Why Your Work Pedigree Doesn’t Matter to VC’s
Does your work pedigree matter to a venture capitalist? Simply put, it does to some, and it does not to others. Your work history is undoubtedly a factor to be considered. Still, if you are relying on your work history to carry you across the finish line with a venture capitalist, you will be disappointed.
Here are three reasons as to why your work pedigree doesn’t matter.
- Your being hired by a prestigious company could be the result of their appropriately assessing your incredible skills and work ethic, which would be a positive indicator for a venture capitalist to consider. On the other hand, your being hired by that prestigious company could have just as easily been a massive mistake by their Human Resources Dept. As a venture capitalist, are you going to let an HR representative decide with who you invest?
- You worked at a prestigious company but didn’t make a meaningful difference.
All too often, people flaunt the fact that they worked at Google, Uber, Microsoft, and so on. There is a reason you left or are leaving your previous employment. Were you fired? Were you pushed out? Did you not see opportunities for growth due to your limitations? You can tell me why you left, but I don’t know you well enough to know whether or not you are entirely truthful.
- You like to tell people you were a CEO, or maybe you want to say to people that you were an “advisor” to startups. Those “titles” won’t impress any venture capitalists. Why? Because you probably created the startup and made yourself the CEO, or perhaps you “advised” a friend with his/her startup. There are exceptions; for example, if the CEO of Google, Sundar Pichai, walked in, people would pay attention. Other than that, it doesn’t mean anything. I can’t tell you how many people have walked through our doors and claimed to have accomplished exemplary things because of their title. They believe if they have an impressive title, we will bow down to them. This, of course, is not true. Think about how many “entrepreneurs,” “advisors,” and “CEOs” you see on Instagram, Facebook, or any social media platform. They are a dime in a dozen.
Entrepreneurs who do not fit the typical mold of having an impressive work pedigree need not be discouraged when in search of funding. The VC’s you will partner with will be doing their best to look past your pedigree and figure out who you are. Bottom line – It comes down to your idea. Does it make sense? What is important is not where you worked, but how you will work.
Scott Hogan is an analyst at VU Venture Partners based in San Francisco, CA. He studied at the University of California, Davis, majoring in Managerial Economics. Scott previously operated a manufacturing company at the age of 20 while also working on his various startups. In his free time, you can find him playing with his two daughters, writing, or cooking a delicious meal.
Article written by Scott Hogan