I guess I’ll start with me:
Seeing investing as a career path is something very new to me. I thought I would be a paleontologist, a mathematician, a scientist, a lawyer, and some type of biotech expert in a power-suit. In that order. What I did not expect when I started graduate school was to get pulled into finance, and certainly not entrepreneurship — after all, I don’t have my own business idea. I have come to see quantitative finance and investments as applied science, which is cool because you get to see the results of your research and can quickly test your hypotheses (for the most part). And, I view an understanding of entrepreneurship as a necessity to be able to make effective strategic business decisions. These two new pursuits are a huge part of me challenging myself to become a critical thinker who steps out of the daily grind to make big-picture decisions.
What about VC?
Venture capital (VC) seems like it’s the best of both worlds, as it allows you to think both quantitatively and critically, bringing people together through strategic decisions that can shape a firm’s future. Talk about pressure, though.
I found this article about traits of a good venture capitalist. Despite being from 2011, I think its three main points are pretty timeless: Can you raise money?; Can you find the future greats?; and, Can you generate returns? This tells me that success in the VC world hinges on a strong network, industry expertise, and enough business savvy to know when a deal is good / bad. These three traits of a good venture capitalist seem simple enough, but any one of them would be a tough sell for an unseasoned individual looking to break into the VC world.
Which brings me to Jay Z…
Rap legend Jay Z, the HOV himself, announced earlier this year that he will be launching a venture fund to invest in early-stage start ups! (Check it out here and here). This rules. The fund is set to launch under the “Arrive” moniker, and is designed to be a business arm of Jay’s successful Roc Nation entertainment firm. In addition to launching and selling his own streaming service (Tidal) earlier this year, Jay Z and Roc Nation are no stranger to investing – take a look.
The HOVA may not be a self-proclaimed scientist, sharing my love of quantitative finance, but I identify with that necessity to push for professional growth. He’s certainly got a proclivity for investments, a deep understanding of business savvy, industry expertise, and a huge network. I think he has what it takes to put this fund on the map. It’s inspiring to see success stories of those without traditional business backgrounds pivoting into the world of investments and entrepreneurship. I look forward to seeing good news about Arrive in the headlines.