Two roads diverged in a wood, and I- I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference. Robert Frost Title summarizes the road I've traveled… consultant → intelligence community/SEAL Teams/Special Operations → director of research at a well known hedge fund → tech executive at successful growth company → entrepreneur. I love challenges. I love the non-obvious. I still haven't figured it all out and keep looking for answers. I don't think you find them by standing in the same place. I'm not going to mention specific names or companies here (and ask you to do the same), but I
06 Jan 2022
My wife held positions at different tech companies (from early-stage to ipo) and is currently a senior recruiter at google. While on maternity leave, she helped 3 former colleagues of mine transition from IB into tech. One as cfo at a series a funded e-mobility startup, another as director m&a at a unicorn fintech (pivate) and the third took on a strategy role at netflix. Her process was: 1. defining the search scope based on a personality assessment & individual goals (she holds a phd in org psychology) 2. intros to decision makers, help with applications, navigating the selection process &
16 Dec 2021
Long time member of WSO here, I just created a new username for this post. I'm a former investment banking analyst at a bulge bracket in NYC. I've been pursuing my real estate tech startup, Zenly, for almost a year and will be launching it in a few weeks. I co-founded Zenly to address the nightmare of apartment hunting that we've all experienced. Zenly is the first online marketplace for apartment rentals in NYC. You can browse real listings with video walkthroughs, visit on your own schedule, and apply online without a broker to save thousands of dollars in fees. Hopefully I can help out my
16 Sep 2020
Hi everyone, I currently work at one of the tiger cub spin offs (D1 Capital/Anomaly Capital) and was wondering if I could get career advice from anyone of the older audience on here. I was able to join one of these funds at the ground floor. I'm currently an analyst and have a clear path forward towards being a PM. I recognize how lucky I've been in my career, but I also recognize that I'm not necessarily happy either. I don't like having to live in New York, the work itself is boring at this point, and the thought of doing this another 15 years just doesn't excite me. I recently received an
27 May 2021
I started a company my senior year of college in the CPG food space. Long story short is we spent a lot of time and money in R&D and by the time we launched Covid-19 hit and everything went downhill from there. My startup was largely unsuccessful from a sales standpoint, however we did accomplish quite a bit and it is a very sellable story. I'm very interested in getting into VC, specifically a firm with an Ag-Tech focus because I know the space. I have a finance degree from a non-target and a not-so impressive GPA. Is it possible to freshen up on my modeling skills and recruit for VC analyst
20 Aug 2020
Hey guys, In a nutshell, this is my dilemma, I'm on a road to what I've unfortunately grown to see as a golden cage and I'm not sure if it's what I really want out of my career and life. For background, I'm a twenty-something working at a wealth management practice on the west coast. Over the last few decades, my dad has worked very hard to establish a $500M+ AUM practice that generates a few million a year in revenue. For as long as I can remember, he has wanted me to go into business with him and eventually take over the practice. The plan was simple. I finish up school with a high GPA and
17 Jun 2021
So I've been in the industry for about a decade and have established relationships internally with colleagues over that period, while my client relationships are almost as old. Now that I'm senior and my partner and I went independent and started our own boutique a while ago, my work hours have diminished and I've gotten time to focus on side projects. One such side project is a fintech startup (not blockchain) that is getting off the ground and so far doing well. Some details that I think are important: 1. It is only very tangentially related to my day job. 2. It's relatively low cost for now
14 Jun 2021
Hi all, I've been working at a T2.5 consulting firm for the past 3 years and have been thinking to start my own venture at some point. In parallel, I've also received an invitation to interview at an MBB (from pre-covid time that are re-starting). Therefore, I'd be curious to have your opinion on the value of going through a few years at an MBB before diving into entrepreneurship? I have read a few things such as: Safety net in case things don't pan out? Easier to attract partners/future hires? Easier to attract funding? Transferrable skills? If you have experienced it and can confirm/refute
08 Dec 2020
I am working on a start up with some friends and am trying to model out a scenario for our cap table. Let's say we are taking in investment for the first time ever and that we are raising at a $10M valuation and are offering 20% equity for $2M in capital. Let's assume our valuation doubles in 12 months to $20M and we want to raise an additional $2M of capital but didn't want to dilute the early investors. Can we simply offer the second round investor capital from our 80% stake and retain the early investor's equity position without dilution? Does this ever happen in practice?
11 Oct 2021
Over the last year/two years myself and two partners built a startup in California. Raising several million in capital and now operational. This has started a fire in me to want to refocus to a career in the financial world. I do not have my bachelors. I dropped out of college while studying History in England to start this venture. I have what is essentially a UK associates degree but I am able to apply for some postgrad programs with it and my work experience. What advice can you give me? What I have come up with so far are two options; 1. Get a postgrad in management from LSE online 2. Get
12 Apr 2020
Hello. New user is here. Quick background: two friends (one is a CEO of a large telco Company and the other is a Ph.D. in Physics) are about to start a small trading shop. Have algorithms (developed/ tested/ deployed) that are currently running on TS (plan to move to NInja) utilizing 1 sec data for futures trading (YM currently). Algos are pretty stable and several ppl are willing to invest with us (mostly HNW). Question: what kind of mistakes we can make if we start that trading as an LLC, owned by us (the majority stakeholders) and several other ppl (minority stakeholders). We plan to rise /
30 May 2018
Need some career advice. I am considering leaving my quant role for a startup. I have 2+ yrs of experience as a quant working at a single manager fund. I am considering leaving for a startup that has a product that I find really interesting. The startup has had a strong funding round and they are
21 Dec 2019
Earlier this year, Inc.com released a list of sectors to consider going into if you were to start a business. The list included some pretty interesting ideas: Disaster Relief, Alternative-Protein Food Products, eSports, Influencer Agents, Beauty Tech, Women's Reproductive Health Care, Canned Wine, Elderly Care. Any sector to add to the list? Link to article: https://www.inc.com/ss/best-industries-for-starting-a-business
22 Sep 2018
24 Jan 2022
Recently quit my FT IB role to build out a startup I've been working on for 1.5 years. The co. is in the tech / media / crypto space and has raised over 7M so far. We've been having a lot of trouble building out that initial team of high performing generalists (our package is 130K base + ~300K - 500K equity). We're now trying to look into 1st or 2nd year banking analysts who might want to transition to tech. Any suggestions on how to reach these people besides linkedin and headhunters (not working out so great thus far)?
24 Oct 2021
Hi there, I'm a freshman at a target and just got notified that I'd be advancing to the 2nd round for AKKR. Being AKKR is literally the first and only firm for whom I have ever interviewed, I'm sort of going in the dark with this one and hope to optimize my chances of receiving an offer. The first round was just a quick 20 minute behavioral phone call with an associate. The only info I have on the 2nd round is that it will be with a VP. Should I expect it to be more technical, and if so, what do you guys recommend I study considering I have no previous background in PE or VC. Any and all
07 Jan 2022
It seems like the career paths in real estate PE and capital markets are pretty clear cut...acquisitions, asset management, investment sales, debt brokerage etc. What about those that love real estate but are interested in the startup world (RE fintech, proptech)? Is there a potential path to getting to or founding a real estate startup like Cadre and Fundrise? Is deal experience more important, or a background in business admin marketing? Any advice on early career moves to break into the proptech world?
29 Dec 2020
Read part 1 here: //www.wallstreetoasis.com/blog/the-complete-coward%E2%80%99s-guide-to-sta… Like many of you, I side with those who scoff at the amount of time the developed world wastes in formalized education - i.e., reading and studying rather than doing. In the startup world, this disdain for formalized education is even more pronounced. (Interesting sidebar: statistically, a billion dollar company is no more likely to have been founded by someone with a graduate degree than a high school dropout.) Despite this, the fact remains that there is some value in thinking
04 Apr 2014
See Part 2 | Part 3 It's the ultimate American success story: A boy grows up dirt poor and leaves home at 18 with nothing to his name. He can't afford college, but he teaches himself to code and starts a business. Through perseverance and determination he builds it brick by brick before selling his company to Microsoft, cashing out as a multi-millionaire. This is not my story. I grew up in an upper middle class family, got a degree in finance, an MBA, and a well-paying job. I wanted to take my own shot at building a company from the ground up, but I couldn't justify throwing everything away
24 Apr 2014
Hey just hoping to get peoples thoughts on the pros and cons of a potential move. Currently have 2 opportunities: 1) IBD Associate at MM firm (Not my preferred location or top-tier firm) 2)COO of 2-year old healthcare company ($3M revenues in 2016, and rapidly growing) that is aiming to acquire and roll up clinics in the NYC area and eventually expand into adjacencies and geographies. I would get profit share and equity in the company. The goal would be to scale up while optimizing operations and sell to a larger strategic or PE in a few years. Im currently post MBA at a Corp Dev/Strat role at
18 Mar 2017
I work at a company with ~350 people and was granted a decent chunk of change in phantom equity. I'm trying to figure out what that equity is worth. I have less visibility into overall profitability than I'd like, but we have been growing quickly (added 80 or so people over the past year and looking to continue growing). We're a consulting company of sorts, so our workforce scales more or less linearly with work/revenue. One thing that concerns me is that twice we have taken on debt and immediately issued dividends - once for ~10% of the company's value and a second time for ~60% of the
16 Jun 2021
Hi Everyone, So I've been having some sleepless nights lately. After having finished my IB summer internship, I decided to go back to my home country during covid to finish my dissertation and apply for an Off-Cycle. After getting home I was contacted by a wealthy family friend to trade some of his money (a few M) and get a carried in return, this is going quite well. Next to that i started creating a SaaS app with 2 friends that I trade with. The app looks very promising, works perfectly and is launching soon. Moreover I am helping out with another friend's startup and received 10% equity in
16 Dec 2020
Hello fellow monkeys, I think I'm burnt out to the point I am second guessing going into PE after my analyst stint. The hours seem the same. The work is more or less the same too, just on the different side of the aisle. I am thinking of a corporate strategy role at a tech firm, maybe one of the FAANGs, or even in their M&A department. Does anybody know any recruiters that has a lot of exposure in this space?
11 Aug 2021
Posted with permission from Leveraged Sellout. I emailed my 22 year old cousin Eric, who's graduating Summa in Economics from Harvard, to see if he needed any help getting interviews at prestigious financial institutions. I was sure there would be recruiters on campus, but I didn't want to run the risk. "Paul Graham says prestige is for suckers," he emailed back within 2 minutes. "Paul Graham says I should follow my passion." "Who's Paul Graham?" I asked. No response. It turns out Paul Graham runs a "startup accelerator" located on 320 Pioneer Way in Mountain View, CA called Y-Combinator. Y
22 Feb 2014
Part 1: here. Part 2: here. And now for the finale. Yes, the picture is a penguin with a blade riding a shark bear. #5: Integrate into the Community In most places around the world – possibly excluding Silicon Valley, NYC, Boston, and Tel Aviv – the local startup scene is a fairly small and tight-knit community. Even in those locations, with a focused effort you will probably be able to get to know the majority of the people who matter, or are about to, in only a few months. Online Meetup.com. Many cities have well represented startup groups you can find on meetup.com. Besides your standard
12 Apr 2014
http://lehmanbrothe.rs Just saw this start up out there trying to sully the Lehman name. From their website: "We are the other Lehman Brothers. You may not have heard of us, but you know us, that which has always been here, not in the board rooms of banks but in the heart beat of the greatest city on earth. We are the true spirit of New York. The funny, inclusive, sometimes obstinate, but always passionate character at the center of the Empire State. We've been here all along and are not planning on going anywhere. Our sparkle and fanfare comes not in executive limos or in $10,000 suits, but with an edge tempered in the five boroughs, and one thing is for sure we know our whiskey.
11 Jan 2015
Hey all, Some of you may have seen my post/q&a/whatever about being a VC intern here. I talked broadly about what the VC side of things is like, but I didn't go into much detail about the startup side of things. I've seen a fair amount of posts about startups vs corporate or how to start a company, etc-, so I thought I'd chime in with some of what I've seen and some advice, primarily on the funding side, that I can try and give those of you who are looking at the startup world. This will be broken up into two parts as it's pretty long & I wanted to get some of it out before starting the next
25 May 2014
Hello everyone. Ill keep this short and sweet (the goal of Wall St am I right?) - 10 months into an ER job (learning a ton, great job, intense boss though and hours obviously) - Debating taking the CFA®. I have all 4 certs already - If so I would do CFA®1 in June. Debating if its worth it. I love tech startups/VC/small cap hedge funds/ and a more entrepreneurial/growth setting. Is it worth going for the CFA® if this is where I know I want to be (can it be leveraged later on for a better startup spot or a previously mentioned role?)? Thanks in advance!
07 Jul 2017
A quick web Execu|Search will tell you that there are only a few basics to getting into an accelerator: a big problem, an innovative and superior solution, a large growing market, and a great team. Last fall, I applied to an accelerator with a foolproof plan. I had a product that is by definition innovative, as no one else in the world is doing it, and a superior solution – every member of the admission panel agreed that it is a no-brainer that it was just a matter of time before the industry would switch to my solution. I was targeting a rapidly expanding market that had been on the front
09 Feb 2014
From an article in The Economist magazine on November 28th, 2015 titled The Rise and Fall of the Unicorns. Valuations for private technology firms are increasing at a slower rate compared to six months ago. Analyst Fred Giuffrida, at Horsley Bridge, says that
Investors have become more cautious, with fewer tech specialists participating in new financing rounds. Taking their place are general investors such as the valuations in late-stage rounds of financing have declined by around 25% in the past six to eight months. These rounds are also taking slightly longer to complete.
13 Feb 2016
Hey guys, I know this isn't the standard 'help with IB recruiting' question, but since we've got a lot of smart ppl here, I figured it'd be relevant. I've done a bunch of internships in corporate settings, and feel that its WAY too slow paced and bureaucratic for me Going into my senior year, I think I'd like to join a startup: ideally one that is already somewhat proven with funding so the risk profile is lower, but one where I'd have to wear many hats and get some skills Is there a place to find a list of these? How would you recommend going about joining one? Is it still all about referrals
15 Jul 2018
Hey WSO, In 2008, I worked on a tiny self-owned business. I worked with 3 other people as IT consultants for a handful of business clients in NYC, all of which were engineering firms. The business was an S-corp and only operated for 1.5 years (I got my first internship in finance and decided to forget about IT). It DID generate considerable profit relative to the time investment (sub-$100K, however). I've had this on my resume during recruiting season under a "Leadership & Startup Experience" section, and interviewers always ask about it and find it pretty interesting. However, I now have another internship doing equities research, and am wondering if I should take out the business to make space for this, or find a way to keep them both on.
20 Sep 2012
Hi, I am a final year Economics undergrad student from a tier-1 university in India, currently interning with a fintech startup called Drip Capital- a very well funded trade finance startup that aims to solve the working capital woes of SME exporters in emerging markets by using data as opposed to traditional risk underwriting processes that make borrowing from banks unaffordable for SMEs (banks determine such clients as very risky right off the bat and as a result levy a hefty interest rate). I do have a PPO from Drip for the position of an Economist (a glorified research analyst). My major
26 Nov 2018
This is Part One of an interview with Derek Sutta, author of the ebook 'BlackJack Domination' which is a fully comprehensive and interactive guide to learning to count cards. Co-authored by an MIT wizard who has been the main inspiration for several casino films and a blackjack player who has won over $100,000 in blackjack at casinos to date. Derek has helped run a startup, completed an MBA, worked in strategy consulting and now works in business development. Tell me a bit about the background of yourself and Open Air Publishing My background is probably quite typical of what you would see on
26 Sep 2012
I was preening through Quora, (Q&A community), and I found an Anonymous answer I wanted to share. Don't end up with the short end of the stick. 1. It's just not worth it - You work as hard as the founders, and put your everything into it. You're underpaid, have none of the benefits because health insurance has not been put in place yet, let alone 401K or anything else for that matter. It takes ages to get returns for your expenses because no one got around to it yet. All that the founders have "given" you is skipping the initial phase of working for free for a few months up to a year to
09 Sep 2013
I'm going to be working abroad for a tech startup in Hong Kong, effective end of this month, for at least six months. Does anyone have experience or know of someone who went from a tech startup background/internship to IB/PE? I'm really interested in breaking in to those avenues but have had no luck. I have three years of FP&A experience that I want to leave behind and not build on. I've had an interview for an analyst position at a boutique that I unfortunately didn't end up getting, but managed to get on my own with no outside help. I majored in finance at a non-target and my GPA was
10 Sep 2015
During the unveiling of the much anticipated iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 plus, very few people knew about the unveiling of Apple's Watch. For simplicity and due to many Apple products, lets put an "i" in front of "Watch." Apple's iWatch is soon to be released sometime early this year. Already, some people are speculating that it will be a flop or that it won't sell as well as it was once thought when unveiled. However, others are convinced that it will sell and that it could be the next form of billion-dollar start-ups. Morgan Stanley is also quite optimistic as well:
17 Jan 2015
Apple, Google, Facebook, they're all technology firms and pioneered transformative ways in how our society uses information. It seems that over the past 30 years such firms have seemingly grown out of super fertile soil or by some unidentified minerals in the water supply at Palo Alto. Whatever the case, if you live, eat, and breathe technology and you're looking to start a business then Silicon Valley is what NYC is to of finance. But do you have to be in Silicon Valley to follow in the footsteps of one of these fabled start-ups? CEO and Co-Founder of Zenoss, Bill Karpovich writing for
21 Oct 2012
With tech (and consumer tech - iPhones, Social Media, Video/Music Content) becoming such a big thing in daily life, how do you know if you're truly interested in it rather than just being a part of a more tech-focused generation? I mean, you see TMT groups being the more popular, if not the most popular groups in banking. And also more students in general interested in pursuing tech. But I wonder how many of them are truly interested in it?
20 Jan 2015
Hello everyone, I am a senior who has an offer from an elite boutique (satellite, not NYC). However, the group (which will remain unnamed) is doing terribly and there is a possibility it will go away in the coming years. I also have a few technology startups offers with a salary ranging in the 60-70k in SF. A few look somewhat promising and with the tech boom that is coming up, I'm not sure what to do. Investment Banking vs Startup Working for a startup and working in worth it though if you believe in the product or mission 100%. Investment banking is the opposite. It's for the risk-averse
25 Feb 2014
Lets say I have 5 friends who are willing to invest in my start up for a silent stake of my company. What is the best term options for me as a start up and the best term options for me if I were the investor? As the start up I can choose between giving revenue share and equity share. Revenue share being I give X% of my revenue for a set amount of years to my investors. Equity share being they get part ownership. Both have the investors being silent, non voting members correct?
13 Oct 2011
I have been doing consulting work for a small boutique bank for the past few months and recently accepted a full time offer with them starting next week. So far I've built models for a sell-side deal and an equity offering and I have 2 years of experience in the middle office of a bulge bracket bank. Consider: in investment banking terms, the firm I'm joining is a startup and I'm the only non-MD member. The question at hand is 90 day goals: I've been asked to provide the partners with a list of goals that I'd like to achieve within my first 90 days of employment. The first thing that came to mind is to survive. But I worked my fair share of 90hr weeks in the MO and I don't expect hours to be anything extreme here. Besides, that's not something you tell your new boss.
24 Apr 2013
A good friend of mine used to run a successful e-commerce business selling specialized electronic products to a very niche group of consumers. He was bought out of his ownership stake almost two years ago. His non-compete runs out in a couple of months and we have discussed launching a start up of our own.
05 Mar 2013
Andy note: Best of WSO - this post originally went up October 2009 and we thought it deserved to go back on the homepage for those who may have never seen it. Hey guys, so I have a simple yet important question: why is it that so few students from elite schools start their own companies right after graduation? The richest kids at my Ivy school have parents who own their own companies. It seems like most people with a net worth greater than 10 mil own companies (is this accurate?) So, then, why is it that the best and brightest students choose to become employees? A shockingly low percentage of HBS grads start companies at graduation, and even fewer do from undergrad schools like Wharton.
31 Aug 2012
Hey guys, I'm a recent Ivy-grad (bio major) and worked as a business analyst in the industry related to my startup, but was in non-competitive categories. I quit my job only after six months in because I needed to travel abroad for an extended period and work out the supply chain. It's been 6 months of unemployment, and my business is ready to launch in a couple of months. However, I'm contemplating on finding a 40hr/wk full-time job again for income and work until my business generates enough money to justify raising funds and/or at least a salary for myself, which may take a while. If asked
09 Jul 2018
Recently I've been enamored with programming bootcamps (yes, they're a thing). Programming bootcamps are weeks-long programs that focus on getting you from newbie to junior developer in that time period. The best programs then turn your junior developer skill into a junior developer job by setting you up with events, meetings and interviews that ultimately place the best into impressive positions in hot companies, which you may or may not know about depending on how much you pay attention.
06 Apr 2013
Are there typically roles that focus on managing the growth through financial analysis, dashboards, investor relations, fundraising, and similar strategic activities? I mainly see controller or CFO, and maybe outsourced book keeping in small companies, but wasn't sure if there was something I'm missing. That would be a pretty sweet gig I think, but I doubt the role would be completely essential for a person dedicated to that solely for a company with less 30/40 people. Anyone have experience with this?
01 Jun 2018
Hello everyone, I have taken a posting hiatus since shifting paths from IB to starting my own venture. I am now returning on the off-chance someone might have insight into an impending problem (and because I am not sure where else to go for this). So to keep this short, I have been bootstrapping the business for say the last year (while organizing legally, with the site/app, etc.), but we have realized that to take the next step of growth into 2018 we need to raise money to significantly invest in marketing. Depending on how long we take to raise the money the total in will be somewhere $100k-
13 Nov 2017
I'm finishing up my 2nd year in IBD at a bulge bracket investment bank. I have a few options: i) U.S. expansion role at an early stage international startup (seed level consumer app company with pretty much unknown presence in the U.S. market), ii) a corporate development role at a more established startup, and iii) a corporate strategy role at a media / entertainment giant (think Disney, Time Warner, Sony). I'm leaning towards either i) or iii), but is either looked upon more favorably for a top MBA admission? Just wanted to get some thoughts around what would be the best path if my ultimate
22 Apr 2015