Friday, December 7, 2007

What I've Learned from Russell Pyne

Today, I spoke with Russell Pyne, founding VC of Atrium Capital where I did an internship for two months. He provided me with some insightful advice.

[What I've Learned from Russell Pyne]

Finance, financial modeling, and analysis are generic skills.

Find your strengths then pursue it passionately. I've seen too many people follow their passions and fail because they just weren't meant to do it.

You need to be more aggressive in pursuing your start ups. You need to go to their doors with your resume. Keep calling them every week. They might have a conference coming up and need some help, if you're there, they'll take you. And if none of them are responding, then they're not growing enough and then you should really reconsider if you want to get into social travel.

It's increasingly hard now to be a VC as a generalist. You need technical expertise and experience. There's a lot of competition.

You can be both a specialist and a generalist. A lot of start ups have positions that are very general. You have to be able to wear a lot of hats. But if you stay in that industry for 2-5 years, you'll be an expert. Pick a growing industry and start from there.

In the past 15 years, we haven't done a single deal with a person we didn't know before or that wasn't referred by another VC or was introduced by a professional.

Deal flow is the key.

We hire people that are successful and know their industry and bring them in as junior partners. For example, we are looking to get into social networking and so we're looking for someone with experience from facebook, etc.

We travel to universities and learn about the newest technologies and talk with professors and industry leaders. And we do presentations.

Some VCs like TA Associates and Summit Partners hire recent grads to develop deal flow and for a supportive analyst role. It depends on the structure.

Green tech and social networking.

A foot in the door isn't enough.

No comments: