First, let me define venture…
Courtesy of Dictionary.com – a venture is “an undertaking involving uncertainty as to the outcome, especially a risky or dangerous one.”
So by “venture” I am not exclusively referring to venture capital. Venture encompasses starting a company, working on a project within a company, adventuring to a new country, trying some crazy food, and then some.
In a general sense, I ‘venture’ because I love it. The adrenaline from some uncertainty, mixed with passion, calculated risk taking, creativity, potential for huge impact, and results is satisfying and addicting.
More specifically, it does just so happen that I work in venture capital, a very common interpretation for the word ‘venture’.
People often ask me why I am interested in venture capital and entrepreneurship. There is a long and short answer to the question.
The short answer is that I want to change the world. And I believe that entrepreneurs have changed, do change, and will continue to change the world. By investing in companies like Google and Amazon, venture capitalists plant a seed with the potential to grow and make a tremendous impact on the world.
If that wasn’t enough to satisfy your curiosity, here’s the long answer:
After starting a company in high school I caught the entrepreneurial bug. Similarly, in high school I was exposed to venture capital, when I attended the Michigan Growth Capital Symposium. A family friend and venture capitalist in Silicon Valley told me about the event and recommended I attend given my interest in entrepreneurship and recent acceptance to the University of Michigan. So I went.
Besides the fact that I stood out like a sore thumb (I was a 17 year old girl that looked age 13 when the average age of participants was probably between 40 and 50), I learned a lot and connected with some great people that continue to be my mentors.
Early on at the University of Michigan I got involved in entrepreneurial-related activities on campus – participating in business plan competitions, studying feasibility of business proposals, and working with student start-up companies. Each year I continued to attend the Michigan Growth Capital Symposium, as well as other related events, from which I made the connection between venture capital and entrepreneurship and my passion to make a positive impact on the world. My experiences with start-ups and the financing side of things (at the Michigan Certified Development Corporation and Michigan Economic Development Corporation – yes, I know, it’s a lot of ‘Development’ and ‘Corporation’ for one sentence), rounded out my skill set and bolstered my interest in melding my interests to create positive change in the world.
Beyond venture capital though, some other cool ventures I have experienced include:
– Rock climbing and surfing
– Traveling to Patagonia, Bulgaria, and Italy
– Acting in Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut
– Eating cow tongue
– Attending the Clinton Global Initiative in Austin, TX
– Working for one of the “coolest small companies in America”
– Delivering a sandwich to Oprah’s best friend, multiple times, to be filmed for Oprah’s show
Expect my posts to pull from my past and current venture experiences, to reflect what I am learning now, ultimately to develop an archive of advice and stories that can be looked back on in the future and hopefully be relevant and useful.
MEL aka VentureGal