I’d like to start this post by apologizing for completely going dark for a few weeks now. It all started with a company cruise to Mexico over a long weekend. I slept in each day during the cruise and this completely took me off my weekly routines of waking up early, going to the gym, and writing my blog posts. Surprisingly, I have struggled getting back into the swing of things since then! The lesson for me here is I am pretty sensitive to changes in my routine so I need to be careful when it comes to really changing things up.
With that being said, today I finally made time to sit down and write another post. In all my posts to date I spent time talking about my financial past, my thoughts on future goals, and also digging in to my personal psychology. However, I haven’t written about what I do for my day job yet so I wanted to dedicate today’s post to that topic. Without further delay, lets jump into it!
What do I spend 90% of my time and energy doing during the week?
In short, I work at an early-stage startup investment firm based in Silicon Valley. Our firm aims to do 3 main things: find, invest in, and accelerate the best startups from around the world.
In addition to investing, we also run 14 industry-specific acceleration programs together with our network of over 250+ global corporate partners. Let’s dig in to what we do a little further to help connect all the dots.
A little more detail on the company
As stated before, our HQ is in Silicon Valley, however, we have over 26 offices around the world including Germany, France, Japan, China, Singapore, New York City, Cleveland, and Abu Dhabi to name a few. These global offices serve a few different functions:
- They give us the ability to have local teams who can really engage with our corporate partners on a more intimate level.
- In addition to engaging with local corporate partners, these global offices also allow us to source startups from around the world and bring them to and from Silicon Valley.
Early Stage Investors
Above everything else and what drives all of our operations is investing. We have consistently been ranked among Silicon Valley’s most active investors by number of deals made. Just to give you an idea, last year we made around 67 investments out of our Silicon Valley office alone. As far as our deal sizes go, we invest anywhere from $50,000 to $500,000 with our average check size being around $150,000.
We have consistently been ranked among Silicon Valley’s most active investors by number of deals made.
We don’t lead rounds and we don’t take board seats – as you can imagine, with a portfolio of over 700 companies it would be hard to manage all of those meetings.
Examples of past investments include Dropbox Inc., a file hosting service headquartered in San Francisco, California; PayPal Holdings, Inc., a worldwide online payments system that supports online money transfers and serves as an electronic alternative to traditional paper methods like checks and money orders; and LendingClub, the world’s largest peer-to-peer lending platform.
Industry-specific Acceleration Programs
The last part of our business is our acceleration programs. Over the last 6 years we have created a network of over 250+ corporations that are actively coming to Silicon Valley to meet with startups that are helping these corporations:
- Decrease costs
- Increase operational efficiencies
- Increase revenues
- And challenge the status quo
These corporate partners work together with us across our 14 different startup accelerator programs. These programs focus on areas including: Fintech, Insurtech, IoT, Mobility, Real Estate & Construction, Retail, Supply Chain, and more.
Our partners benefit from these programs through a variety of ways:
- Exposure to a variety of technologies and innovations
- Learning from other organizations on how they approach innovation
- Opportunities to drive cultural change within their organizations by exposing their teams to innovation
- Networking and collaborating with members from both their industry and others
What do I like most about my job?
There are a few parts of my job that I particularly enjoy, or, at the very minimum, I realize there are opportunities to learn specific skills. The biggest opportunities I see are around sales, marketing, management, and then there is just the ability to really learn a large amount about different industries. I am lucky in that as the director of a program I get insight into what is happening both on the business development side of things, or in other words, how to drive sales, and what is happening on the investment side.
This gives me insight both in to how corporations from all sides of the sector think – it also allows me to see where startups are focusing their energy and how they approach problems.
I also get experience marketing events. Even though I don’t see myself working as an event marketer in the future, the ability to get people interested in a specific topic is a lifelong lesson I want to maximize.
Finally, managing a team is one of the hardest things I am learning to do. Even if I don’t see myself in a corporate setting in the future, there is a decent probability I will have to manage a team even if I own a company one day.
One last thing…
I recently realized I spread myself a little thin in regards to all the different things I was trying to accomplish. For the time being I will be focusing more of my time on “work,” and putting my side-hustles a bit more on the back-burner until I start to see proficiencies in my job. This way, instead of being mediocre at a lot of things, I can slowly but surely become good at a few things.
With that being said, I will still be posting on this blog regularly as I truly enjoy getting my thoughts out on paper. Thanks for your time and feel free to drop me a line if you have any questions or comments!