scorecardA former Dropbox employee who moved to VC and made partner in 2 years shares his best advice for how to break into investing
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A former Dropbox employee who moved to VC and made partner in 2 years shares his best advice for how to break into investing

Melia Russell   

A former Dropbox employee who moved to VC and made partner in 2 years shares his best advice for how to break into investing
Tech2 min read
mark goldberg

Index Ventures

Mark Goldberg.

  • Mark Goldberg, a partner at Index Ventures, took a title cut for his job in venture capital.
  • It felt like a step backward, he told Harry Stebbings on an episode of "The Twenty Minute VC," a venture-capital podcast.
  • The title cut put him on a path to becoming a partner at the firm, where he focuses on investments in financial services, insurance, real estate, and enterprise software.
  • His advice to people who want to break into the venture-capital industry is to take a position because of its responsibilities, not its title.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Four years ago, Mark Goldberg was working as a business-strategy and operations lead at Dropbox when he interviewed for an entry-level position at Index Ventures in San Francisco.

It was only a little soul-crushing, he told the podcaster and venture capitalist Harry Stebbings on a recent episode of "The Twenty Minute VC."

"I was 30 years old, and I was offered a position as an associate. I'd been an associate eight years earlier in my career at a private-equity fund, so it felt like, from a title perspective, I was taking this massive step backward," Goldberg, who is now a partner at the firm, said.

An associate is the rough equivalent of a line cook in a restaurant kitchen. They don't usually have the ability to write checks, which puts their station below a partner or principal. At most private-equity shops, associates are responsible for sourcing deals and researching companies as part of the diligence process before their firm makes an investment.

Even though Goldberg had worked as a senior associate at a small investment firm before joining a startup, he took the title cut at Index Ventures.

"The reason I did it was because what Index promised me was a flat hierarchy, a ton of autonomy, and the ability to start doing investments," Goldberg told Stebbings on the podcast. "That is really, I think, what has given me the chance to learn and improve in this job very quickly."

As an associate, he surfaced deals including Built, Nova Credit, and CoverWallet, and worked closely with fast-growing software startups in the portfolio, like Pilot and Intercom. He carved a niche in investing in technologies related to financial services, insurance, real estate, and enterprise software, and in 2018, he was promoted to partner.

His takeaway was that a job's responsibilities are more important than the title.

"I guess my advice to investors a little earlier in their career would be to find a platform that is willing to give you autonomy and to let you learn and open the aperture of risk," Goldberg said. "Because you need to get comfortable with that, and that's how you're going to become a great investor."

You can listen to the full episode of "The Twenty Minute VC" here.

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