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    如何獲得風投公司的初級職位?

    財富中文網 2019年07月09日

    在雇主,特別是從事大筆交易的風投公司看來,一位分析師的薪酬并不是一個大數字。他們更加看重的是,你是否能夠迅速適應工作,并為公司創造價值。

    作為招聘初級職位的風險投資人,我認為,為別人免費工作不一定會傷害自己,但也確實無法讓你脫穎而出,原因如下:

    不是一種彰顯獨特性的推銷方式:事實上,主動提供免費工作是一種常規的做法,因為主動提供幫助的障礙較小。許多人能夠,而且確實主動提出免費工作,因為這樣做不需要你具備任何經驗或其他什么價值。

    負面信號:你在發出一種負面的信號,即你不是特別重視自身的專業知識、經驗或網絡,因為你只是表示自己愿意在較為不利的條件下工作(而且不提及與風投工作更為相關的才能)。對于大多數資歷較深風險投資人來說,一位分析人員的薪水并不是大數字,他們可能更擔心聘用錯誤人選有可能帶來的生產力及培訓時間損失。頭銜也是如此:頭銜很廉價,可以隨便授予,硅谷龐大的非一般“合伙人”隊伍便可以證明這一點。有鑒于此,表示自己愿意接受任何職位并不會給他們帶來太多幫助。

    初級風險投資人必須找到創造價值的方法,而非僅僅接受指引:風險投資人進入這個行業,不是來管理員工的,而一般合伙人通常忙于履行其董事職責,分析交易業務前景,他們不會投入過多時間向初級專業人員詳盡介紹不同的工作流程。當你說愿意免費工作,卻不介紹你能夠采取何種創新方式來幫助公司賺取更多的真金白銀時,那就會給他們(至少對筆者來說如此)造成一種印象:你需要通過這份工作的培訓來獲得經驗。設計任務,清晰地傳達任務,并提供后續反饋,需要花費時間。如果他們認為在你為公司帶來成效之前,公司需要預先投入大量的培訓時間,他們會對錄用你持警惕態度。我面試過的一些優秀員工首次參加會議時,會就如何讓公司做得更好提出許多可行的觀點和方案,其主題可能涉及交易機會、營銷方式、投資組合管理或報告等多方面。他們給人留下的印象是,第一天上班時,他們會在自我指導和內部激勵因素的驅動下,自行推動項目的發展,而不需要我提供過多的建議,這是很有吸引力的。

    當然,有些公司從實習生中招聘員工,特別是MBA暑期實習生。如果你能夠進入這個招聘流程,那么這是一條可靠且穩妥的入行路徑。但是,即使在這種情況下,你也不會因為提出免費工作而獲得全職工作機會。

    筆者將介紹幾種讓你脫穎而出的建議,特別適合來自非傳統背景的人員(例如,你原來不是一位小有成就的創始人、產品經理或投資銀行家)。有人會建議你先在初創公司獲得工作經驗,這種建議不錯。但是,由于也存在通過自身努力直接成為風險投資人的可能性,筆者將重點回答你的問題,同時假設今天的重點是成為風險投資人:

    1. 使用特定領域的研究平臺展示市場知識

    因為你不具備傳統的投資背景,你需要證明,你有能力獨立學習足夠的知識,以便確定有興趣的初創公司,形成論點,并針對特定投資開展有說服力的辯論。我建議制作簡單的演示文稿(或詳細的電子郵件),分類簡要介紹醫療保健行業的投資建議(能夠以醫療器械、EMR軟件、醫院管理軟件即服務、健身追蹤器和健康保險的購買為例)。涉及的話題包括市場規模、競爭形勢、哪些初創公司獲得了風險投資、由誰進行了投資、商業模式及其他任何不易獲得的有用信息。

    當我要求一位被面試者調查一家公司時,他給這家公司的20位客戶打電話,要求與副總裁級別的產品最終買家溝通,以便獲得直接反饋和合同規模的預估值。他非常勇敢,當然我很喜歡這一點;除此之外,我希望他在既定時間內完成調查。一旦你制定了簡要的演示文稿,你可以把它發送給任何風險投資人,使之成為未經邀請的郵件或后續溝通的一部分,以表明你能夠立即提供哪種研究和觀點。這樣做可以展示你掌握的知識和你的主動性,你的文件也很容易被其他合伙人看到。這會幫助你在公司中獲得“傳播式影響力”。

    2. 今天就開始尋找機會

    你不需要為了獲得工作機會而“嘗試著幫助尋找”交易,因為尋找僅僅意味著通過有辨識力的篩選,引入可能的投資。現在,你可以通過會面、會議或大學網絡,了解一些有趣的醫療保健初創公司,主動把它們介紹給你正在溝通的風險投資人。除非你沒有進行篩選,否則所有風險投資人都會喜歡這種做法。此外,你可以在隨后的數月中,不斷地向他們介紹有吸引力的機會,為他們占領制高點,特別是當你能夠以有說服力的方式證明這些公司值得考慮時。即使這家公司沒有立即聘用你,當他們開始招聘時,你將成為他們熟悉的候選人。

    3. 今天就風投公司的投資組合創造價值

    與第二點相同,你可以制定戰略,為那些獲得風投支持,并且具備招聘、營銷和業務開發機會的公司提供幫助。作為一位年輕人,你的老同學現在可能是軟件工程師、設計師、營銷人員或銷售人員。可以重新聯系他們;如果他們有興趣,主動把他們介紹給風險投資人投資組合中的初創公司,使他們成為潛在的求職者。招聘是風險投資人應該提供的主要附加價值,但是找時間為公司尋找和審查求職者困難重重。有人幫助我們兌現承諾,先于我們的投資組合公司做好判斷,這是一件大事。

    此外,你可以建立第一點中提到的簡要平臺,以便比較投資組合公司的競爭對手,為某個特定的投資組合公司提出有關產品特征或增長戰略的建議。即使你的建議未能得以實施,風險投資人可能會重視你提出的一些有意義的觀點。在最佳情況下,他們會把你的建議轉交投資組合公司,并對你使他們能從小事上幫助該公司解決困難表示感謝。

    4. 今天就培養自身欠缺的技能

    你提到你沒有任何實際金融經驗。說實話,在投資銀行或私募股權層面,特別是初期階段,風險投資人幾乎不需要專家級別的金融模式。你可以從教材、Vault等求職寶典、在線企業融資培訓課程、甚至公共金融模型模板中學到很多東西。就拿風投金融領域的知識來說,如果你能夠輕松談論基本收入乘數估值法和條款清單中的主要條目,你已經把很多初級求職者遠遠甩在身后了。(財富中文網)

    回答者:紀源資本(GGV Capital)風險投資人克里斯特爾·黃,來自Quora。

    翻譯:喬樹靜/汪皓

    審校:任文科

    Speaking as a VC who interviews for our own entry-level roles, I don’t think your current pitch will necessarily hurt you, but it won’t really help you stand out either for these reasons:

    Not a unique pitch: It’s actually the opposite of nonconventional to offer to work for free because the bar for making this offer is low. Many people can and do offer to work hard for free because you don’t need experience or any other value to be able to offer this.

    Adverse signaling: You’re sending the negative signal that you don’t particularly value your own expertise, experience or network since you’re only pitching your willingness to work under relatively unfavorable terms (and are not mentioning other qualities that would be far more pertinent to a VC job). For most VCs that are not on their first fund, an analyst salary is not a huge amount of money, and they are likely much more concerned about the potential lost productivity/invested training hours from hiring the wrong person as opposed to paying the right person. It’s the same idea for title: A title is cheap and easy to give out, as evidenced by the large number of non-GP “partners” in the Valley, so saying you’re willing to take any title doesn’t do them a particularly big favor.

    Junior VCs must find ways to create value, not just take direction: VCs don’t enter the industry to manage employees, and the GPs are usually too busy with their board memberships and deal pipelines to spend much time actually specifying discrete workflows for their junior professionals. When you say that you’re willing to work for free, but don’t describe any creative, differentiated ways in which you can actually help the firm make more money, you’re really creating the impression (at least for me) that it would require work to manage and train you. It takes time to devise tasks, communicate them clearly and then provide feedback afterward, and if they believe that you will require a large upfront time investment before you start becoming productive, then they’ll be wary of hiring you. Some of the best people I’ve interviewed have shown up at our initial meeting equipped with actionable ideas and plans for how the firm can do better, whether that’s on the deal sourcing, marketing, portfolio management or reporting fronts. These people give off the impression that on day one they would have the self-direction and internal motivation to drive their own projects through without needing much input from me, and that’s an attractive proposition.

    Some firms do hire from their intern pool, especially if you’re an MBA summer associate, so if you can get into those recruiting processes, it’s a solid and well-traveled path into the industry. However, even in those cases, you won’t win the full-time job offer on the basis of the pitch you’re making in your question.

    Below, I’ve written out some ideas for standing out, especially if you come from a non-traditional background (i.e. you were not previously a semi-successful founder, product manager or investment banker). Some people would advise you to earn work experience at a startup first, which is fine advice, but since it’s also possible to go straight to a VC with some effort on your part, I’m going to focus on answering your question, which I assume focuses on getting into VC today:

    1. Demonstrate market knowledge with research decks around specific focus areas

    Since you do not have a traditional background for investing, you’ll need to demonstrate that you can learn enough on your own to identify interesting startups, develop a thesis and argue convincingly for certain investments. I would recommend putting together some simple presentations (or detailed emails) that outline investment recommendations in a few categories within healthcare (examples could be medical devices, EMR software, hospital administration SaaS, fitness trackers and health insurance shopping). Topics to cover include market size, competitive landscape, what startups have been VC-invested and by whom, business model and any other useful data that are not easily obtainable.

    One of my prior interviewees, when I asked him to look into a company for me, actually called 20 of their customers and asked to speak to the VP-level end buyer of the product to get direct feedback as well as estimates of contract sizes. That was pretty gutsy — outside of what I would have expected him to do on that timeframe — and of course I loved it. Once you have these mini-presentations, you can send them to any VC as a part of a cold email or follow-up conversation to convey what type of research and insight you’ll be able to deliver immediately. This demonstrates both knowledge and pro-activeness, and the document will be super easy to forward onto other partners, which helps you gain “virality” in an organization.

    2. Start sourcing today

    You don’t need to get a job offer to get “a shot at helping source” deals, since sourcing just means bringing in possible investments with a discerning filter. You can get to know a few interesting healthcare startups now via meet-ups, conferences or your college network, and offer to introduce them to VCs you’re talking to. No VC will be annoyed by this unless you’re not filtering the companies at all, and you can stay top of mind for them over the course of several months by consistently pinging them with attractive opportunities, especially if you are able to make a persuasive argument for why those companies are worth a look. Even if the firm is not hiring immediately, you’ll be a familiar name to them if they start looking.

    3. Benefit their portfolio today

    In a similar vein to point number 2, you can start thinking up strategies for helping the VC’s portfolio companies, potentially with hiring, marketing and business development opportunities. As a young person, you probably have a network of ex-classmates, at least some of whom are now software engineers, designers, marketers or salespeople. Reconnect with these people and if they are interested, offer to introduce them to startups in the VC’s portfolio as possible hires. Hiring is a key value-add that VCs are expected to deliver, and yet it’s very challenging to find the time to actually source and vet candidates for our companies. Having someone help us fulfill that promise and look good in front of our portfolio companies is a big deal.

    You can also generate the mini-decks mentioned in part 1 to compare portfolio company competitors, recommend product features or suggest growth strategies for a given portfolio company. Even if none of your recommendations gets implemented, the VC will likely appreciate that you surfaced some interesting ideas. Best case scenario, they’ll send along the suggestions to the portfolio company and feel grateful to you that they were able to help that company out in some small way.

    4. Build the skills you’re lacking today

    You mention that you don’t have any real finance experience. To be honest, VC rarely requires hardcore financial modeling at the level of investment banking or private equity, especially at the early stages. There is a lot you can learn from textbooks, career guides such as Vault, online corporate finance training classes and even public financial modeling templates. If you can speak comfortably about basic revenue multiples-based valuation and key items that appear in a term sheet, you’ll already be ahead vs. many entry-level applicants in showing an understanding of VC finance.

    Answer by Crystal Huang, VC at GGV Capital, on Quora.

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