Why VCs and 03 venture capitalists that inspired me
This summer, I am interning at a venture capital (VC) firm in Hanoi, Vietnam. The question I’ve been asked the most since the start of my internship is: “Why VCs?”
I have a thousand answers for this question but it all comes down to one reason: The people!
For every decision I make in life, I am thankful for always having some people that inspire and support me along the way to make the move and take the risk. The decision to have the first summer internship at a VC firm is no exception. Here are three venture capitalists who play the key role in shaping my aspiration to explore the VC world and discover a new aspect of myself.
From Tel Aviv…
I first encountered the VC world two years ago in the start-up nation, Israel. I had heard the term ‘venture capital’ a few times before but it was not until I met Avram M., former vice president of Intel and founder of Intel Capital, that I understood what it really was. Avram is someone I greatly admire and respect, not only for his extraordinarily successful career as in the tech world but also for his sincerely warm hear that never stops caring about the well-being of other people. He was the one that taught me the first lesson about the very fundamental knowledge of the field. His perspectives and advice guided me a lot during the early stage of my professional path.
He told me: “If you want to gain an overall idea of how an organization works, it is not a smart idea to start off working for Google, Facebook, Intel or any big corporates. Because you will be working for only one part in the big organization there, you will not be able to achieve a general perspective of the entire system. Thus, the best environment to try and to learn in your early career is whether a start-up or a venture capital firm. By working there, you will gain a generalist idea of how everything works and how everything is connected, which is extremely important for later on when you want to run your own start-up”.
You can read more about this amazing man at his personal blog: https://twothirdsdone.com/
I got to know Bob through the introduction of Avram. They have been good friends for decades since they both were in VP positions of two tech companies. Bob is currently managing his own Wellesley-based venture capital firm that he founded a few years ago. When talking to Bob, I could feel a strong vibe of kindness, sincerity and passion radiated from this senior man. Bob is extremely passionate about helping start-ups and young entrepreneurs to succeed. Bob was the one who showed me to look at the VC world from a different perspective. Forget about those VCs that only focus on making money! For Bob, it’s not about the money that keeps him in this career path. The most enjoyable part, according to Bob, is becoming a mentor and a partner that walk together with start-ups to move forward. “That happiness when seeing the progress of the start-up you invest and mentor is something that no money can bring” – Bob told me.
I met Mr. Duc, my current boss at the VC firm in Hanoi, last year when I was organizing FuckUp Nights Vol.1, the event where entrepreneurs share about their past failures. I remember struggling a lot during that time as I just got back to Vietnam after finishing high school in Israel; I had no money, no credibility (just not yet!), and no connections in the start-up ecosystem in Hanoi. I sent emails to invite guest speakers and asked for sponsorship; no one replied. When I was so desperate and about to give up, I met Mr. Duc, who was then the founder of a Vietnamese watch brand and manager at a venture capital firm. He was the first one to agree to speak at the event. He spent a lot of time working with my organization team during promotion time and also helped us a lot by referring the event to other entrepreneurs and potential sponsors. He shared that the biggest motive for him to do all of this is to build the community and expand the kindness circle. He believed that mutual support plays a key role in the development of the start-up ecosystem and that applies to any relationship in life in general.