It is really exciting to see 4 new athletes, 3 entertainers, and countless others successfully create VC funds! A lot of people ask me how to get into the VC industry and how I got into this business, so I was happy that Mark Hall and Forbes took the time to profile my journey. My path began on Wallstreet as an apprentice and investing my own money first. Anyone interested in being a VC, feel free to ask any questions in the comments!
Mark Hall: “You are a successful investor with a number of well-known startups in your portfolio. Take us back to why you decided to get involved in the venture capital industry in the first place?
In the early 2000s, my company Value Investment Group was an investment and consulting company for urban businesses in Chicago. I started it while doing investment banking at Wachovia in Chicago. We had legal, financial and investment resources for SMBs in Chicago. I also started investing in companies in West Africa through a fund I launched called Dixsville Partners. We wanted to help countries like Liberia rebuild after a civil war. Venture has always been my attempt to help communities and democratize wealth creation in the only way I know how – Finance.
How exactly does one become an investor or venture capitalist? What is truly needed? Tons of money? Access to people? Pedigree?
Anyone can become a VC if they have the following three things:
1. A process for evaluating companies that give you the ability to pick winners who will go on and become successful companies.
2. Access to those types of companies to invest in.
3. Capital to invest in companies. You can have the first two and raise the last one but can’t have the last one without the first two. I tell my mentees to start with a few hundred dollars while in college or high school, and when they interview for jobs in the future they will be able to discuss how they have been investing in companies for two to five years! Gives them a huge leg up.” But first, try investing in the family and friends rounds of people you know and help those businesses build, that’s the best advice I can give people who don’t have experience!