Passing It On

Yesterday evening as I was leaving the office, I stopped in our conference room where Andrew was walking Christina though a liquidation model. Andrew was drawing a graph of proceeds by class of stock on the whiteboard. I wish I had pulled out my phone and snapped a photo.

Andrew has been with us for almost four years and this is his last week. I wrote about his departure on the USV blog back in March. I remember teaching him about liquidation models and how to construct them early on in his tenure with us.

Now Andrew is the teacher and Christina is the pupil. A few years from now Christina will be the teacher and someone else (maybe you) will be the pupil.

Venture capital is best learned in an apprenticeship model. That's how I learned it and I am eternally grateful to Milton and Bliss who taught me well.

We have a two year and out model for junior investment professionals at USV. Charlie, Andrew, Eric, and now Christina have gone through it. Charlie and Andrew are active in the venture business with firms we admire and work with regularly. And Eric is now with Foursquare, helping them work with partners who want to be on the foursquare platform. We are incredibly proud of the people who have come through our firm and moved on to bigger and better things.

Christina will be the first person many of you meet when you contact USV for the next couple years. She introduced herself on the USV blog yesterday. Give it a read and you'll see why we hired her.

It's not easy going through an exhaustive hiring process every couple years. We considered about 350 people for Christina's position, interviewed over 50 and met with close to 20. Many think our hiring process is unduly taxing on us and wonder why we would choose to do it every two years when we have hired so many amazing people. To me the answer is easy, it turns our firm into a school of sorts. A place where talented young people can come and learn the venture business for a couple years and then go off and be an entrepreneur or VC or something else. We are slowly but surely sowing the seeds of the next generation of leaders of the startup ecosystem.

That's what I saw in our conference room yesterday evening and it was a proud moment for me.