June 22, 2023

Want to become a VC? Here's what investors are looking for

Harbouring dreams of finding the next WhatsApp as a VC, but not sure how to get a foot in the door?

Sadia Nowshin

2 min read

New analysis has broken down exactly what requirements the average job ad in VC asks for — from the level of education candidates need to the languages that are most valuable to learn.

The report was written by Slush’s programme curator Konrad Kordowski using data from Startup & VC, John Gannon, InnovatorsRoom and LinkedIn. That means it obviously doesn’t cover all VC jobs; many VCs also don’t publicly advertise roles. 

The report covered jobs posted by 297 firms in Europe and analysed 100 ads each for intern, analyst, associate and investor positions. 


Here are the main takeaways. 

Engineering degrees are most sought after at VC firms

When looking for the number of ads that mentioned a preference for specific degree subject, engineering came up top in ads for every seniority level, followed by business and computer science educations. 

For intern roles, pharmacy degrees came up the fewest number of times, analyst and investor-level jobs were the least bothered about maths degrees and just 11% of associate ads mentioned finance majors. 

Previous VC experience is in demand across the board

A previous role at a VC firm is the most sought after experience for each role — while an intern typically only needed between 0.5 and 1.11 years of experience, 45% of ads mentioned work experience in investment. The emphasis on VC experience increases as seniority grows, with 78% of investor-level ads asking for previous employment in it. 

It’s proof that many VCs still look for hires with similar work backgrounds — though some say the industry should be looking to hire more former founders and operators. 

Learning a second language is the sweet spot

While each role was more likely to just ask for fluency in English, around half of ads at each stage asked for a second language — which makes sense for VCs hiring in Europe. It’s most helpful at analyst level, where it was mentioned in 47% of ads. That’s also easy to understand; analysts are usually the ones helping with sourcing on the ground and meeting founders locally. 

But while two languages is a sought-after skill, learning a third won’t make much of a difference: at each stage, fewer than 10 ads asked for three fluent languages.

👉 Read: Who does what at a VC firm?

Sadia Nowshin

Sadia Nowshin is a reporter at Sifted covering foodtech, biotech and startup life. Follow her on X and LinkedIn