For those that aren’t in it, venture capital does not work as it is advertised. Shark Tank isn’t the real world, and understanding VC nuance can take years (if not decades).
Understanding term sheets, the terminology, asking the right questions in diligence, writing an investment memo, curating sources of deal flow, building an audience, and navigating firm dynamics isn’t something you can learn overnight. As we’ve discussed in other posts, you have to learn the rules of the game before you can play the game.
Getting up to speed quickly was the thesis for starting Confluence. Here’s my story of what worked for me.
I started working at a seed-stage fintech fund right out of school. On day one, I hit panic.
I didn’t know anything.
Didn’t know how to ask the right questions.
Didn’t know how to size up markets.
Didn’t know how to attract good deal flow.
Didn’t know how to do my job.
“Are these people really paying me to be incompetent?” I thought to myself.
The answer was “no”, so I had to learn and learn quick.
After that moment of panic went away, I started crafting out my plan.
Simple enough, right?
So I got to work.
Junior VCs are glorified BDRs, and the majority of their work centers around building pipeline and meeting with entrepreneurs. When they’re not sourcing, they help with underwriting, they meet with other investors, and they help with other miscellaneous tasks around the fund.
To make myself more effective in the role, I started collecting resources for the following functions:
Now that I had mapped out the jobs to be done, it was time to find the best resources on each of those subjects.
All of my down time was spent reading and searching the internet for answers. A desperate man is a dangerous man, and I was desperate to stop being the dumbest in the room.
I made a goal to find at least 15 resources for each of these subjects and started keeping track in a Google Doc.
I quickly realized I hated Google Docs, and collecting links in there actually wasn’t very helpful. I wanted something cleaner to organize the project I was building.
I chose Notion.
Below are some screenshots of the final product. I love Notion and recommend it to everybody.
After I had something to share, I started pinging others in the industry to see what they think. They loved it, so I kept expanding the offer and layered other things on top of it.
That’s the quick story of how we started Confluence.VC.
This was three years ago, so enough time has passed to reflect.
Breaking down the basics early in your career is one of the best things you can do. You lock in the boring stuff early so you can focus on the fun stuff later.
Packaging up learnings and sharing value for other people is also one of the highest-ROI things you can do. You create a reputation and luck for yourself.
Fast forward to today.
I’ve had hundreds of conversations with members, and we’ve shared ~400 pieces of content under the brand.
I’ve parlayed this experience into LP investing into different venture funds.
If you’re looking to get up-to-speed quickly on venture capital, check out the Ultimate VC Resource Library. If you’re a full-time investor looking to join the #1 venture community in the world, apply to join here.