As Frank Sinatra’s famous saying goes “New York, if you can make it here you can make it anywhere.” This might be true for some professions, but for the world’s great entrepreneurs, San Francisco is the ultimate title of success. As an entrepreneur, if you can make it there, you can probably succeed in any startup ecosystem across the world.
For years, Silicon Valley has been the beacon of hope for entrepreneurs around the world. Breaking into this scene is difficult but can be incredibly rewarding. Now there is a new elite selection process in Silicon Valley, for the best of the best, to turn them into entrepreneur superstars.
Venture University, a multi-stage investment fund and trade school for angel investing, venture capital and private equity, has successfully completed its first cohort and made its first investments.
Venture University is training the future leaders in venture capital and private equity. It offers both academic and hands-on training programs to help angels, family offices, new fund managers, undergraduate and graduate students, entrepreneurs, corporates, and experienced professionals, break into the industry of investing in higher risk/higher return private companies and become experts in the wild west world of finance, i.e. venture capital and private equity.
Venture University’s trade school, designed as an Investor Accelerator, includes a VC/PE Investment Apprenticeship and Academic Program and was launched earlier this year. Individuals are sourced from thousands of applications and <2% are accepted, making it more competitive to get into than an Ivy League school or top MBA program.
The first cohort sourced over 850+ companies across five verticals: artificial intelligence, robotics, marketplaces, enterprise services and consumer products. The cohort selected four investments and is co-investing with some of the top venture capital and private equity funds in the world. Each deal sourcing team presented at “Reverse Demo Days” in Silicon Valley and in San Francisco. These demo days are also a chance for the VC/PE industry and HR professionals to meet Venture University’s highly curated and trained cohort of individuals who are looking to join as investment analysts, associates, principals, and partners.
Venture University’s first cohort of 17 individuals were selected from 3,200+ applications (~0.5% acceptance rate) and were more diverse than a typical investment fund: ~25% of the cohort were women (vs. ~15% of the applicants), individuals were from Afghanistan, Austria, Caribbean, China, India, Iran, Nigeria, and across the United States, ages ranged from an individual entering their freshman year of college to experienced professionals with 20+ yrs of work experience, ivy educated and non-ivy educated, five angel investors, and two new fund managers. Of the ten individuals that were looking for jobs after the program, seven have already received job offers in VC/PE and others are currently interviewing.
Unlike other industries, venture capital is not reliant on clear-cut requirements and a degree from a prestigious university will not always guarantee a foot in the door. The industry also has few female startup founders and investors, and less than 3% of investment professionals are African-American or Latino. Venture University is striving to change this by offering its apprenticeship program to people from different backgrounds who perhaps do not have the initial investment experience or connections to break into the industry as easily on their own.
“At Venture University we believe venture capital not only has the power to innovate industries and generate significant returns, but can also innovate itself for the benefit of entrepreneurs and investors,” said, J. Skyler Fernandes, Co-Founder and General Partner at Venture University. “Learning on the job is the best form of education for people looking to start a career in venture capital and private equity. Our individuals make real investments as part of their training alongside top tier investors and they also participate in the financial upside.”
Disclosure: This article includes a client of an Espacio portfolio company