How to break into VC from someone who never should have

“How do I get into VC” is one of my most frequently asked questions . Very few have a standard way in. I’m not even sure there is one. So below is the best I‘ve got.

My story

First, some context, I knew precisely zero about investment when I started. My break came at a confluence of events:

1/ I discovered (and hence acquired) a money printing machine for M&C Saatchi called Inside Mobile which gave me credibility.

2/ The company was sitting on a cash pile which gave me the opening.

3/ I was dumb / crazy / naive enough to suggest starting a venture fund which gave me the opportunity to prove myself (3 weeks later I invested in Citymapper and I was away).

This is obviously not a scalable play. Most ways in aren’t. But what is scalable is optimising for serendipity (which happens to be a fantastic life strategy in general). Here is how:

  1. Get out of your head. If you’re like 99 percent of people including how I was you may have ‘brain crack’. This is the idea that one day you will do something and the thought rattles round until it drives you crazy. Be prepared to quit your current job without a parachute and go beast mode on it. I’m not sure you can do it half hearted.
  2. If you are truly committed then just network like hell. Go to every event asking ‘how can I help’ (expect nothing back). Apply everywhere. Go round helping entrepreneurs for nothing to build a reputation. Angel invest if you have some cash. Create a ‘reputation’ portfolio online consisting of all the companies you have helped and will vouch for you. Use the ‘100 coffees’ methodology and apply it to venture.

3. Do a Harry stebbings. Create a media brand around vc. Write every day. Comment on everyone’s posts who you might want to work for. It’s a process. It’s dull. You have to want it. It will compound.

TBH the game is all sales and network so the right strategy is to compound network as quickly as possible. Online and IRL. Basically if you really want ‘in’ to VC you have to obsess like a maniac. No half measures.

Beast mode baby :)

Good luck

VC Partner@SAATCHiNVEST. Seed investor in Citymapper, Farewill, Ometria + more. Chief of Staff@Redbrain. NED@Picassolabs. Founder

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