EP 6: The Easiest (and Newest!) Way to Break into VC
Andre de Baubigny | Managing Partner of Spike Ventures
Until now, there has been no clear path for individuals wanting a career in venture capital. Learn how this Stanford alum and VC expert is part of a mission to make both venture investing and venture careers more accessible. (Listen)
Episode Summary: Spike Ventures is the ninth fund created by Alumni Ventures Group (AVG) and it is centered around the Stanford alumni network. If you’re new to AVG, that means the capital comes from Stanford alumni and that the deals that the fund invests in have a Stanford alum as a founder, key executive, board member, or lead investor. Though Spike Ventures is not formally affiliated with the school, the fund’s deal-sourcing network and value-add to portfolio companies lean heavily on a common Stanford background.
As you listen to this interview with Andre du Baubigny, Managing Partner of Spike Ventures, you will hear how the fund got its name and how the organization makes decisions that they hope would make Leland Stanford proud. Andre also explains how he painstakingly got into venture capital and how AVG is now creating a career path for graduates who are interested in joining the world of venture investing.
Introducing Andre de Baubigny and Spike Ventures
Andre de Baubigny is an experienced investor, investment banker, and entrepreneur. He launched two private venture funds for family offices and founded a wine-related logistics company. As a banker, Andre worked with some of the most innovative startups of the late 90’s and advised Fortune 500 companies on how to react to the change that Internet adoption would bring. As an investor, he backed leading-edge Internet companies, including Songza (sold to Google, now GooglePlay), Trulia (sold to Zillow), Dash Navigation (sold to Rim), Oodle (sold to QVC), and Dataminr.
Andre is also the managing partner at Spike Ventures, a venture capital fund that makes it easy for Stanford alums to add venture investments to their portfolios. Though the fund accepts investments from Stanford grads and makes investments in Stanford alumni-led organizations, Spike Ventures is not officially sanctioned or sponsored by the university.
Three Takeaways from This Podcast
Spike Ventures is one of many venture capital funds created by Alumni Ventures Group that helps alums from a specific school to invest in fellow alums. So what’s the value of being alumni-connected? Andre says alumni connections help establish a foundation of trust which is important in any relationship, but especially in venture investing. Because you are working with fairly unknown companies and entrepreneurs, having some information about the people you are working with creates a basis of confidence in the portfolio companies, founders, and referrals.
As Andre discusses Spike Ventures and how he came to be the managing partner of this Stanford alumni-led organization, he touches on observations about his career path and the venture industry.
1. Sometimes you have to take a risk to get the career you want
Andre started out as an attorney. However, four years into his career, he decided that his future did not look all that appealing, so he took a risk and went back to graduate school. While at the time it seemed like starting over and giving up the reputation he had built within the firm, his experience in law coupled with a new degree led to much more interesting opportunities
2. There is a new path to becoming a venture capitalist
Andre had always been interested in getting into venture capital, but the industry did not have accessible entry-level positions or even defined paths to getting into the field. Though Andre eventually wound his way to job he always dreamed of, his path involved multiple career moves. In explaining how he accomplished this, Andre also shares how AVG is now offering graduates much more open paths to VC.
3. VC is more than building wealth
There have been many changes in technology and venture financing during Andre’s career, but one thing has remained constant for him: venture investing is more than just a way to build wealth. Andre believes that VC gives him and others the opportunity to help create business, products, and services that change how we do things and improve our lives. VC also creates jobs and generates value for society as a whole.
If you want to learn more about how Stanford alumni are investing together, sign up for the Spike Ventures fund newsletter. You may also want to sign up for the Alumni Ventures Group newsletter to learn more about all of the alumni and special-interest funds at the company. Lastly, you can follow Andre on LinkedIn.
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