The press frequently highlights partners, the highest-level managers at American venture capital funds, but we rarely hear about the people they work alongside — the employees who, more often than not, do the grunt work to make deals happen. These analysts, associates, senior associates, principals, entrepreneurs-in-residence, talent scouts, and platform operators usually do not receive “carry,” which means they do not directly financially benefit when a portfolio company gets acquired or IPOs.
What’s more, very few funds directly promote associates, senior associates, and principals to partner. Anyone familiar with the VC recruiting process has heard the line “this isn’t a partner-track position” more times than they can count. Associate roles are generally understood to be two-year positions.
Given carry and partnerships are the primary financial drivers for people inspired to get into VC, you wouldn’t be crazy to question why nonpartner VCs do what they do, how they advance, and what their day-to-day actually looks like. I certainly held these questions when I made the jump from working in journalism to working in VC and early stage startups.
Thankfully, the future is bright. The next-generation of leaders in VC are far more diverse than tech and VC as we know it, representing inclusion and equity among different genders, races, geographies, socioeconomic backgrounds, sexual orientations, and more. These VCs are committed to finding, funding, and building progressive companies committed to inclusion and change. Hearing from them should change your perspective on tech’s future for the better, and there’s no one better to start with than Sydney Thomas.
Thomas is presently a Senior Associate at Precursor Ventures, the early stage fund based out of San Francisco and run by Charles Hudson. Precursor is three and a half years old, and recently closed its second fund with $31 million in capital commitments, as TechCrunch reports. Precursor’s now-three person investment team has closed over 75 investments, and Thomas has been along for the entire ride. Supermaker spoke with Thomas to learn about her role, responsibilities, and vision for change in and beyond Silicon…