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How To Become A Venture Capitalist in 2014

How to Become a Venture Capitalist from The Startup Garage

So you’ve watched the show “Shark Tank” and think you have what it takes to be the next Kevin O’Leary, AKA Mr. Wonderful?

On TV, the career of a venture capitalist appears to be easily obtainable and positively thrilling. Power, prestige, and autonomy are ready and waiting for those bold enough to step forward. In reality, the aspiring venture capitalist (VC) has a better chance of becoming a professional athlete as he or she does becoming a VC professional.

The Startup Garage offers 3 key insights below to help those ambitious enough, enter this exclusive and highly competitive career.

Personality Traits

Please note the lists below are generalizations. Although these tend to be the norm, variations have been known to occur.

A) VCs have a business mind and are entrepreneurs to the soul. They have a raw intelligence for business opportunities, and an unwavering desire to make them come to fruition.

B) VCs are adrenaline junkies. They live for the thrill, whether jumping out of planes or financing a million dollar startup. The VCs life and business are founded on high risks and high rewards.

C) VCs are cyber prophets. They have keen insight on cutting edge technology trends, and know how to use all the latest gadgets.

D) VCs have stellar interpersonal skills. They’re social butterflies that thrive on interacting and communicating with others. Networking is 2nd nature to VCs, who are always on the prowl for the next business partnership.

Curious to dive deeper into the personality of a VC, and see if you fit the mold?

Technology evangelist, Guy Kawasaki developed an online test “The Venture Capital Aptitude Test” specifically for that purpose.

Take the free test here:


A) A VC has an undergraduate degree in business, finance, computer science, accounting, or engineering from a top university.

B) VCs typically have an MBA (Master of Business Administration) from a top business school; think Harvard, Stanford, Duke, Georgetown and Columbia.

C) Not only does a VC hold degrees from the above schools, more than likely they ranked at the top of their class.

Work/Life Experiences

A) VCs tend to be serial entrepreneurs, with real life experiences in working and/or launching high growth startups. They know the feeling of a successful startup, as well hardships of a failed startup.

B) VCs circle of influence includes entrepreneurs, tech savvy individuals, and business advisors.

C) VCs might have experience in working in and/or with large banks or credit unions.

D) A VC may have had their start as an angel investor, dipping into their own saving and investing in small businesses. Prior experience as an angel investor, allows for the deep understanding of responsibility that comes with investing other peoples money.

E) A VC may have done product development for large firms or has been a consultant for small businesses.

F) A VC may have been a CEO, one that demonstrated exceptional decision making skills.

G) A VC may have entered a Venture Capital Firm and worked their way up the ranks, from analyst to partner.

H) Success leaves clues. Remember to do your homework, research and mirror the success secrets of top investors. A great starting point is Forbes Magazine’s Midas List, The Top Ten in Venture Capital Today. The list includes top investors like Jim Breyer of Accel Partners, Marc Andreessen of Andreessen Horowitz, Peter Thiel of Founders Fund, Reid Hoffman of Greylock Partners, and David Sze of Greylock.

Finally, the last piece of advise we’d like to give is to be pro-Active, innovation and optimistic in your approach. The industry’s small size of 6,125 potential openings, can be daunting, don’t let figures dissuade you; it only takes 1 position to fulfill your VC legacy.

Best of luck!


Whether you have a question about Venture Capital, or you’d like to discuss our business plan writing services, feel free to contact us for a free consultation!