- The best VCs are company builders. Use your experience and strengths to go beyond the check with your portfolio companies.
- In order to be a diverse investor, start from the roots up and build a diverse network and LP base.
- Find a way to get started. Get involved with startups in any way — join a syndicate or make small angel investments. It’s not about how much money you’re investing. It’s about your ability to choose great companies, support them, and be helpful on the cap table without expecting anything in return.
Alana Anderson started as a computer science student at Columbia University with a passion for product management and solving developer pain points. After product management internships with Cisco’s AppDynamics and Blend, Alana moved to the check-writing side of the table at Rough Draft Ventures, General Catalyst’s fund for student entrepreneurs. She started building her network as part of Sequoia’s scout program, a community of students watching out for emerging student founders.
From there, Alana interned at Greylock in their enterprise investment team. She described it as an “eyeopening” experience where she saw how much time VCs truly spent helping build and support their portfolio companies — something she really enjoyed doing — rather than simply writing checks and scouting new companies all the time. During this time, she got to know Elad Gil — the serial entrepreneur, operator, investor, and advisor — who became a key mentor. In 2019, Alana moved back for two years to the product side at the fast-growing startup Samsara.
“Join a mid-size, fast-growing startup when you’re right out of school. It makes sense for a few reasons:
1️⃣ While the chances of failure are still there, you get the opportunity to join a rocketship with all of the…