A Sense of Community at VC Firm

This is part of series of posts by recipients of the 2020 Career Services Summer Funding Grant. We’ve asked funding recipients to reflect on their summer experiences and talk about the industries in which they spent their summer. You can read the entire series here.

This entry is by Joshua Baek, COL ’23

This summer, I had the opportunity to intern at Ravv, a venture capital firm based out of Milpitas, California focused on intercontinental deep tech incubation and investments.

Being a VC analyst gave me a solid foundation on how to holistically analyze businesses, construct financial models, and prepare effective, concise presentations. Learning the ins and outs of the diligence process– that is, analyzing the business model, the founder dynamic, traction, revenue, customer outreach processes, suppliers, etc– while challenging at times, was an incredible learning experience. I’d taken AP Micro and Macroeconomics in high school, and I started a couple businesses of my own, but it was only through this experience that I truly began to understand the fundamentals for building successful, scalable enterprises.

My favorite part about the position was that I got to speak to founders regularly. I’d, on one hand, get to learn about the startup’s respective industry, but on the other hand, get to offer my own criticisms and provide value. As I witnessed the process of how their startups progressed from ideation to becoming profitable, I developed my own skills as a futurist. One of the most exciting things about being a VC, I learned, is that you’re able see trends and consumer behaviors before they reach the mainstream. Getting to have that inside look definitely changed my outlook on what it meant to be an entrepreneur, and I’m excited to continue to learn and expand my horizons.

While there is some aspect of competition among VCs, I’ve found that there is something to be said about the sense of community. Getting to intern with Ravv afforded me not only a rich network of VC-preneurs within the firm, but an even richer, more vibrant community online. It’s been incredibly informative hearing about others’ interpretations of certain industries as well as their experiences working in VC.

My biggest takeaway from this experience is that culture fit is tremendously important when determining whether a VC is the right place to work at. To start, I was one of few interns who weren’t proficient in Mandarin, which made team communications difficult, and narrowed the pool of people whom I could work with. This wasn’t necessarily an absolute negative, however, as now, I’m that much closer to being able to survive in Mandarin speaking countries!

The internship was unpaid, and it was solely because of the funding grant from Career Services that I was able to pursue this opportunity! The summer was definitely challenging, but I stepped away from the experience with a newfound sense of direction, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

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