On 3 December 2021, the Laidlaw Alumni Society met in London to celebrate the launch of Laidlaw Scholars Ventures and explore careers in venture capital.
Our four panelists discussed:
👉 What makes a successful and socially responsible venture capital firm?
👉 What skills are firms looking for in their new hires?
👉 How can students break into this industry?
00:00 - Introductions
03:56 - What is the daily life for VCs and what do they actually do?
05:32 - From an entrepreneur’s perspective, how has VC helped you build up your business?
07:08 - What are the most successful VCs doing right now that’s different to what their competitors are doing?
12:04 - How have you balanced social welfare and capital interest when building your company? How should VCs balance social welfare and capital interest when investing?
17:10 - What encouraged you to switch your attention to entrepreneurship? How has your mixed experience helped you to explore the VC industry?
22:20 - What challenges did you face entering the industry at a high management level? How did you overcome these challenges?
24:28 - What is the difference in role for a CIO or partner, and what advice would you give a recent graduate who aims to become one in the future?
29:50 - How important is it to have work experience in consulting/finance before getting a job in VC?
36:58 - The VC ecosystem is quite closed. What is your advice for students to break into this industry?
42:18 - How do you know which VC firm would be a good fit for you?
47:48 - During the first few months of a junior role in VC, what should you do to stand out?
50:54 - [Audience Question] Can you share a time when you failed as a VC investor? In what context? What did you take away from this?
50:54 - [Audience Question] From the perspective of a founder: what are the key indicators that make you go 'Hmm, I want to work with this founder'?
60:07 - [Audience Question] When you began this job, what was something that surprised you about working with founders, or the key traits that founders had?
62:48 - [Audience Question] How would you say your hard skills translated over from VC now that you run your own business?
Chief Investment Officer, Laidlaw Scholars Ventures
Niall has been working with startups for the last decade, investing and advising CEOs on growth strategies, fundraising and providing introductions to support them as they scale. He joined the Laidlaw Foundation in 2021 from Edge Investments where he led investments, supported as a Board Director and managed exits in high-growth early-stage businesses.
Investment Partner, Eka Ventures
Camilla is a Partner at Eka Ventures. Eka invests in founders creating positive change through solving environmental and social objectives. Prior to founding Eka Ventures, Camilla invested in consumer technology at MMC Ventures focusing on Seed and Series A and then Burda Principal Investments focusing on Series B to Pre-IPO. Camilla started her career at Bain & Company.
Co-Founder and CEO, Mana
James is the Co-Founder & CEO of Mana, the platform for purposeful creators to share their knowledge. James started his career at McKinsey & Company and later worked in venture capital at SoftBank Investment Advisers, where he advised transformations at WeWork and Arm, and led SoftBank’s COVID-19 response. In addition to commercial roles, he has also advised UNICEF GIGA, an initiative to connect schools to the Internet backed by Elon Musk.
MODERATED BY: JOSHUA ZHOU
Josh is the Europe Chapter President of the Laidlaw Foundation’s Alumni Society. He is currently studying for an Economics and Statistics degree at University College London. With his business experience from operations and marketing to venture capital and entrepreneurship, he is determined to become a serial entrepreneur and venture capitalist leading and supporting good businesses in his generation.