Venture Capital/Opinion/

Dispatches from a London VC: The Gen Z VCs fight for a pay rise

If I don't get paid as much as a Sequodreessen associate, I'm quitting.

Here's to getting paid more. Credit: SKYLAKE STUDIO
Rosie Wood

By Rosie Wood

Rosie Wood is a (fictional) associate at the VC firm Mild Conviction. It’s a generalist, multistage fund with offices in London, Paris and Verbier. They’re not like normal VCs — they don’t need to do a tonne of due diligence to decide on an investment. Instead, they’re simply looking for companies and founders that are pretty good. Because pretty good is usually good enough. Catch up on her other dispatches here. 

In the last instalment of my column, I wrote about how the VC firm that I work for, Mild Conviction, decided to make all members of the team partners (in name only). 

Fund leadership felt that it really reflected how each and every one of us is truly a partner to our founders. And it also solved the problem of female representation at the partner level. Many birds, few stones. 

I was pretty excited about the promotion — my post got so many likes on Twitter and I felt so blessed — until I reflected on the fact that my salary was not quite partner level. And then I got to talking to US VC TikTok influencer Harold Steblings at our AGM. When I heard what Sequodreessen was paying him just to be a venture partner, I decided it was time to take matters into my own hands. 

It was a total lightbulb moment. All our founders complain about US tech companies coming to Europe and paying Silicon Valley salaries and pushing up the cost of talent here. Why shouldn’t junior VCs at European funds also benefit from a bit of Valley benchmarking? 

First, though, I needed to know how much other associates — or is everyone in the industry a partner now? — were being paid if I was going to negotiate some more money. 

Our new marketing partner, Arabella, has been trying to get me to create some #content (I’m not sure why she always refers to it as “hashtag content” and not just “content”, but she is the marketing expert) to improve the firm’s brand with talent and founders. She suggested I come up with some Medium posts about my journey and how Mild Conviction supports its founders, but instead I pitched her a drinks event for Gen Z VCs at Soho House in Paris. 

I convinced her it would be a great way for us to scout up-and-coming talent at our peer funds and also chat a bit of deal flow. She went for it — and even suggested we have freeflow champagne. 

If there’s one thing I’ve learnt working in VC, it’s that VCs are enemies until cooperating is mutually convenient. Like when you need someone to follow-on in a non-performing portfolio company or when you need an intro to that stealth fintech started by the fourth cofounder of Klarna. Nearly everyone we invited RSVPed. 

If there’s one thing I’ve learned working in VC, it’s that VCs are enemies until cooperating is mutually convenient

As the champagne flowed in Paris, we chatted about our pet peeves — investment memos and 2am board meetings. It was actually kind of fun to commiserate! And then I brought everyone in on the real reason for our gathering: we would create a secret Google Doc with all our anonymised salaries so we could negotiate for what we deserved. We needed to be making at least €150k or we were going to quit and go to the Americans. 

I’ll keep you updated on how our plans go.

But what’s even better, when Arabella told our managing partner Rupert Nickerson that I had organised the Gen Z VCs group, he told her that we needed to get me on Forbes 30 Under 30! I don’t know if I’m even remotely qualified, but it would be an honour… Does anyone know how the nominations work? 

Anyway, sorry this got so long! If you’re another Gen Z VC looking for a raise or a founder looking to fundraise, please reach out. Sifted gave me an email ([email protected]) or you can find me on Twitter @Mild_Conviction

In the meantime, let me know how I can be helpful, 

Rosie

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