I want to pursue a PhD so I can be a VC. What do you think?

I've been thinking recently that I would love to go the VC route, specifically in the biotech/healthcare sector. I've been pre-med on and off throughout undergrad, and currently I have no plans to go to med school (though that might change), and will work in life science/healthcare consulting right after. It seems like a lot of venture capitalists in this space have PhDs or MDs rather than just MBAs, but I'm not sure if I'm looking in the right places. Does anyone here have thoughts about that? I've recently had an inkling to maybe leave consulting a couple years in, go get a PhD, and then come back to industry, but idk if that's a smart move

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Best Answer

PHDs are worthless in the business world. Whatever you don’t don’t waste an extra $200k to make $10k a year more.

Just a heads up too healthcare and biotech specific VCs are few and far between. Most of the ones out there have staff members who are PHDs with years of experience to go along with it either employed or as major investors.

If you want to get in the VC world go for it but don’t just rely on your pre-need background. It won’t get you that far. Yes those teams have PhD’s on the roster. The PhD isn’t what got them the position. It was either years of relevant experience, running a startup that had a huge exit or buying their way in the form of investing in the fund.

That all aside I’m not going to argue as to whether a piece of paper will get you a job at a VC.

If you want to really know the best advice anyone can give you is to call or email the individual funds that operate in healthcare, tell them your relevant experience and ask what you should be doing to land a job at a VC firm.

Other points

Four pieces of info for you, just to share.

A friend of mine with phd went on to startup his company, failed, joined McKinsey, quickly rose to VP, and now is partner at KP. If you have startup experience you are typically a better VC. Otherwise it is like an unmarried guy giving marital advice to couples.

Biotech space is very small space, actually. u/thatdude391 allude to this. A friend of mine left his hospital director position to do a telemedicine project, worked for 12 years, never got sales up, and got beaten by a competitor. And he is a very solid guy in 50-60 s.

A startup is three things in one. Founder. Get a business going, and get a company going. It takes someone who knows a lot about management, about industries, and about everything. Typically a MBA is not enough. MBA is just business student, learning to be manager. Startup is to start a company, not just to run one.

Check out recently what Andresson Horowitz is doing. They renamed their company and is getting out of VC business. Smell the wind please. I don't want to give you any hints about what I think it is. (Basically, VC is about a dying species. It takes too much money to build businesses today, not the 1990s anymore).

Good day. Don't take insult if anything I said disagrees with your taste.

VC brings money in to promising companies and exist with multiples to please their clients. VC is the moneyed people's helper. Remember that. VCs get paid by "managing" the moneyed men's money.

So VCs need 3x return in 2 years to do their "fund cycle". However, as the Moore's law coming to steep uphill curve, VCs life is getting much harder. Low hanging fruits are nearly all gone.

Biotech stuff to them is "low hanging small fruits". They can not pick those because it does not satisfy their moneyed men's wishes, even if they succeed.

Let alone biotech is difficult to succeed. My friends company went to Nasdaq and was delisted. It is important but a "small industry". Big hits are hard to come by.

I spent a lot of years in the field to understand what I just told you. No one will give you something to the point like this.

What would replace VC is PE, private equity. Basically a whole bunch of moneyed men bundling their money together to form the private stock exchange. But PE is too big. VCs invest 1 million for a deal. PEs invest 1 billion. The recent failure of WeWorks showed that 1 billion VC funds with a star leader can fail.

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May 5, 2020, 12:11:26 PM

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