eff Franco, Dylan Hoffman, and Douglas Munsey all have ties to Touchdown Ventures, a firm that partners with large businesses and corporations to manage their VC programs.
But all three of these now successful venture capitalists took different paths to get there.
After college, Franco worked in investment banking, private equity, and then a sales strategy and operations role with a private medtech company. Hoffman began his professional career as a strategy consultant at Accenture, before traveling the world for a year and then starting his own co-working and childcare business. Munsey worked in equity research before taking an operating role at a medical device startup.
One commonality in Franco, Hoffman, and Munsey’s journey is that they all joined the GoingVC program to help them transition from their finance and startup roles into venture capital.
GoingVC is a 16-week program that trains aspiring venture capitalists on the skills they need to succeed in the industry, giving participants real-world practice and providing valuable information and preparation for the VC hiring process, while simultaneously creating a large ecosystem to network in.
Following their time with the GoingVC program, Franco did a three-month internship withTouchdown; Hoffman is now a senior associate at Touchdown and Munsey is currently a venture investor at the firm.
“GoingVC holds frequent events with investors from across the country. Touchdown participated in one of these events and I had the chance to get to know the team and learn more about its unique model of venture capital as a service,” saidFranco. “Dylan and I knew each other before our time at Touchdown since we are both affiliated with the Wharton MBA program, but I think our involvement inGoingVC helped strengthen our relationship and he has been a tremendous help throughout my career.”
Hoffman was able to secure his role with Touchdown through his connection via the WhartonMBA program at the University of Pennsylvania. One of the founding partners went to Wharton back in the day and the firm has since hired many graduates from the school.
Hoffman tapped into that network and says he “bothered” Touchdown's hiring lead for a few months before securing an interview. Franco is also in the Wharton MBA program, and Munsey landed his role through a referral from a principal atTouchdown that had gone to the University of California at Berkeley, which is where he got his MBA.
Franco says his favorite part of GoingVC was thesis development, where two or three cohort members collaborate and dive deep into a specific sector, which helped him learn about how VC firms think. It also helped Franco form a differentiated viewpoint on the sector he studied, understand the trends that could unfold in the coming years, and learn about specific startups poised to disrupt the sector.
Hoffman said his favorite part was GoingVC’s investor program, where he got paired with Wharton alumni Shawn Xu. He added that the tight-knit group of active members provided exposure to lots of interesting companies at each meeting.
Ultimately,GoingVC served as a microcosm of what VC would actually look like in the real world. While there are lots of benefits and reasons that make VC a truly great industry to work in, there are also lots of challenges as well.
Both Franco and Hoffman said one of the big challenges they regularly deal with is the high volume of startups they come across.
Franco said it can be difficult to get past the glossy marketing materials and fancy pitch decks and ultimately decide to pass on an opportunity. It requires discipline, conviction, emotional regulation, business acumen, and the capability to quickly evaluate markets and business models, he said. Hoffman added that investors need to be able to quickly learn how to identify signals and rapidly make decisions so they don't waste the entrepreneur's or their own time.
But this is where GoingVC’s community can come in handy because it helps members develop the skills to improve their investment decision-making process. It also provides an active network to lean on when facing these challenges.
“It’s always great to see a familiar face and have people to connect with, especially given the social challenges in starting with a new team fully remote,” Munsey said. “Venture capital is an industry where your network is of paramount importance, so coming in with connections is always helpful.”
“Jeff and I set up one-on-one sessions to touch base periodically and see how we could help each other through our new roles,” added Hoffman. “I think this behavior embodies what GoingVC is all about – providing a community where members can ask questions, seek advice, and start to develop lifelong relationships.”