Here are the most common questions we get from those interested in venture capital scout programs.Become a VC Scout
Broadly speaking, the answer is no. You do not have to be an accredited investor to be a startup scout.
How come? Well, it's simple. The concept of an accredited investor comes from the SEC and its goal is to protect unsophisticated investors from losing money in high-risk investments. But as a scout, you are not investing your money and usually no money at all.
Instead, scouts usually refer startups as potential investments to investors. Those investors are sophisticated to be able to assess the investment opportunity and decide for themselves the associated risks and rewards before going ahead with their investment.
Having investment experience is not a requirement to start a role as a VC scout.
So for example you don't need to have a history of investing your or other people's money in startups. It is also not necessary to have invested in other types of asset classes like public company stocks, cryptocurrencies, property, etc. In fact there is no requirement on personal wealth.
On the other hand, one key criteria that is much more important to have than investment experience is to have a good feeling for what makes for a good startup as well as a network of quality startups, usually at an early stage, to refer to investors.
Yes, you can. In fact, unless you're independently wealth, you should work while being a scout to sustain a living.
Why is that? Because scout roles will rarely pay you a regular income. Moreover, due to the nature of startups, the rewards for being a scout may take years to materialise given that a startup may take 5-10 years to exit.
While both documents may contain similar elements, it's the angle from which each is written that makes the difference.
Traditionally a pitch deck is created by the startup entrepreneurs. Its goal is for the founders to communicate their business idea, achievements, and where they're heading. The pitch deck usually takes the form of a presentation. A pitch deck may be biased as it is written by the same people who are seeking an investment.
In comparison, a deal memo is created by an investor to make the case for an investment and to make an investment decision on whether or not to proceed to the next phase of due diligence. The deal memo usually takes the form of a document. And although it's written by someone who would like to proceed with making an investment, a deal memo can be more objective since it's written by a third-party and not the startup's founders themselves. For example, a deal memo may also include reasons for not investing, foreseen challenges, and weaknesses of the startup.
Both a pitch deck and a deal memo contain similar elements like the business opportunity, market size, team, traction and valuation.
Venture scouts, often known as VC scouts or startup scouts, are resourceful connectors that may assist venture capital firms in discovering hidden, exceptional startups and founders to invest in ahead of the competition. As part of their role VC scouts may identify interesting startups, research them, their teams and their competition, write a deal memo, and present it in-person or online to the VC firm. When working in an incentive-based approach, some VC scouts have a full-time employment, while others take on this role with the intention of eventually becoming venture capitalists themselves.
Internal VC scouts serve as full-time pr part-time team members within a fund usually as interns, researchers, associates, or junior partners. Internal VC scouts aren't always considered scouts because although they deal with securing deal-flow they may not be considered a scout in the traditional sense of the term as they may have other responsibilities inside the VC firm. They primarily want to meet as many entrepreneurs as possible and connect them to the company's crowdfunding ecosystem.
External VC scouts are persons who work for a fund. They are not full-time employees and are provided with no or little budget. In the majority of situations, they are entrepreneurs or other members of the ecosystems who have been chosen based on their application or via their connections to the VC firm. Several VC firms allow external scouts to participate in their VC scout programs, providing them the option to start their own investment or earn a referral fee.
A startup scout is a person that helps venture capital firms discover new startups to invest in. A startup scout can also be known as a venture partner, venture scout, VC scout, etc.
From a startup perspective, a scout can provide an introduction to a venture capital firm often bridging a geographical or demographic gap. For example when a African-American led startup based in the US Mid-West with no connections with Silicon Valley investors is scouted by an active scout in both communities.
As a VC scout, you will come across different types of compensation or pay based on the scout program(s) you are part of. I've come across 4 different startup scouting compensation styles:
Some scouting programs will compensate you in cash after the deal is completed. The cash may be proportional to the total amount invested but doesn't have to be. It comes down to the scouting program's terms and conditions.
Other scouting programs will pay you a small cash amount whenever you introduce them to a startup that matches the investor's criteria. Note that the introduction goes beyond being just a cold and will likely involve some level of a warm introduction as well as basic due diligence to ensure that the startup meets the venture capital firm's investment thesis. This would be more common if the venture capital firm sends you out on a mission to find certain startups that meet certain criteria in a particular geography. You can expect that amount to be less than the cash you earn when deals are completed.
In some cases, as a result of facilitating a VC investment deal, you are allocated a percentage of the VC's share ownership. The actual details of how this is implemented can differ from program to program. For example, you might hold stocks under your name and listed on the startup's cap table. Or in other cases, you may be offered a contractual promise that guarantees a share of the overall investment returns when the startup exists (which may be as far out as 7 to 10 years).
In other cases, you will as a scout be allocated an amount of money to invest in yourself - your own micro-fund so to speak. In this case you are able to invest the amount yourself while ensuring an investment allocation for your program's venture capital firm either at the time of your investment or in future rounds.
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