How to Decide if a Career in Venture Capital is Right for You
As Our Colleague Kate Stern Departs Homebrew To Go Back to Company Building, Here’s Her Advice
At Homebrew we’ve stayed a very small group by design, believing at the earliest stages of a company, continuity of relationship between the investor and founders is essential to preserve trust and context. But sometimes growing the team isn’t just about adding another set of hands, but a different set of experiences, interests and capabilities. And that’s what we had the chance to do in early 2019 when Kate Stern joined Homebrew. We mutually anticipated it would be a three year role, after which Kate could decide if she liked investing or wasn’t ready to leave the world of operating (she joined us from 5+ years at Uber). During this period we, and the Homebrew founders, have benefited tremendously from Kate’s work. So it felt appropriate as she gets ready to leave the firm to celebrate her and share her reflections with us.
Homebrew: Looking back at our “Welcome Kate” blog post three years ago, what were you thinking at the time. What was the process of joining us like from your end?
Kate Stern: First of all, it’s hard to believe that was three whole years ago — time has really flown! Thinking back…
Normal first day nerves! I’d been at Uber for almost five years and it was so comfortable — any new role would have felt like a big change for me, but moving into the venture world felt particularly intimidating. VC is a relatively opaque industry, and it was hard to know what to expect. I’m so grateful to have gotten the chance to really apprentice alongside the two of you! In those first few weeks, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, so I just shadowed you two in everything to try to figure out what I was supposed to be doing.
Once I gained a little more confidence, I was blown away by the pace of learning. There’s so much context required to really understand portfolio companies, and there’s no real way to learn it without diving in head first. This is even harder when it comes to evaluating new companies and learning what great investments look like. In one day, you’ll have to develop a strong opinion about a dozen different industries. In this job, I really…