Just In Time: Venture Capital Internship

Chris Eng, Class of 2019

Chris Eng, Class of 2019

This summer I interned at ForgePoint Capital, an early-stage venture capital firm focusing on the cybersecurity industry, based in San Mateo, California. My experience with venture capital recruiting at Booth was very much “just-in-time”, with my first interview at ForgePoint occurring in late April/early May. As with most VC internships, there was no formal internship postings on GTS nor on other mediums (e.g., LinkedIn, John Gannon blog, etc.). Instead, the Booth community played a critical role in my internship search last year, with a then Second Year (i.e., Class of 2018 graduate) introducing me to the fund through his cybersecurity network.  

At ForgePoint, I had the opportunity to work on a wide-range of projects in support of the fund.  During my internship, my responsibilities typically fell into one of the following categories: 1) diligence and investment memo development for an active follow-on investment; 2) investment screening/research on active pipeline opportunities; 3) thesis development on emerging/next-gen sectors within cybersecurity; and 4) cybersecurity market analysis and commentary for Limited Partner updates. My primary project over the summer was to lead the diligence process for a follow-on investment of a portfolio company. This included conducting customer reference checks, market/competitive analysis, financial/returns modeling, an onsite company visit, and culminated in a final presentation to the investment committee.

On a day-to-day basis, my activities varied greatly due to the small/lean team size and frequent travel schedule of the Partners. My experience with VC internships is that they involve a high degree of autonomy. There are strict deadlines on when investment memos need to be completed/presented to the investment committee in order to close a funding round. However, few requirements existed around how to manage one’s time in the interim. I really enjoyed this aspect of VC, as it provides the flexibility to manage my own schedule and allocate time to my various deliverables as necessary.

In preparation for my internship, I leveraged a number of Booth resources and courses to hit the ground running on the first day. From a venture capital-specific perspective, Accounting for Entrepreneurship and the VC Lab were extremely helpful courses in developing the technical skills and industry knowledge that were table stakes for a VC internship.  Additionally, from a subject matter perspective, I found Machine Learning and Platform Competition as great resources in helping to evaluate and analyze potential investments. Because ForgePoint is an industry-specific fund, I also heavily relied on the career databases available at Booth, specifically Gartner, to research and learn about the cybersecurity industry. Last, aside from the resources available at Booth, I found industry immersion, in the form of following relevant cybersecurity newsletters, blogs, and industry white papers (e.g., Dark Reading, CSO Online, Momentum Cyber) to be critical in preparing for my internship at ForgePoint.

Chris interned at ForgePoint Capital in the Bay Area following a year-long academic internship at Origin Ventures in Chicago.