I’ve decided to leave my career as a Venture Capitalist after 5 years to join a crypto startup. If you know me, you’d know that I’d always wanted to be in venture capital (VC). I love doing research, learning about business models, talking to inspiring and passionate founders, and finding resources (capital and human alike) to support them on their journey. Plus, networking was my second nature, a trait that comes in handy for an industry that’s so centered around human interactions and the grapevine such as VC.
This time last year, I took a leap of faith, emptied my piggy bank (and almost took out a loan) to pay off my scholarship, which bonded me to work for my then employer for 4 years, in order to join Monk's Hill Ventures (MHV). I ‘knew’ I wanted to be a VC and I wanted to be at a place where I’d learn from the best of the best. And boy, MHV did deliver to its promise. The caliber of the people was second to none; I could proudly say that everyone on the team was super smart yet humble. The culture was collaborative, collegial, respectful. There was no politics. There was no favoritism. For the first time in my life, I felt like my workplace was my home. And, most of all, the fund’s mission was so strong; we treat founders with the utmost respect and we build relationships not transactions.
So what made me decide to leave after a short stint? I remember the interview I had with the Managing Partner at MHV. He said something along the lines of I’d not make Partner here without operating experience. I told him, maybe you’d change your mind down the road, even A16Z did so. I thought I was going to prove him wrong, but fast forward to today, he did prove me wrong.
I started to feel less satisfying with my contribution as a VC. I used to feel the thrill of sourcing deals and closing deals. Those things no longer excite me the way they used to. In contrast, I noticed I felt high from helping founders in one way or another from making intros to help them raise funds to being an evangelist for their company with my Frontier Fintech Podcast. I felt happy when my action results in something that’s meaningful to them.
But, I knew that my contribution and impact were limited and there’s more I can do had I walked in their shoes and had the actual experience of having run companies before. Fred Wilson @USV said it perfectly, “Entrepreneurs are really difficult customers to serve well. It takes a significant investment of time, energy, money, and intellect to satisfy them.” I knew that I was not at a place where I feel comfortable offering advice or being their thought partners until I’ve done what they have done myself... maybe then I’ll have “earned the right to invest” and I won’t feel too much like an imposter.
So what’s next? I’m joining Alpha Finance Lab as Head of Marketing. Not founding my own company (yet), but I’m excited to scale it from $1B to $10B and explore other skills I have yet to explore. I hope that one day, I’ll get to share my experience with founders and operators, help them scale their companies too, and truly feel like a value-add investor whose value goes beyond capital and intros, but meaningful advice that’s valuable to them, the companies they are building, and the impact they are making in the world.
Until then, I’ll continue to actively angel invest in Fintech & crypto companies in my personal capacity and through Rally Cap Ventures. I’ll also post my learnings on my Twitter account and my blog. Stay tuned for the next chapter! I’d love to connect with you and exchange notes on what we learn on our respective journeys. My DMs are always open and I’m always happy to help founders in any way I can.