Venture Capital Series: What does a venture analyst do?
With the continued progress of the new Next Level Indiana Trust Fund — Indiana’s $250 million fund to develop venture community and support increased entrepreneurship and innovation in the state–and recent large venture capital investments in emerging tech companies like Lessonly, Sigstr and 250ok, it’s becoming more important for tech business leaders in the state to understand the venture capital ecosystem.
With that in mind, we are launching an ongoing series on the inner workings of venture capital firms and their people rooted in the state of Indiana. We will start by spending a few weeks looking at the role of venture analysts in a venture capital firm and interviewing some of our very own analysts. If you know a venture analyst we should feature, please send an email to Roger Shuman with your recommendation.
What does a venture analyst do?
While you may recognize the names of some of the investors at local firms (as some worked for companies with successful exits like Software Artistry, Aprimo and ExactTarget), there are many others vitally involved in their success.
Jackie DiMonteSenior Associate
In what kind of companies does Hyde Park typically invest?
Jackie: We invest in B2B SaaS and marketplace companies in the Midwest. We invest at the seed or Series A level–typically a company doing <$3 million in annualized revenue.
How do you spend your days?
Finding and screening new companies. This includes making decisions to push companies forward through the investment process (i.e. introduce them to more team members) based on initial conversations and/or initial diligence. When we get more interested in a company, I’ll dig into their market, competition and company metrics. If we get really interested I’ll support the team through first-person diligence and a deeper dive.
Portfolio support and community building is a vital part of what I do. I’m always trying to better understand how we can be an effective resource for our companies in a scalable and repeatable way. I also mentor companies in accelerators and incubators. Plus, I’m constantly talking to folks prepping for fundraising or who are trying to learn about the VC process. I also do all of the other random stuff since we are a small company, too. Someone has to do quarterly reporting as we have investors just like the companies in which we invest.
How much of your job is spent at your offices?
Sometimes I wish I spent more time at my desk! When I’m not traveling, I probably spend 30-40% of my time meeting with companies and other VCs, 10% meeting with our team, and the rest of the time at my desk. When I’m traveling, which is typically one to three times a month, I spend 100% of my time meeting with companies and VCs or participating in conferences.
What, if anything, makes Indiana’s tech ecosystem unique?
Recent exits like Aprimo, Interactive Intelligence and Angie’s List, along with the expansion of Salesforce has been huge. We see groups like High Alpha fostering the next wave of tech companies, both through community programming as well as building those companies in-house.
What prepared you for this role?
Attending The University of Chicago Booth School of Business on weekends and focusing on entrepreneurship and finance classes, activities, and clubs gave me exposure to the VC industry and helped me learn from an academic sense. Second, I came from a role at Silver Spring Networks, an IoT company where I was able to work on a multitude of new products and solutions along with other companies, ranging from startups to Fortune 100’s. This gave me a perspective on growing and developing technology and an ability to consider new opportunities from a product and go-to-market perspective. Third, I had an internship with another VC that gave me a real-world look at applying my technology / engineering background and academic learnings.
If someone is interested in becoming a venture analyst, what would you recommend they do?
Get as much experience as possible and build a quality network. There are many blog posts out there about the way to get into venture but the conclusion is always the same: that there is not a single route to get there. As a first step, I’d suggest meeting with folks in the industry to find out in more detail what they do and how funds differ from each other. Compare this to the type of work that you like to do. When you understand what your target list is, start strengthening your relationships with the folks at those funds.