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Building Lasting VC Relationships as a Venture Associate

Tell us about yourself

I grew up in New Hampshire and studied finance at the University of New Hampshire. While in school I ran investment operations for a family office, managed deals for an angel investment group, led a student-run angel fund, and worked at a pre-revenue startup.

Before AngelList I worked as a credit analyst at Silicon Valley Bank, where I focused on underwriting venture debt for venture-backed startups that needed to expand runway while avoiding dilution. Outside of work I enjoy hiking and camping in the White Mountains, exploring new restaurants, and long distance running. I currently live in Boston. 

What attracted you to AngelList Venture?

I’ve always been interested in risk capital—how early-stage companies obtain it and how investors deploy it. I found AngelList Venture attractive because it represented a new on-ramp for an abundance of money that previously had poor distribution into startups. There are countless high net worth individuals across the globe looking for interesting places to park their capital. I couldn’t find anyone else in the market that had mastered the art of getting non-traditional investor money into the most exciting companies (and doing it at scale).

When did you know you ‘had to have’ the Venture Associate job?

I found myself talking about AngelList Venture’s products to whoever would listen. When angels and VCs in my network started coming to me with questions about these products, I realized I could talk about it for a living as a Venture Associate. 

For non-technical people like myself, it’s not always easy to find an operating role that aligns with your core skill set. As a finance worker with a strong interest in technology investing, I saw the Venture Associate role as an opportunity to build startup operating experience in a field that I’m truly passionate about. 

How did your job at Silicon Valley Bank prepare you to be a Venture Associate? 

Silicon Valley Bank is a truly foundational entity in the venture ecosystem, for both founders and investors. My time there taught me a lot about what a well capitalized company looks like “under the hood.” More importantly, it taught me the importance of relationships in the tech industry. Even though the rate of startup creation is accelerating faster than ever, it’s still an incredibly small world. People remember how they are treated and recognize the value of good actors.

What do you hope to accomplish during your time at AngelList Venture?

I want to build lasting relationships with the next generation of incredible fund managers. Historically, venture capital has been a tight-knit community where a small pool of investors run the whole show. We’re now in the age of the solo capitalist, where smart people can easily translate their thesis on a market into a real investing career. I don’t think anyone truly understands what this market will look like when anyone can have a seat at the table, but I know I’d like to play a role in this transformation. 

What have you learned about the venture industry through your job?

I’ve learned that many of the best companies in Silicon Valley (and beyond) are actually quite willing to take on small checks from supportive people. It’s somewhat of a myth that being an angel investor means you need to be writing $50K+ checks on a weekly basis. As Harry Hurst puts it, “Amazing operators can leverage their networks to raise funds with awesome LPs. They write smaller checks, but have an incredibly favorable ‘check size to helpfulness ratio.’ They hustle.”

How did AngelList / the Venture Associate role exceed your expectations?

I think the most surprising part about my first few weeks at the company was realizing how small it is in relation to its impact. With a team of just over 100 people, we’re deploying millions of dollars into startups every month. It wouldn’t be possible without everyone having a deep level of trust in each other, paired with constant willingness to help other team members in need. The supportive Venture Associate team and company as a whole absolutely exceeded my expectations. 

What’s your top life hack for Venture Associates?

Learn how to treat your email inbox like a to-do list. Organized tagging, message snoozing, and scheduling responses for later can help you reach (and maintain) inbox zero.

What advice do you have for new Venture Associates?

Become deeply familiar with the wants and needs of angels and VCs. Try putting yourself in the shoes of someone who wants to capitalize on their proprietary deal flow. When might they want to run a syndicate? At what point would it make sense to launch a fund? Use these guiding questions to put our product offerings into perspective. This helped me understand how impactful the AngelList Venture product suite is to the broader VC market.  


If you’d like to learn more about working as a Venture Associate at AngelList, feel free to contact Nick directly at [email protected]