- Select companies to invest money in and negotiate investment deals
- This can be a high-risk business, with the potential for investors to make both large gains and large losses
- You'll need excellent judgement, analysis skills, and business and finance knowledge
Venture capitalists invest money in companies - usually new or relatively new ventures, with the objective of making money from them as the businesses grow. That money might be made through the increase in the overall value of the company, or in a share of the profits, or both. Your job will be to find and analyse investment opportunities, that is, companies who are seeking money in return for a share of the business, to help them grow, and to determine which ones are likely to have the best chance of making money then doing a deal with them in exchange for shares.
You might work for a VC investment company that invests other people's money for them, or you might invest your own money (and in some cases it's a bit of both).
In venture capital, you might work for a venture capital firm or develop your own. You'll need to build your understanding of business analysis, in particular in terms of finance and investment, and so doing a degree in a subject like economics, finance and investment, or maths will help you gain the skills you need. You can start out as an analyst or associate in a VC firm where you'll work on assessing investment proposals and organisations seeking investments, and checking that they meet the requirements of the firm through what is called the 'due diligence' process. You can then work your way up to more senior roles. Some VC firms offer traineeships and graduate schemes.
It's an industry that can be seen as dominated by middle and upper class white men, and this is still often the case, but there are an increasing number of venture capital firms who are either starting to recognise the value of having a diverse team, or specialist funds focusing on investing in businesses who are being started by women, BAME entrepreneurs and other under-represented groups, so opportunities are starting to open up. That's not to say it's an easy industry to break into if you don't have access to money and networks, but it can be done!
This can be demanding, and high-pressure work, and the risk of losing money (yours or other people's) is high, but there are also opportunities to make significant amounts of money if you make the right decisions.