On a tube ride back home – after a long day of meetings agonizing over investment decisions – I was reminded of Stewart Alsop’s quote about some VCs being in the “god category”.
I had read the story before but had only a vague recollection of where it had appeared and what the conclusion was.
Yesterday, a diligent search on the web revealed this gem: “So You Want to be a Venture Capitalist?”
You may have to register (free) to read the article in full but I would recommend it to everyone who is contemplating a career in this business – and to everyone who has spent more than a couple of years on the inside….
Some good quotes from the story:
The first one from one of NEA’s founding partners, Richard Kramlich, hinting at the selection criteria at his firm:
“Two-thirds of the partners who were at NEA in 1997 are no longer at the firm; the surviving third accounted for 85% of the firm’s profit”
John Doerr at Kleiner Perkins, “it takes probably six to eight years and you should be prepared for losses of about $20million…Of course, while we take risk, we work like hell to avoid crashes”…
And finally the “God quote” that was nagging me:
“I think I’ve done very well as a venture capitalist, but I’m not in the god category”, Mr Alsop said. He defines a venture god as someone who has made $100million to $500million on a single investment. His list of industry deities includes Mr Doerr, Mr Kramlich and Michael Moritz at Sequoia Capital…”
I don’t know how many such “gods” exist outside Silicon Valley…in Europe and in Asia…but I feel hugely privileged to work with one of them…
See also one of my earlier posts, “How to become a VC“