Breaking the Venture Stigma

The reason why startup exists is the accessibility of it all. Any college or high-school student can learn to code, to build something, and to try to make something of it. And it’s getting better. Startups are trendy and more and more young people get it even though they aren’t in a hotbed of startup culture.  I’ve participated in a couple of 3 Day Startups, most recently this past weekend, that give a quick glance at what it’s about for undergrad and graduate students.

But what about venture capital? Unless you went to an elite school, venture capital wasn’t on the curriculum. It wasn’t in the class schedule. Your parents definitely didn’t teach you about it. The career fair doesn’t include it. Most people hear “VC” and think of some mystical career path that leads to endless riches. The more time I spend with college students, the more I understand this. 

And it’s the opposite of that mystique since most funds will underperform like anything else. It’s incredibly hard.

If you start a company with the concept of VC in the back of your head you, hopefully you think of everything like a VC. It’s just good practice. That shouldn’t drive each decision, but it’ll help. I think of everything differently. Every product, store, commercial, business model, structure, and intricacies of family businesses that will never consider institutional money… everything. This includes simple processes I use to complete even the most mundane tasks. There was a different lens on my world just 4 years ago.

I hope to see a dedicated venture capital course at my alma mater in the next 10 years. If I can make that happen, I’ll teach it myself. I want to see the same in schools across the U.S., not just Ivy League and top business schools. Take the mystique away and show the hard work and dedication it takes. Show students that if they create something meaningful and work to understand the world deeply, it’s available to them, too.

In the end, it's just another inroad to getting away from the corporate life :)