be the only person these guys are speaking.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:22:15] To. How did you even prep for like you knew you were going to get the question of like, why? Why even be hereMy Bookmarks? Like what? You're an anthropology. Like, why would you be interested in finance? You had to have that down cold, I'm sure.
RexBanner: [00:22:26] Yes. I mean, that was it. Really.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:22:28] And how did you sell that?
RexBanner: [00:22:30] Well, I knew.
RexBanner: [00:22:30] Exactly why I wanted to be a and that this was a world I was genuinely really interested.
RexBanner: [00:22:36] In.
RexBanner: [00:22:37] And I had.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:22:38] Consulting. What was that answer? Why consultant? Why manage? Why strategy consulting?
RexBanner: : [00:22:44] So for.
RexBanner: [00:22:44] The why strategy consult.
RexBanner: [00:22:46] Was firstly.
RexBanner: [00:22:47] Bring you why I'm interested in this particular role. So that goes into the nature of the role itself, what it was doing, which as an answer showed that I'd done my research and I wasn't blindly applying with my eyes shots. I knew exactly what I wanted to do. And then what I would always do with these questions as well is then tackle. On why anthropology gives me an advantage for this as well.
RexBanner: [00:23:13] Which I still do.
RexBanner: [00:23:14] Wholeheartedly believe today. I think there should absolutely be more anthropologists in consulting and in tech and in banking. And as we think really, because a lot of these advisory roles, but they.
RexBanner: [00:23:26] All come.
RexBanner: [00:23:27] Down to at the end of the day is understanding humans and understanding the person at the other end of the table to you and what it is they want and how you can deliver it to them. Anthropology as a study is a study of students. I spent three years studying humans and cultures and how people operate and what people do and when it going into consulting, I would always make sure that I really. Drove down deep on that point there. This is why you should hire an anthropologist. Because all this other stuff, like. Formatting a slide deck or whatever. I can learn that in my first two weeks in my job actually standing humanity, but it took me three years to barely scratch the surface on that. But that's still a three year advantage, which I believe I had over other athletics.
RexBanner: [00:24:18] Hmm.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:24:18] Interesting. Yeah. So that, you know, I'd be curious if did anybody push back on that, saying, well, you're dealing with clients here and yes, you want to understand them. Did anybody push back on that? Because it's yet it's a good answer, right? It's a way to kind of link it. But the question is, is it a true significant advantage over somebody who say study? I don't know. What are some of the other major economics or something or economics? You're still understanding humans in the sense of incentives and stuff like that, right. So did anybody push you back? Push back on that? You know.
RexBanner: [00:24:49] So I never got much pushback. And I think one of the reasons.
RexBanner: [00:24:52] For that is.
RexBanner: [00:24:54] When I when I gave.
RexBanner: [00:24:56] My answer, I never tried to.
RexBanner: [00:24:58] Actually.
RexBanner: [00:24:59] Compare this.
RexBanner: [00:24:59] Against.
RexBanner: [00:25:00] This is better than economics in my head. I thought that, but I never said that. Instead, it was more just about boosting. Why anthropology is great.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:25:10] Yeah, and I think the most important thing there is. You believed it.
RexBanner: [00:25:13] Yes.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:25:14] And so is genuine. And so like that's hard to fake. And I think when that comes across, it comes across as confidence, it comes across as if this guy is a hard worker, he's going to figure it out, that type of thing. But I think at the junior levels, even a senior associate level, that's what's most important.
RexBanner: [00:25:30] Is.
RexBanner: [00:25:31] Absolutely I mean, I was 100% drinking my own Kool-Aid.
RexBanner: [00:25:35] Yeah.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:25:36] That's the best.
RexBanner: [00:25:37] You have to convince the story.
RexBanner: [00:25:38] Yeah.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:25:39] And then the it changes the delivery completely. So somebody who goes in memorizes answers of what they think the person wants to hear versus someone who comes in and actually believes their own their own story and really, genuinely is interested in the role. It's just a massive difference in delivery. It doesn't sound massive to somebody who's not paying attention. Right. It sounds like very subtle, but but in terms of how the people feel at the other side of the table, I think it's a big difference. That's my opinion.
RexBanner: [00:26:08] But I think you're.
RexBanner: [00:26:09] 100% right on that. I couldn't.
RexBanner: [00:26:11] Agree more. Really.
RexBanner: [00:26:12] When you are saying something with actual.
RexBanner: [00:26:14] Conviction.
RexBanner: [00:26:15] Then people will listen.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:26:17] Yeah, and I think you see that almost with maturity in age too. Like you see a lot of like freshmen and sophomores from what I in the me myself when I was interviewing initially versus interviewing after you've done 20 or 30 of.
RexBanner: [00:26:28] Them, like.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:26:30] After you've done so many, you kind of know your story, you know where to harp on you. So the conviction and the way you're delivering it, how genuine you can deliver it, it shifts versus the first few times you're a little more uncertain of like how everything's going to play into the room like that. So I think practice is just huge.
RexBanner: [00:26:49] It is, yeah.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:26:50] So let's let's keep going. So you're you're kind of. You get through the whole thing, you get the you get the offer. You have a good sense they call you that that evening or the following day.
RexBanner: [00:27:01] Yep. Following that, I think it was.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:27:03] And what was it? Just hey, we're going to bring you in a senior associate level or was it something you negotiated?
RexBanner: [00:27:09] So I actually interviewed for the senior associate role.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:27:12] Okay. So you're already interviewing it. So it's just like, hey, we're going to get an offer. Was it an immediate yes, I'll take it? Or was there any thought process of, hey, let me finish these other some other things going on?
RexBanner: [00:27:25] This was pretty immediate for me. I mean, at this.
RexBanner: [00:27:28] Point, I realized that now I am all in on consulting. So when I'm looking at investment banking, this was pretty early on in my masters and then realized I wasn't getting anywhere with this. And at the same time, why is I really want to be doing consulting you see a little bit more interesting to me.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:27:46] So tell me how how it started. You start right away within a few weeks or how did it work?
RexBanner: [00:27:52] So I started pretty much right away.
RexBanner: [00:27:55] I think there were a.
RexBanner: [00:27:56] Couple of weeks of signing all the papers and everything, and then first day I go into the.
RexBanner: [00:28:04] Office to pick up my badge and then straight out again my first projects of the day. And it was sent to the client side.
RexBanner: [00:28:12] To.
RexBanner: [00:28:13] Go meet my new team. And it was brilliant. It was a lot of fun, actually, just going in and having that camaraderie where everyone's around the same age and around that same kind of point in.
RexBanner: [00:28:27] Life and.
RexBanner: [00:28:28] Everyone's.
RexBanner: [00:28:29] Just there.
RexBanner: [00:28:30] On the same page with everything. I guess it work done and has a lot of fun while doing it.
RexBanner: [00:28:35] That's great. So it was.
RexBanner: [00:28:38] Some great deals, as I'm sure you're aware as well. Coming from the banking background. It wasn't too dissimilar to that.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:28:45] But over 80 hours a week, you say or 70 ish?
RexBanner: [00:28:49] Yeah. I mean, when it got pretty.
RexBanner: [00:28:51] Hectic, it would be around the 80 plus.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:28:55] And where they were. They fly you out of London. Were you driving? Was it local clients? Clients, international.
RexBanner: [00:28:59] Those UK.
RexBanner: [00:29:00] Was beginning to.
RexBanner: [00:29:01] Train up around around.
RexBanner: [00:29:03] The UK.
RexBanner: [00:29:04] Okay.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:29:05] So not too bad. Not too much flying.
RexBanner: [00:29:07] No, no, no flying at all. Unfortunately, up.
RexBanner: [00:29:10] Down the miles. But benefits whatever they're worth.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:29:14] Very cool. Okay, so you're you're doing that. You're there for a few years. How many engagements? What was it like? How was the progression as from the first that first engagement through to the last, what would you say?
RexBanner: [00:29:26] The first one was a real trial by fire, just coming in and expecting to know how to be a consultant at a senior associate level.
RexBanner: [00:29:38] And it was so it's a tricky one to say whether it is better to go in more senior allocated or.
RexBanner: [00:29:45] Whether it is better to go in as that fresh grad with all the other grads.
RexBanner: [00:29:50] So go.
RexBanner: [00:29:51] Again. We'll see. Yeah, definitely. It definitely suited the ego at the time and it felt really good to say, but at the same time it was a lot harder.
RexBanner: [00:30:02] To.
RexBanner: [00:30:03] Have to then go back and retroactively learn the core consulting skills which are taught to grads but not taught to senior associates to say, Assume you already have them.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:30:15] There is no training for, you know, not thrown into the client pool. So who was senior to you that was helping guide you? I assume there was somebody.
RexBanner: [00:30:25] Yes.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:30:25] So like the senior person at the client.
RexBanner: [00:30:27] No.
RexBanner: [00:30:28] No, no, no, no.
RexBanner: [00:30:29] We had we.
RexBanner: [00:30:30] Had a it was quite a big project. We had a couple of parties involved, direct CV manages the.
RexBanner: [00:30:36] Whole whole.
RexBanner: [00:30:38] Stack. So I was still relatively junior, but I had a great team around me and they really supported me, really helped me out.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:30:46] So what was the biggest what was the steepest learning curve? Just learning how to be like a wizard and PowerPoint.
RexBanner: [00:30:51] Or Excel everything all at the same time. So those be that PowerPoint wizard. That Excel wizard. How to talk to.
RexBanner: [00:30:58] Clients, even how to fill in.
RexBanner: [00:31:00] A timesheet and the real basic stuff. And just having all this thrown at you and they want to learn it all. As there are no training wheels, that's all you're playing with live ammunition.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:31:10] So it's week four. Are you thinking, I'm going to get fired? This is just impossible. I don't know what I'm doing? Or are you thinking like you're doing okay?
RexBanner: [00:31:17] I'm thinking I'm doing okay. I'm thinking I'm keeping my head.
RexBanner: [00:31:20] Above the surface and again, Grace even around me. So I felt like I was on the team with pressure. I always felt like if I didn't know something then.
RexBanner: [00:31:29] And you were we.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:31:30] Were putting in long hours. You were showing effort.
RexBanner: [00:31:33] Yes. Yeah.
RexBanner: [00:31:35] Exactly.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:31:36] You were getting better probably every day significantly.
RexBanner: [00:31:40] It's the best way to learn.
RexBanner: [00:31:41] I.
RexBanner: [00:31:41] Think. Yeah. Playing with live ammo. Exactly.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:31:45] Exactly. So you're kind of going in. How did things evolve? Kind of. So that first one was really tough, but you learned a lot. How about that second engagement and then going forward through those first two years?
RexBanner: [00:31:57] So second engagement.
RexBanner: [00:31:59] Was a.
RexBanner: [00:31:59] Long term one. Actually.
RexBanner: [00:32:02] It was about six.
RexBanner: [00:32:03] Seven months and. It was based on a.
RexBanner: [00:32:08] Client site.
RexBanner: [00:32:09] Around.
RexBanner: [00:32:10] 4 hours out of London. So staying at a hotel sends less. This is what I called a real consulting life, getting a real taste.
RexBanner: [00:32:18] Firm.
RexBanner: [00:32:18] And again, big team, great team to be.
RexBanner: [00:32:22] On.
RexBanner: [00:32:23] Long hours, but everyone's doing the long hours together and even looking back at it now. So one of my favorite memories from D.C. were at around 10:00 in the evening, once everyone above manager level had gone home for the night and it was just the last couple of hours of the day would be just us for junior people there having a lot of.
RexBanner: [00:32:41] Fun.
RexBanner: [00:32:42] Getting. I figured in getting the work done, but at the same time the atmosphere completely changes and you got that real sense of camaraderie, of doing it together.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:32:51] That's cool. That's cool. And so what made you think venture capital when the VC bug hit you?
RexBanner: [00:32:59] So I realized about a year into.
RexBanner: [00:33:02] My consulting career that I love this work and this has been a great place for me to start my.
RexBanner: [00:33:08] Career, but.
RexBanner: [00:33:10] I can't really see myself doing it for a long time.
RexBanner: [00:33:14] It just. It just always.
RexBanner: [00:33:17] Felt like there was that little piece missing where consultants, one of the big selling points.
RexBanner: [00:33:22] Is.
RexBanner: [00:33:23] You go in, you add value, and then you leave. Which is what really sold me on the idea as well. But then in reality, the nature of consulting projects is that you go in and you add value. It's you go in, you make a nice PowerPoint presentation, you make a few recommendations.
RexBanner: [00:33:41] But you're not really part of the building of your.
RexBanner: [00:33:44] Clients. They're just there for that snapshot in time, and then you're gone.
RexBanner: [00:33:49] And I found that to be just a little bit too.
RexBanner: [00:33:52] Unsatisfying for me. I always felt like I wanted to do a little bit more. And the obvious answer for this first was P, because if you're going in and you're buying out the entirety of a company, then you are building it up. And then that's exactly that really adding value point that I thought I was missing and consulting first. I looked all in on P so I don't really buy out.
RexBanner: [00:34:19] And I actually ended up getting an offer.
RexBanner: [00:34:22] To go join one of.
RexBanner: [00:34:23] The big megaphones.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:34:26] That's impressive. From a consulting background. It's not easy.
RexBanner: [00:34:29] Yes.
RexBanner: [00:34:29] No, that wasn't this was actually going to be based in their India office in Mumbai. So I had a bit of the. Ethnic connection, which helps to help to go for that one.
RexBanner: [00:34:44] But I realized.
RexBanner: [00:34:46] Right at the end of that process that this isn't right for me. So and it was a this was a lot harder to turn down this job than it was to accept VC over other jobs. Just because I thought I was making a horrendous mistake to be able to turn it down. But I knew that. This kind of financial engineering.
RexBanner: [00:35:07] Work.
RexBanner: [00:35:09] Isn't suited to my.
RexBanner: [00:35:10] Background going.
RexBanner: [00:35:11] In. It isn't suited to what I really want to be doing. It's just isn't going to be the right role for me. So I turned it down. Felt pretty sick for the week after turning it down, thinking I've made a horrendous mistake. But pretty soon after I then discovered the VC world, which was almost completely by accident. I knew what VC was. As in the dictionary.
RexBanner: [00:35:34] Definition of VC.
RexBanner: [00:35:35] I didn't understand how it operated or how it works, but as soon as I started reading a lot more about this, trying to immerse myself more into this world, then that was everything working for me.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:35:47] This is kind of yeah. What's interesting he said about private equity before we go on to VC is you were talking about like with consulting, you wanted more, you wanted to be involved in the operations, all that stuff and private equity. While there are growth operation oriented PE funds, a lot of them do more of the financial engineering. And there you're doing portfolio company monitoring and you help the CFOs and do all that stuff. But again, it's you're not day to day like involved in the operations.
RexBanner: [00:36:13] Exactly that.
RexBanner: [00:36:14] And the way you.
RexBanner: [00:36:15] Look at investments as well is very different in VC. We'll look at the team in particular. If you look at the numbers, a level.
RexBanner: [00:36:24] Yeah.
RexBanner: [00:36:25] It's a different lens.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:36:26] Totally. Yeah. So you're so you're kind of coming in realizing, well, maybe this venture capital thing is interesting.
RexBanner: [00:36:32] Yeah.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:36:33] Before we even jump there, can you talk a little bit about just how comp progressed? You'd have to give me like exact pay, but just like in terms of ranges, how things have progressed as a senior associate in London. We're out of London. And then with that private equity offer, was that you turned down? Was it a big pay raise that you turned down? And is that what made you sick or was it more just because the name was so strong?
RexBanner: [00:36:54] No.
RexBanner: [00:36:55] So it would be going to the Mumbai office. So actually it would have been a pay cut.
RexBanner: [00:36:59] How big a how big of a pay cut?
RexBanner: [00:37:01] Oh, a decent amount. Members of my head now.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:37:04] 30% or something like.
RexBanner: [00:37:05] That around that.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:37:07] And then so you were making around what like a I don't even know as a senior associate, £100,000.
RexBanner: [00:37:15] Or something like that or.
RexBanner: [00:37:15] No, no. It's unfortunately we're not consider us levels in London.
RexBanner: [00:37:23] So it's about on par with.
RexBanner: [00:37:27] What, a first year investment banking analyst basis.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:37:31] Um. Okay, so what is that, like, around 70 ish?
RexBanner: [00:37:34] Yeah.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:37:35] So. And that's all in for senior associates.
RexBanner: [00:37:39] Okay. Yeah. So.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:37:40] And then that's like. So you're making good money. Was money at all factor in terms of what you want to do next or you felt like very comfortable what you were making?
RexBanner: [00:37:52] I mean, it was a factor in the.
RexBanner: [00:37:53] Sense that I want to end my career.
RexBanner: [00:37:55] In a.
RexBanner: [00:37:57] World where.
RexBanner: [00:37:58] Which has good prospects.
RexBanner: [00:38:01] So hopefully one where I can be a bit.
RexBanner: [00:38:03] More.
RexBanner: [00:38:04] Responsible for what I eat.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:38:05] Yeah, well, private equity would have done that, right? Private equity?
RexBanner: [00:38:09] Yeah, 100% it would have. But I guess the most important thing for me for my next step was one, actually. Finding something which I really loved doing and to finding something which I could see myself doing for a long time as well, which didn't hit those boxes for me. It wasn't what I would have loved it.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:38:32] Yeah. And so how did you just so you said by accident, you discover the VC world. How is that?
RexBanner: [00:38:38] When I was consulting we, I was working with one of the big.
RexBanner: [00:38:45] Bulge bracket banks. They had a.
RexBanner: [00:38:49] Huge.
RexBanner: [00:38:49] Amount of data they were collecting. They wanted a way to monetize that data. And one of the ways in which they were doing that were looking at third party solutions, which included some pretty young and exciting startups in London at the time. And this just blew my mind how what was effectively in my head, two guys in the garage going to this bike racket and selling them a huge contract just for this really cool bit of software that built. And I thought that was the coolest thing ever.
RexBanner: [00:39:23] And then I started reading up more.
RexBanner: [00:39:25] On this discovered the BK World a bit more. It was just one of the of which I gravitated.
RexBanner: [00:39:31] Towards having.
RexBanner: [00:39:33] Had my interest in PE. And then that was it that opened the door. And I haven't looked back since. It just became a mission to. Get into this world somehow from TWC, no matter how long it takes.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:39:46] How about now? Is about halfway through your time at GWC? So you were already there for a year when you finally said, Oh, I want to get to B.C. so tell me about that path and that journey to eventually make the jump.
RexBanner: [00:39:57] So at the.
RexBanner: [00:39:58] Time this was back.
RexBanner: [00:39:59] In 2017. 2018 where.
RexBanner: [00:40:03] Vc worlds was.
RexBanner: [00:40:05] Definitely had grown in London at this.
RexBanner: [00:40:07] Point, but it was a lot smaller than what it is now. It was still very insular, very interconnected, where if you're in the VC circle, everyone knows if you're out of the VC circle, then it's very hard to break in. So that's how I always looked at it as VC is in a circle or it was at the time, and how do I get into the centre of that had I become a player, even though I'm not working in phones?
RexBanner: [00:40:33] So for me.
RexBanner: [00:40:34] That was just a case of, okay, well, I'm going to go to every single VC event. I can see the advertise in London and hopefully I'll get seeing the same faces there over and over again. I'm going to read up everything I can, every single news source I account, all these different startups. I want to actually get to know what it is they do, how it is they're getting from this. And lastly, I want to actually be able to show that I have this understanding in some kind of way. So I started a blog as well on the VC space, which was a really useful exercise, both in terms of my own.
RexBanner: [00:41:08] Personal learning of.
RexBanner: [00:41:09] What this space involves, but also when I was in front of actual VCs, I could have something to talk about. At least I had an opinion. I knew what was happening within the industry and this was a great way of keeping me sharp on that.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:41:24] Very cool. So you're actually putting in extra hours on top of your job doing this. There's a blog on the site, which is a lot of work, but you're passionate about it. So how were you? I guess doing this research is just all desktop research from googling and reading other smart voices and their opinions and then, you know, doing other research and then having an opinion, putting it out there. Tell me about how you got into the actual interview process for some of these or how did you start applying for them?
RexBanner: [00:41:56] So this one, this particular role was.
RexBanner: [00:41:59] Chairman now was actually a.
RexBanner: [00:42:00] Recruiter.
RexBanner: [00:42:02] For one of the big London front office recruiters. It covers the banking, DC asset management, hedge funds, everything.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:42:12] Had you been in touch with recruiters saying tell them specifically you were looking for VC roles?
RexBanner: [00:42:16] Yes. Yeah.
RexBanner: [00:42:19] Everything which I saw on links in VC in London, it was like I was back at school again trying to get my house into the ring. Except this time I was doing it a lot more tailored, a lot more laser focused as well. So I knew exactly what I wanted to do. Yeah, that I wasn't just a generic grad anymore. Everyone's got a very similar kind of backgrounds. I was actually going into this a little bit more teaming.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:42:43] And so when you tell me how you would approach it, when you saw a posting on LinkedIn for a VC role, would you drop your resume through there and then that would be it? Or would you do other stuff?
RexBanner: [00:42:52] Drop the resume.
RexBanner: [00:42:53] Typically write a cover letter as well. See if someone in my network.
RexBanner: [00:42:58] Because I'd be.
RexBanner: [00:42:59] Going to these VC events as well. So I've got a couple of different funds.
RexBanner: [00:43:03] Not a.
RexBanner: [00:43:03] Lot by any means, but if it happened to be a connection of one of my connections, I might reach out to them as well and see if they can put a good word in for.
RexBanner: [00:43:11] Me. But there weren't a lot of VC.
RexBanner: [00:43:15] Roles going at the time. Back then I could come across, so sometimes there'd be a week where I hadn't applied to anything.
RexBanner: [00:43:23] Just because.
RexBanner: [00:43:25] Nothing get turned up. And so that would be a week spent actually trying.
RexBanner: [00:43:29] To.
RexBanner: [00:43:30] Go read some more research, some.
RexBanner: [00:43:31] More suitable.
RexBanner: [00:43:32] My blog.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:43:33] Were you were you.
RexBanner: [00:43:34] Doing proactive.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:43:36] Proactive networking of people in the space I besides besides the conferences, were you doing just like coffee chats and calls and stuff like.
RexBanner: [00:43:43] That as well? Yes, I.
RexBanner: [00:43:45] Was trying to. So I was trying to do that through my network in particular.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:43:50] How were you building your network or is that just from that was from the GWC, from the LSC network?
RexBanner: [00:43:56] Both. I mean, lovely.
RexBanner: [00:43:58] Thing about both those places is people tend to be there for a few years and then they go on to go and do something. Completely different. And what that means.
RexBanner: [00:44:09] Is.
RexBanner: [00:44:10] If you can stay in contact with those people, which was easy for me because a lot of the people are my friends. So I've been up for these late nights with them trenches and have a lot of fun.
RexBanner: [00:44:19] With.
RexBanner: [00:44:20] And you never know where these people are going to end up. And people love people's connections, just spiral outwards. It's the best way for.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:44:27] And so did that help you at all with this, the role you ended up taking? It didn't. That was just pure recruiter and so. Exactly. Tell me about that. Tell me what that process. So like, how did your what did your resume even look like or your CV look like given that you were consulting? How did you make it look? Vc. Obviously your blog. Obviously the conferences you attended, I assume you've got that on there. But anything else like anything about accelerators or anything that made you kind of like stand out to them that they would even bother?
RexBanner: [00:44:57] So one of my really good friends.
RexBanner: [00:44:59] From NASA had joined the both rocket banking roots and then into a hedge fund. So he was well versed with the whole deal space, which was something I was missing in consulting. So I actually got him to help me rewrite my CV as a banker would realize the CV actually using the templates.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:45:21] Which oh, the deal, the deal transactions or whatever.
RexBanner: [00:45:24] You call them, engagements or whatever exactly that.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:45:27] So you looked more like a banker.
RexBanner: [00:45:30] Yeah. Which wasn't necessarily a good thing for VC.
RexBanner: [00:45:35] Because you don't have to be a banker to get into VC by any means. Some of the best VC these haven't come from this environment at all.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:45:43] Yeah.
RexBanner: [00:45:45] It was helpful for me in just framing the work I had done to be a bit more deal relevant. So even when I had worked on M&A engagements, the way in which consultants talk about M&A engagements is very different to the way in which actual deal makers talk about M&A engagements because you've both seen completely different sides of it. So it was just about changing that lens on it.
RexBanner: [00:46:07] Interesting.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:46:10] Interesting. Yeah. So you feel like that helped maybe get you the interview or helped you in the in the interview itself? Kind of frame it as a deal. As a deal, even though it was just an engagement.
RexBanner: [00:46:20] Yeah, exactly.
RexBanner: [00:46:21] That. Yeah.
RexBanner: [00:46:23] I was thinking about it at this point.
RexBanner: [00:46:24] As well is.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:46:26] And so what were the interviews like? What was the process of another couple of rounds and then a super day or how did it work?
RexBanner: [00:46:32] So first round.
RexBanner: [00:46:34] Was a virtual.
RexBanner: [00:46:34] Modeling test.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:46:36] Um. Privacy. Really?
RexBanner: [00:46:38] Yeah. A very simple VC model. And I was doing it injustice, the term modelling for this modelling, but it was just building out a cap table over time with different scenarios coming in. Then a very.
RexBanner: [00:46:51] Simple one as well. And.
RexBanner: [00:46:56] So that was all online via Skype at the.
RexBanner: [00:46:59] Time we had them and.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:47:02] They record you while you're doing it.
RexBanner: [00:47:04] No. It was just myself in front of the partner. Just doing what?
RexBanner: [00:47:08] Yeah, very, very stressful. So I to do Excel work.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:47:13] You're just sharing your screen.
RexBanner: [00:47:14] You're the webcam. Sharing the screen? Yeah.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:47:19] Wow. I love that. So even though it's simple, it's like, can he even find him? Find his way around, excel? Kind of thing?
RexBanner: [00:47:26] Yeah. I had a nightmare.
RexBanner: [00:47:28] With this because.
RexBanner: [00:47:31] I was working on my Mac at the time. Yeah.
RexBanner: [00:47:36] Three different Excel shortcuts, which I hadn't. I hadn't considered beforehand.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:47:42] Little tip to people.
RexBanner: [00:47:43] Who tip to.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:47:45] People who are interviewing with a mac. If your computer is a PC and you have to do an interview or any sort of modeling test on your Mac, make sure you get parallels and you make sure you get a PC keyboard before doing that. You can run.
RexBanner: [00:47:57] An.
RexBanner: [00:47:58] Episode.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:47:59] Like Parallels for a couple hundred bucks, but it allows it to run the Excel, the PC version of Excel, if that's what you're used to. And then actually you can plug in your A PC keyboard into the Mac at the same time it does work.
RexBanner: [00:48:12] Yeah.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:48:12] You can get that for 20 bucks.
RexBanner: [00:48:14] Exactly what I did.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:48:18] The reason I know that is because for our financial modeling courses, a lot of people like for Mac were like, don't even bother like drilling on the Mac, learn it in the PC because that's what you're going to be. That's how you play the instrument like.
RexBanner: [00:48:31] Yeah.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:48:32] So we tell people like get parallels, get it $20 keyboard, a PC keyboard and plug it into your mac if you want to get a whole new computer.
RexBanner: [00:48:39] Yeah. If you say.
RexBanner: [00:48:40] One thing.
RexBanner: [00:48:41] Away from this podcast, then that's the thing to say.
RexBanner: [00:48:43] It.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:48:44] Just so you had a complete nightmare. So you had to do that on a mac excel mac and you survived.
RexBanner: [00:48:51] I survived just.
RexBanner: [00:48:52] About I mean, I didn't do a very good job of it, but I can't.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:48:55] Did you say something like, oh, this is a mac? Like, I'm not used to this? Or Did you say something during the test?
RexBanner: [00:49:01] I did. I did. And it was just me trying to effectively scramble up my basis.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:49:06] Are you using your mouse everywhere like you could do it?
RexBanner: [00:49:09] Yep, I'm using my mouse. I had a piece of paper and a pen.
RexBanner: [00:49:12] Off screen as well. This is what we're working on.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:49:19] Okay. So this model, was it more like a just a simple projection model, take revenue?
RexBanner: [00:49:25] No, it was just a cap table.
RexBanner: [00:49:27] Just like the table at first. And then this person is coming in for 2 million at the next round at this price. What's the cap table like them? How is dilution?
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:49:39] So dilution. Yeah, you're just doing like simple formulas of like, oh, there's additional shares coming in. How does that dilute everybody else? What's the new ownership percentage.
RexBanner: [00:49:47] And then.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:49:48] The payouts?
RexBanner: [00:49:48] This what is super simple.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:49:49] What does a waterfall look like at the end? Like, what's.
RexBanner: [00:49:51] The payback for that? Yeah.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:49:54] Got it. Yeah, that's not complicated. But I could see how they'd be super stressful if you were fumbling around, so. And then how has it been? How has the transition been from from consulting to VC? Is it I assume the pay I assume it was a pay cut as well or around the same.
RexBanner: [00:50:11] No, no, this was actually a small pay rise. Great. That's awesome.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:50:16] Because sometimes VC like when you come in at the ground level, they don't care about your title, where you come from. Sometimes it can be really low pay.
RexBanner: [00:50:22] It can be. So the way in which VC.
RexBanner: [00:50:27] Pay works as well is very different to pay. Now, this isn't a bonus driven culture at all, and because of that, the end of the year, the stage I'm out of my career, I am typically taking home less than my friends in banking or my friends in PE. You do have this bonus driven culture. Pe The way to really make the money is.
RexBanner: [00:50:47] With carry more than anything.
RexBanner: [00:50:49] Else, which I'm a big believer. That's the way in which VCs should make money. It should be off the 20, not the.
RexBanner: [00:50:55] To 100% and carry.
RexBanner: [00:51:00] Depends on the fund as to who gets it. So very traditional funds, it will be reserved just for the GP's and the partners.
RexBanner: [00:51:08] Yeah. Some of the.
RexBanner: [00:51:09] More modern funds you might find carry flowing all the way down to this level. But typically the people are making.
RexBanner: [00:51:18] The most successful.
RexBanner: [00:51:19] Vcs will be the partners who are benefiting from Kerry more than anything else.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:51:25] Yeah. Kari being the it's like the performance 20% over and above.
RexBanner: [00:51:30] Yes.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:51:31] If you make.
RexBanner: [00:51:31] So.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:51:33] Are you able to share a little bit? Are you are you able to share like whether you have Kari or you don't have to share it.
RexBanner: [00:51:40] So I'm in a very.
RexBanner: [00:51:41] Traditional.
RexBanner: [00:51:42] Purist fund.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:51:44] Where it's at the top.
RexBanner: [00:51:45] Yeah.
RexBanner: [00:51:47] Which I knew that coming in anyway. And I wanted to join a very purist traditional fund just because I've got a, I've got a very romanticized and what would be seen is and.
RexBanner: [00:51:58] Should be in.
RexBanner: [00:51:59] My head. And this is a fund which is doing things that way.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:52:03] And do you feel like how has your day to day shifted? Because you're not at clients nights, you're not trout, maybe you are still traveling, you're going to conferences, you're meeting startups, you're trying to travel.
RexBanner: [00:52:14] More travel. Yeah.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:52:16] And like, what's the where are you going to conferences or are you going to like. Are you looking at.
RexBanner: [00:52:21] Like, amazing companies meeting other funds?
RexBanner: [00:52:26] Whatever is about, really, it's a very.
RexBanner: [00:52:28] Nomadic.
RexBanner: [00:52:29] Lifestyle. It's a very nomadic job. There's a lot less structure compared to consulting.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:52:34] Yeah. Yeah. It's hard. I wonder how they how VC funds. Not not just yours, but like how they. How do they measure performance? Because to me, it's a little bit softer and fuzzier. Right. Any tips on that? Like in terms of how to make a good impression as a VC, junior VC associate at a fund?
RexBanner: [00:52:54] Just throw your hat into everything.
RexBanner: [00:52:55] Really get involved with as.
RexBanner: [00:52:57] Much as.
RexBanner: [00:52:58] You possibly can. I mean.
RexBanner: [00:52:59] Vc really is an apprenticeship.
RexBanner: [00:53:01] Business.
RexBanner: [00:53:02] Where.
RexBanner: [00:53:03] You learn.
RexBanner: [00:53:04] From the people who've done it for you.
RexBanner: [00:53:05] And the people who've done it well. So if you go in with that attitude to learn to get involved with as much as you can, then that's the way to become a good VC. I think it's just to learn as much as you can. No one's going to be expecting you to be crushing deals.
RexBanner: [00:53:20] From.
RexBanner: [00:53:21] Day one.
RexBanner: [00:53:22] Or to.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:53:23] A multi-billion.
RexBanner: [00:53:23] Dollar. Yeah.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:53:26] Exactly. So I guess looking back at your path so far, any anthropology to VC. Any final words of wisdom before we call the pod that you would like to leave the audience with?
RexBanner: [00:53:40] So I came from a very non-traditional, non-standard.
RexBanner: [00:53:45] Background coming into all this. And along the way I've always felt like that is my biggest asset and that I can. I've had a very unique experience and I've been able to experience things that a lot of my contemporaries haven't been able to experience because I've.
RexBanner: [00:54:02] Come from this.
RexBanner: [00:54:04] Very unique background.
RexBanner: [00:54:06] So if I were to leave one.
RexBanner: [00:54:07] Word of wisdom other than the use of Windows Keyboard or Mac points, then it would.
RexBanner: [00:54:14] Be. Don't shy away from.
RexBanner: [00:54:17] Walking the uncommon path because it's walking that uncommon path which take you to the most exciting places. So don't feel like you do need to be a target. 4.0 GPA The guys.
RexBanner: [00:54:30] Who get into.
RexBanner: [00:54:32] These kind of careers, it does make your life a little bit easier, but at the same time, it doesn't make your life.
RexBanner: [00:54:37] As fun.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:54:39] Love it. And on that, thanks so much for spending the time.
RexBanner: [00:54:44] No problem. Thank you for having me.
Patrick (CEO of WSO): [00:54:45] And thanks to you, my listeners at Wall Street Oasis. If you have any suggestions whatsoever, please don't hesitate to send them my way. Patrick at Wall Street, Oasis. And till next time.