For the Venture capitalists, the interview is an opportunity to get to know you better and to understand what type of person you are. The interviews are often very personal and not comparable to typical consulting or investment banking interviews. As venture capital teams are often very small, personal fit is very important. The interviewer must answer the question “Is this a person I trust and want to work with for years to come”?
VC interview questions usually fall into one of three categories:
Below are ten questions you can expect in a typical Venture Capital interview:
This is a question that almost every interviewer will ask. The most important point is to express your enthusiasm for the venture capital industry. Is it having the opportunity to work with a wide range of startups? Or do you want to be always up to date with the latest trends in the ecosystem and help to start new businesses? Make some notes and also write down what type of skills you have acquired during your career which would be relevant as a Venture Capitalist. Explain why VC is the next logical step for you at this point.
Read up on their portfolio companies and prepare to answer on two or three companies. You can also prepare special questions.
Pick two or three sub-sectors and do in-depth research. You should be able to explain the trends in detail and know who the key players are. It is also helpful to give an outlook on how you think the market will develop in the coming years.
If you can, try and meet up with a past or present intern/analyst/associate from the firm for coffee. Read the firm’s blog, check out people on the team on social media, subscribe to their newsletter, and look for clues. What processes do they talk about, what conferences do they go to, what have they been funding recently? Try and put together a picture of what that means in terms of how they spend their time.
Venture capitalists are looking for employees who have proven expertise in a specific topic. Ideally, it is an area in which the Venture Capital company also invests. You have to show that you have a lot of knowledge in this area and also understand which developments in the market are influenced by which factors. It is important here that you do not give superficial answers but present your detailed knowledge, ideally by discussing a recent activity in the market (New Ventures, Funding rounds, Mergers, etc.).
You can name any company you want, but make sure you have deeper knowledge about the company (culture, turnover, business model, etc.) so that you can explain why you have chosen exactly that company.
Focus on the major parts of the three financial statements. A good answer will be high level and will provide commentary on the general purpose of each statement while still highlighting key aspects.
This will require real research. You need to know their portfolio across the board and have compelling reasons behind your decisions. These could include factors like business characteristics, company traction, alignment with firm strategy, or alignment with your personal thesis.
This will require real research. You need to know their investment thesis and have compelling reasons behind your decisions why a startup could be a potential fit.
The interviewer wants to: