Scarcity Mindset is a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy in Venture Capital


https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2015/06/steven-a-cohen-pet-pig.html?gtm=top&gtm=bottom

First, you might be wondering, what is scarcity mindset? 

When you are living in a scarcity mindest, you believe that there will never be enough [1]. So you hoard.

You hoard power, money, ideas.

VC is living in a scarcity mindset because it has become addicted to hoarding despite operating in an ecosystem of abundance. There is more capital and more entrepreneurs than ever and yet what we’ve seen is that funds have raised more money, hired fewer people and forced more money into fewer companies. 

Something has to change.

But before we get into what should change, let’s get into how we got here. 


The VC Industry has grown significantly over the last 10 years

VC investing reached an all-time high last year. $130.9 billion was invested into US-based startups.

That is more than the entire GDP of Ukraine, Morocco or Ecuador. 

Plus there were more firms created last year than ever before over the last 10 years.

But more money is chasing fewer deals 🤔

More money is chasing fewer deals and as a result, fewer deals are able to IPO. 

The decreasing number of IPOs can be due to a number of factors. One of them is that VCs believe that fewer deals are great and “deserve to IPO”. I think this is a misnomer and self-fulling prophecy because if all VCs think that only a few deals are great, then only a few deals will be great. Luckily there is a growing trend of voices who don’t believe this — like Greenspring Associates who recently wrote that: “the market is expansive and filled with opportunities, when approached with an open mind.” [2]

Another, more tactical factor is that IPOs are expensive and large banks only want to do the biggest ones with the biggest market cap because these have the most potential to impact their bottom line. 

However, this same song has been played before and the chorus goes: “bigger is not better”

As VC firms and investment banks opt for larger market capitalizations, the growth of these companies after IPO has decreased. 

Which makes intuitive sense — if you wait to invest into a company until after it’s worth $3B, the likelihood of it growing to become worth $10B is low, because they’ve already squeezed so much juice out of the lemon. 

As a result, the IPO market has been described as: “a holding pen for massive, sleepy corporations” [2.5].

How do we prevent this from happening to VC?


If VC wants to continue generating the returns it has in the past, it needs to get out of its scarcity mindset. How?

1. Build a bigger tent

This scarcity mindset impacts how VCs are investing in companies and their own teams. 

I recently read that having a scarcity mindset makes people more racist [3]. 

If this is true, we are seeing it play out in venture both in the types of teams VCs back and the types of people VCs hire/promote. 

Only 2% of venture capital funding goes to women entrepreneurs, and less than 5% of entrepreneurs backed by venture capital firms are black or Latinx [4].

Venture Capital teams aren’t doing much better. The number of female partners only increased from 2017 to 2018 by 2% and the number of black and latino investors decreased [5].

But does this have to be true? The data shows that there is enough capital to spread around and that if firms were creative, there are enough venture capital jobs to go around as well. 

2. Enable Public Access to Early Stage Funds

“The pre-IPO market has become the IPO market of the past, but it’s only available to investors such as venture capital firms, mutual funds and hedge funds able to put up large amounts of money that once were only available through public markets.” [6]

If a pension fund is able to invest a person’s pension into a VC fund, why can’t that person decide to invest into another entity that invests into a VC fund?

Let’s be clear, I am not advocating that individuals should be investing their own retirement dollars into investment firms directly. Instead, I’m thinking of something more in line with Fundrise, but for VC funds. Something that allows the public market to have diversified access to early stage investment firms. Especially as the availability of pensions continue to wade, giving fewer and fewer everyday people access to these early investment opportunities which are driving the largest returns. 

3. Act Like We’re the Longest Assetholders (because we are)

Back in its heyday, one of Kleiner Perkins’ biggest investments was a $100K check into Genentech. It turned into $47 billion three decades later [8].

As we continue to invest in the future of a world we can’t even imagine, we are going to have to take risks on ecosystems, people and ideas that are out of this world crazy. We can’t invest in what would work right now, because the point is that just because it works now, doesn’t mean it will work later. Instead, we are choosing to invest in the unknown — into something that might work in the future. 

This lens towards investing in weird, crazy ideas has always been a nomenclature of VC, but this hasn’t actually played out. Instead, the industry has decided to rally around big buzzwords every few years. Big data! AI! Cannabis! Instead of taking a longer and more humble view on the fact that the future is unpredictable. And instead of trying to move it in our favor, by overcapitalizing a few “winners”, perhaps we should be open to a world where more people were given a chance at bat and in return we had a more comprehensive stake in an unpredictable world. 


“In the United States, for example, “trickle down” economic policies that support tax cuts for the rich with the aim of boosting economic growth and jobs have led to a $2 trillion annual redistribution of wealth from the bottom 99 percent of earners to the top 1 percent over the last 30 years, said Nick Hanauer, a former venture capitalist and now head of Civic Ventures, which aims to drive social change.

If the trend continues, by 2030, the top 1 percent of Americans will earn 37 to 40 percent of the country’s income, with the bottom 50 percent getting just 6 percent, he said.

“That’s not a capitalist market economy anymore,” he warned. “That’s a feudalist system and it scares … me.”” [9] 


[1] “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, Stephen R. Covey

[2] https://blog.greenspringassociates.com/venturecapitalsaccessmyt

h

[2.5] “The Deregulation of Private Capital and the Decline of the Public Company”, Elisabeth de Fontenay, https://scholarship.law.duke.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=6431&context=faculty_scholarship

[3] https://www.thecut.com/2014/06/scarcity-might-make-people-more-racist.html

[4] https://www.nber.org/papers/w23082.pdf

[5] https://medium.com/allraise/was-2018-the-year-of-the-woman-e2824f513a09

[6] https://www.pantheon.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Shrinking-Public-Markets-Final.pdf

[8] http://fortune.com/longform/kleiner-perkins-vc-fall/?utm_source=fortune.com&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=term-sheet&utm_content=2019042312pm

[9] https://www.reuters.com/article/us-democracy-wealth-inequality-idUSKCN0XC1Q2

What DEMO Africa Taught Me About Investing in Africa

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending DEMO Africa in Casablanca, Morocco. DEMO Africa is a yearly event that brings together entrepreneurs and investors from across the continent of Africa. This was my first time attending and it was a great primer into the African entrepreneurship ecosystem.

My favorite session was the infrastructure summit which was hosted by the US State Department.

In it, we discussed some of the core systems underlying the African tech ecosystem and an overview into what infrastructure projects have succeeded (and failed).

I came away from the conference with the following insights that I’m planning to keep in mind when evaluating investments across the continent of Africa.

Many Telecos Don’t Connect to Google/App Stores
I talked with an entrepreneur who built a coworking space and accelerator in Morocco. He exclaimed that while Morocco has a number of trained engineers, it was difficult to advise them to build apps when many consumers don’t have app stores. I was so surprised — how does someone get a phone without one of these app stores built in? Through research, I realized that the only reason our phones can operate app stores is because we provide them with financial information. App stores don’t work without credit cards.

Most telecos that operate across Africa have different financial payment plans to fit their users more effectively. These innovative systems don’t yet cooperate with Google Play and the App Store.

This is slowly changing though. Orange just launched direct billing in Egypt allowing the market to access the app store. We’ll see how this continues to evolve.

Why this matters: The “traditional” application ecosystem is stifled across the continent. This is a huge opportunity to invest in an alternative ecosystem.

Data Storage For Most Consumers is Extremely Limited
Unlike in the US where unlimited data plans are the de facto option for many cell phone owners, large data plans in many African countries are still relatively abnormal. This has made consumption of entertainment (especially in Nollywood!) difficult. Many of Nigerian soap operas uploaded onto YouTube went unseen by Nigerians due to their data plan constraints. To combat this, Google created YouTubeGo which allows users to download videos when connected to wifi to consume later.

But first, the phone has to come equipped with the YouTubeGo app because (as I mentioned before), many phones do not have Google Play or App stores.

Why this matters: Investing in high-data usage tech companies will likely shrink your market size significantly.

Getting from One African Country to Another is Hard
DEMO Africa featured entrepreneurs based in Togo, Coitivoire, Ghana and others. I learned that their travels into Morocco were really difficult! Multiple shared that it was cheaper for them to fly to the US/Europe than across Africa.

When digging into this, I learned:

“The continent is home to roughly 12 percent of the world’s population and will be responsible for most of the global population growth over the next three decades. But it accounts for just 1 percent of the world’s air travel market. The flights that do exist are often more expensive than routes of similar duration elsewhere in the world.”
Many African countries are mired in protectionist policies that make traveling across the continue extremely difficult.

Why this matters: If you are hoping your company will expand across the African continent, take into account that each country operates very separately.

No Great Customer Acquisition Channel
One of the most common concerns that I heard from African investors was: access to market. The word on the street is that Jumia, despite it’s critical acclaim online, is not experiencing great traction. There is still a lot of distrust in ecommerce. So a focus from investors has turned to B2B. Many consumers are excited about working with large African enterprises to improve experiences.

Why this matters: If you are investing in a consumer company, go really deep with the entrepreneur on their G2M strategy.

Repatrition Just Getting Started — Long Way to Go
Another common concern I heard from investors was: there are not enough African entrepreneurs are investing in Africa. On the other hand though, I was surprised by (and excited to see) that many of the startups at DEMO Africa were launched by Africans who have recently returned to the continent after living, studying and working abroad. But there is still a long way to go.

Why this matters: The lack of investment in African startups by African entrepreneurs is felt mostly on the angel/Pre-Seed side. This has ripple effects across the ecosystem.

I hope this helps others get more information on the African ecosystem. I’m extremely bullish on investing in this fascinating and rich continent. Precursor has made two investments here already — Tastemakers and Buycoins!

I’m plotting my next trip to the continent soon. This time to Lagos! If you are hosting a tech conference in Nigeria, let me know. I’d love to make it!

A Week in the DC Tech Scene

I spent last week in Washington, DC getting to know their startup scene. We, at Precursor, have yet to invest in a company based in the nation’s capital so we don’t have much exposure to the area. I wanted to get to know the scene to better understand the dynamics to prepare us for future investment.

It was a fun and packed trip! Along the way, I met with founders at the Pre-Seed stage all the way up to the Series D stage. I met with ecosystem builders and investors. I traveled across the entire city from U Street to Capitol Hill to Arlington.

Here are a few of the things I observed:

1. Tech looks different in a city that runs well.
In a city that has a higher population density than San Francisco with only about 200K fewer people, it was remarkable to see how smoothly things operated in Washington, DC. I saw this show up in almost every technology I used.

When I got to my AirBnB in DC, two things were surprising to me. The 1st was that it was so large. I didn’t actually need to use a coworking space at all because I had enough space to do work at home. (And the few times that I ventured out to a coffee shop, I was able to find space to charge my computer and could use the bathroom without a code (*gasp*).) The 2nd was that it was a public housing unit. Compared to public housing units in the bay that can immediately be recognized as tier 2, this public housing unit treated its tenants with respect and dignity. I felt like I was staying in a luxury high rise! Think of how different AirBnB could look and feel if people from all income levels had attractive homes to rent out on the platform.

When I pulled up google maps, it was almost always quicker for me to take public transit to my destination instead of ride hailing. Over the course of my week in DC, I took a Lyft twice and both times were frustrating due to how slow they were. Between the bus and the metro, I was able to get places quickly and conveniently. Consequently, the rides on Lyft seemed to be steeply discounted. It cost me $13 to take a 30min ride in DC, whereas in San Francisco, it costs $13 to take a 10min ride.

When I saw people on Bird & Lime scooters pass me by, I saw young black men riding them near Howard and old white women riding them near Capitol Hill. The equal distribution of access to technology is remarkable compared to what I see in San Francisco where Birds are wiped with poop in the Tenderloin. Howard also is home to one of the few accelerators called in3.

2. Tech is still “weird” here.
I got the sense that the folks who are building tech companies are still seen as outsiders. The “cool kids” were able to secure the illusive Legislative Assistant role for the Congressman of Georgia. I describe these jobs as illusive because they really are. When I was an undergrad at Duke, my dream job was to work as a Legislative Assistant for anyone! I applied to over 100 jobs and didn’t get one.

For the folks who can’t secure these really competitive jobs, they could always work for a startup. They are risky yes, but so is joining a political campaign. In DC, the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well, it’s just dedicated to the political arena. The successful, DC based later stage startups that I met with told me that many of their recruits came from San Francisco and I assume it is to combat the selection bias that can occur when your industry isn’t the hottest one in town.

I get the sense that people in Washington, DC are still traditionalists who look to change the world through the system that is already in place. They do not yet see tech as a real system and if they do, they don’t see it as a place to impact society in a positive manner.

3. Nobody cares about San Francisco.
This is actually my favorite trait of DC. Nobody there seems to know about or care about what is happening in the valley. I know many folks knew this already as is pertains to our Congresspeople (*insert Facebook Congressional hearing here*). But this seemed to be true of a wider variety of folks. For example, somebody asked me in earnest if I knew what was Upwork.

For companies that are building in very competitive industries, this naivete is terribly destructive. For companies that are building in industries that are either 1) extremely revolutionary or 2) taking advantage of DC’s unique traits, I think this mentality is invaluable.

Take FiscalNote for example. It might have been able to have started in San Francisco, but it couldn’t have grown as fast and as large as it has without its location. It sits 3 blocks away from the White House and <10 from Capitol Hill. It is able to attract the best and brightest who are committed to changing the world because it is building a tech company that works within the legislative system. These are the types of companies that will continue to succeed in DC. And I think the country — especially right now — is ripe for them. With accelerators like Higher Ground Labs, people are starting to build tech companies that can change city, state and federal government and I’m excited to see what comes next! So can unicorns grow in DC? Which gets me to my conclusion. Can the next Unicorn get started in DC. I say yes. It is a city full of entrepreneurs looking to change the world. They are just not sold that tech can fulfill that promise.

How to Tackle the Long Tail

I’m now two seasons into my podcast “Be About It” where I interview founders who are solving meaningful problems.
So far, I’ve had 15 amazing founders on my podcast. Each one is solving a real pain point experienced by 80% of the USA — individuals making under $100K and small business owners.

Across the founders I interviewed, there was a single pervasive concern. When you target such a large population, how do you actually reach them? Reaching the top 20% is not easy, but it is relatively straightforward. The toolkit for most includes some cocktail of Facebook/Google ads, App Store hacks and modern design.

Reaching individuals and small business owners located in the remaining 80% is much more complicated.

Their interests are varied, they are not all located in one online community and are very hard to please because they have to see immediate ROI in their purchases.

They do not have excess capital to be as patient as the top 20%.

I saw this first hand when I was working in the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs in the Mayor Bloomberg years. There, I was tasked with managing the product launch of SaveUSA across New York City. SaveUSA was created to demonstrate that a progressive tax policy that incentivized low-income tax filers to save some of their tax refund could impact the wealth gap.

Essentially, I was in charge of finding people to give free* money to. Easy right? No. From the marketing — where do you find low-income tax filers? — to the onboarding & engagement — how do you keep these tax filers engaged over a series of months?, my experience at SaveUSA was a deep dive into the complexities of targeting a diverse population.

In SaveUSA’s NYC campaign, here’s what really worked for us:
Meet folks where they are. I learned how to do taxes (*shout out to VITA*) so that I could help folks with their tax filing and then enroll them into the SaveUSA program. This helped us understand exactly what the main pain points were for tax-filers and address them immediately. Also doing someone’s taxes really builds their trust.
Be respectful of their time. When we incorporated an ability to sign-up for SaveUSA into the flow of tax filing — which was difficult because a critical piece of signing up for SaveUSA included opening a new bank account — we saw a huge increase in take-up rate.
Speak to their best selves. One of the selling points that worked best for us during SaveUSA was speaking to the tax-filers’ best selves. This is especially hard in a culture that treats poverty as an illness. But framing questions around: “How can we figure out how to pay the most critical bills now and save the rest?” instead of “Why haven’t you paid those bills yet?” worked wonders.

It was enlightening to hear additional techniques on how to engage this segment from the founders I talked to on the podcast.

Here are the top 3 recommendations I learned from the founders I interviewed:
Do your research. Jimmy Chen at Propel shared how important it is to conduct deep customer interviews to understand how to build the most intuitive product possible. 🎧
Don’t reinvent the wheel. Chai Mishra at MoveButter discussed how important it is to work within the ecosystems that exist for the communities you are trying to serve. 🎧
Build a movement. I learned from Beatriz Helena Ramos at Dada how to help creators build communities among themselves in order to catalyze an even larger movement. 🎧

I am inspired that people are proactively exploring the long tail wave of consumers and coming up with creative solutions. At the end of the day, it reminds me that the most important thing founders can build is a strong community.

If you’re interested in learning some of these hacks, check out the past couple of seasons of “Be About It.” You can listen to it anywhere — from Soundcloud, Breaker to Apple Podcasts.

I’d love to hear from you! What have you learned from the founders in the episodes? Do you have ideas of founders I should talk to? Leave me a comment below or reach out to the podcast on Twitter @thebeaboutitpod.

*The money was not technically free. The participants received a 50% match for every dollar they saved for 6 months, up to $500.

Why I Decided to Become Pipeline Angels’ 1st VC-in-Residence

In September, I added another job to my title. I’m still the Investment Associate and Head of Ops at Precursor Ventures and have now joined Natalia Oberti Noguera and her team at Pipeline Angels as their first ever VC-in-Residence.

It started with a simple e-mail. I’m not yet an accredited investor, but I was inspired with what Natalia was building. So I filled out the Pipeline Angels application and included a short note about how excited I was to get involved wherever I could be useful. Luckily, my application aligned with a new idea Natalia had brewing to get more women like me involved in Pipeline Angels.

Natalia and I hopped on the phone and she shared her vision for extending her pipeline initiative to not just help women and non-binary femmes become angel investors, but also help women, non-binary people, and men of color become GPs at investment firms.

The road to GP is usually paved with a stint in angel investing and a demonstrated ability to bring quality LP leads to the table.

But these prerequisites to the job require one huge piece that many women and non-binary femmes lack → access to capital.

As a VC-in-Residence, her vision was that I would be given the opportunity to learn both. Through working on a team alongside angel investors, I would get to learn the ins — and — outs of the angel investment process, support their decisions on who to invest in and be a contributing member of their investment team. Through working with accredited investors, I would be able to build relationships with women and non-binary femmes who could be tomorrow’s LPs.

As Natalia put it: Pipeline Angels created the role of VC-in-Residence to inspire our members and broader network to help change the face of venture capital by becoming LPs in VC firms led by #morevoices.

I’m grateful for Natalia’s vision and even more grateful for Precursor Ventures’ sponsorship. Professional
development opportunities in venture capital are few and far between. I’m lucky to have found a crew that understands the importance of growth.

Interested in learning more? Check out Megan Rose Dickey’s feature about the VC-in-Residence role in TechCrunch.

Why I Decided to Become Pipeline Angels’ 1st VC-in-Residence

In September, I added another job to my title. I’m still the Investment Associate and Head of Ops at Precursor Ventures and have now joined Natalia Oberti Noguera and her team at Pipeline Angels as their first ever VC-in-Residence.

It started with a simple e-mail. I’m not yet an accredited investor, but I was inspired with what Natalia was building. So I filled out the Pipeline Angels application and included a short note about how excited I was to get involved wherever I could be useful. Luckily, my application aligned with a new idea Natalia had brewing to get more women like me involved in Pipeline Angels.

Natalia and I hopped on the phone and she shared her vision for extending her pipeline initiative to not just help women and non-binary femmes become angel investors, but also help women, non-binary people, and men of color become GPs at investment firms.

The road to GP is usually paved with a stint in angel investing and a demonstrated ability to bring quality LP leads to the table.

But these prerequisites to the job require one huge piece that many women and non-binary femmes lack → access to capital.

As a VC-in-Residence, her vision was that I would be given the opportunity to learn both. Through working on a team alongside angel investors, I would get to learn the ins — and — outs of the angel investment process, support their decisions on who to invest in and be a contributing member of their investment team. Through working with accredited investors, I would be able to build relationships with women and non-binary femmes who could be tomorrow’s LPs.

As Natalia put it: Pipeline Angels created the role of VC-in-Residence to inspire our members and broader network to help change the face of venture capital by becoming LPs in VC firms led by #morevoices.

I’m grateful for Natalia’s vision and even more grateful for Precursor Ventures’ sponsorship. Professional
development opportunities in venture capital are few and far between. I’m lucky to have found a crew that understands the importance of growth.

Interested in learning more? Check out Megan Rose Dickey’s feature about the VC-in-Residence role in TechCrunch.

How Can VCs Make Entrepreneurship Suck Less?

So much ink has been spilled on how difficult entrepreneurship is.

And rightfully so! The more I talk to entrepreneurs, the more respect I gain for them. Living years without a paycheck, managing investors who are telling you to run fast in 10 separate directions and working with a team who is there because they believe in you when you aren’t sure if you believe in yourself is physically, mentally and emotionally exhausting. Yet, much of the VC rhetoric I hear praises someone’s ability to go through this process. They glorify the struggle. They say that if it was easy, everyone would do it.

But I think there is a fundamental problem in the entrepreneurship ecosystem today.

It is becoming so hard and so irrational to start companies that the people who we need the most (i.e. rational, smart people) are opting out. I am inspired by this post on Why More Women Don’t Run for Office. So much of what Raina Lipsitz discusses can be applied to entrepreneurship.

It doesn’t make any sense for highly qualified women (particularly women of color) to start companies.

After foregoing wages that they need to feed their families and communities, they are going to go through a round of disappointing interviews with VCs that will give them a 1-2% chance of receiving funding.

If we continue to structure a path to successful entrepreneurship as we do, we will continue to get the egomaniacs to enter and succeed.

Do you only want Travis Kalanick 2.0 running the companies of the future? I don’t. So how do VCs make entrepreneurship easier? I think there are a few fundamental things that VCs can do to make entrepreneurship more friendly. We should normalize taking a meaningful salary.

  • I have seen burn rates all over the place. Entrepreneurs I’ve talked to are everywhere between living at the poverty line to living in the SOMA Grand. This is crazy.
  • Why isn’t there more excitement amongst VCs to help entrepreneurs meet the lowest rank of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs? Why isn’t there more acceptance of the fact that the opportunity costs to these individuals is high already – with or without a salary?

We should treat entrepreneurs with humility.

  • As Kanye put it – You Ain’t Got the Answers, Sway. Entrepreneurs are building from scratch. Yes, we may have seen things similar to what they’re creating in the past, but almost everything since then has changed. The timing, competitors, funding environment.
  • We have so much to learn from each and every entrepreneur that walks through our doors. And the only way we’ll succeed in our jobs is if we take each opportunity to soak up the knowledge from these founders seriously and respectfully.

We should not ask entrepreneurs to sacrifice their lives for their companies.

  • When we’re doing this, what we’re saying is – making me money is more important than anything else you could be doing.
  • NYTimes describes this phenomenon in a recent article: “The guy is developing an app that lets you visualize how a coffee table from a catalog might look in your living room. I suppose that’s cool, but is it really more important than seeing your kids? Is the chance to raise some venture capital funding really “the ultimate reward”?” 

What is the ultimate reward is deeply personal to each person. But I hope that as VCs, we empathize with entrepreneurs who may have thoughts, lives and dreams outside of building the company we invested in. They are better entrepreneurs for it.

The Power of Language

In the venture capital industry, there are so many “buzzwords”. Almost all of them can be found on Twitter with a hashtag attached: #blockchain, #ai, #futureofwork. These shortcuts are helpful to manage the overwhelming amount of “new, exciting ideas.”

VCs try to put these buzzwords on products and ideas in order to group their thinking. If something is in a specific buzzword category, you can quickly come up to speed on the market, KPIs — basically, the things that matter. If something is outside of that category, it takes a more time to understand the entire diligence process.

This can lead to the known buzzword > the unknown unique idea.

This is disconcerting for a number of reasons — including the confirmation bias effect, and the creation of herd mentalities. Unfortunately, I have seen this trickle down to entrepreneurs who are looking to hire quickly and exclusively look at candidates who have previous experience in similar companies with buzzwords they can understand.

The biggest downside of doing this is you miss out on swaths of the population who could:

  1. Be uniquely qualified for these opportunities and,
  2. Bring with them a level of critical thinking that often comes with having perspectives across industries.

I wanted to create a thesaurus translating public sector experiences to private sector buzzwords

As a veteran of the public sector myself, I know that my transition to the private sector was made infinitely easier when I figured out how to talk about my past in language that private sector people understood.

The main audience for this includes:

1. Entrepreneurs who are looking at candidates and don’t know how to decipher their background.

2. Public sector candidates looking to make the switch and exploring ways to talk about their experiences

3. And, to help inform the public about how to interpret similar work done across industries who use different vernacular or “buzzwords”.


Development/Gifts (i.e. Chief Development Officer)

What does this mean? This person has a history in fundraising across multiple stakeholders — foundations, HNIs, and private companies.

How does it translate? Business development or growth hacking

Outreach (i.e. Public Outreach Associate)

What does this mean? This person has a history in managing a brand.

How does it translate? Marketing, product marketing or content strategy

Program (i.e. Program Assistant)

What does this mean? This person has a history in managing cross-functional teams.

How does it translate? Analyst, business operations, project management

Membership/Volunteer (i.e Membership Coordinator)

What does this mean? This person has a history of building communities.

How does it translate? Customer success

Social (i.e. Social Worker)

What does this mean? This person has a history in developing a deep understanding of their clients needs and providing them with support to address these needs.

How does it translate? Therapist, venture capitalist ( ?)


I hope this helps! Are there other experiences I should include? Let me know by leaving a note below or e-mailing me at sydney@precursorvc.com.