Tanja Kuzman: Continuing my VC journey

Nowadays, understanding startups and VC funding seems quite easy with all the blogs, vlogs, books and other online resources. So you can easily get caught up in thinking that you know a lot about investors and what is necessary for a founder to succeed. However, grasping a true VC-investor mindset is so much more from what you can read.

My journey within the VC world started in November 2016 after being given an opportunity to be part of the Campus Capital Student VC team at the University of Sheffield. At that point in time I was a PhD student in Finance with over five years of professional experience in corporate/public finance, financial markets, corporate governance etc. Throughout years I followed the developments in the startup ecosystem, but I never thought that there is a completely different financial world related to startups and VCs.

I made my first steps in a VC-startup world at the Campus Capital boot camp. In a supportive atmosphere and through interaction with business experts, I learned how to evaluate pitch decks, perform a comprehensive market analysis, identify the startup competition and determine real costs of running a startup. We also talked about key performance indicators (KPIs), how to cross check their validity, which of them provide investors with the most relevant information and how to translate them into understanding a startup potential.

“In a supportive atmosphere and through interaction with business experts, I learned how to evaluate pitch decks, perform a comprehensive market analysis, identify the startup competition and determine the real costs of running a startup.”

The real-life experience of being a VC and participating in all the processes that exist within a VC fund came right after the boot camp. With the first pitch decks coming through we had to apply all the gained knowledge. By being part of a such a diverse team, I got a chance to broaden my expertise beyond finance, be part of constructive discussions, and get a better understanding of certain groundbreaking technologies and products.

The team deliberation and analysis lead to interaction with founders. Founder meetings enabled me to grasp what the investors are looking for in terms of founder’s characteristics, how to read certain non-verbal signs, how to ask all the tough questions, read through founders reactions and provide a constructive feedback. With all the impressions and additional information provided by founders, the team would make a final recommendation regarding investment. So why would this experience be valuable for any student?

On one hand, the experience of being a Student VC provides you with a skills set that is crucial if you want to become a VC after you finish your studies. On the other hand, if you decide to become a startup founder you’ll know exactly what the investors are looking for, thus having a huge advantage when compared to other startup founders without this experience. And if you decide to build your career outside the VC-startup world, you’ll be able to use the gained knowledge on extracting information, performing analysis, evaluating decisions and providing constructive feedback in any industry you decide to work in.

At the end of this post I have to share an exciting news as well. I am truly happy to announce that I will continue my journey in the VC-startup world at Campus Capital HQ as a Principal. I hope to see many of you as part of our Campus Capital Community and Campus Capital Student VC teams!

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