It's Spring in New York. The pear trees and magnolias are in full bloom and everyone on the street is smiling, reminded again of irrepressible rhythm of the seasons.
That's the good news. The bad news is that another rhythm that shapes our lives at Union Square Ventures has also come full circle. A little over a week ago Fred announced that Andrew was following his fiancé to Boston where she will complete her medical training. Eric Friedman is also coming to the end of his two year stint as an analyst here and moving on to Foursquare. The three of us are staring at the possibility of being on our own this summer. In some ways that is not all bad. We have always believed in building a partner driven firm, where we all do our own work and can fully represent the firm to the outside world. On the other hand, Andrew and Eric have done a fabulous job finding holes and filling them and I, for one, am worried about running out of fingers to put in the dike when they leave.
So we are hiring. We plan to hire two people. We expect both to be rotational assignments. Our hope is that the successful candidates will spend a couple of years with us and then move on to a start up, or another venture capital firm or pursue an advanced degree. In our conversations to date we have envisioned an Investment Analyst and a General Manager of the Union Square Ventures Network. Here is a rough cut of the two job descriptions.
The Investment Analyst at Union Square Ventures is an integral member of the investment team. Today, Eric manages the agenda for our weekly meetings. We expect that practice to continue. We also expect the analyst to contribute to the conversations about future investments and the current portfolio.
The specific responsibilities include:
- Market Research
- Financial Analysis
- Due Diligence Support
An ideal candidate would have:
- Strong analytical and quantitative skills
- Excellent Excel skills
- Deep knowledge of the technology of the internet
- Personal familiarity with a range of web services
- Prior programming/and or web design skills are a plus - not a requirement
Like the Analyst, the General Manager of the Union Square Ventures Network is an integral member of the investment team. They too will be expected to contribute to conversations about potential investments and existing portfolio companies. Unlike the analyst who will focus on supporting the partners as they make new investments, the GM of the USV Network will focus primarily on supporting our portfolio of 28 web services companies.
Because of our focused approach, many of our portfolio companies face similar challenges as they work to create and sustain user engagement, recruit talent, build relationships with partners, or design, code, and operate web services at scale. So it's no surprise that our portfolio companies are learning from each other. We have tried to facilitate that learning by hosting meetups and mailing lists, but we believe that we can do so much more.
It will be the job of the GM of the USV Network to build on our early work to create a useful and sustainable connection between the portfolio companies. Think of it as a community manager for the USV portfolio. The community is small, and private, but populated by people and companies who are having a big impact on the web.
The responsibilities of the General Manager will include:
- Build on the current platform of mailing lists and meetups by identifying and implementing social tools and services that create value for USV portfolio companies
- Identifying best practices in areas like social media, search, and online marketing and sharing those in the network
- Helping the portfolio companies recruit and hire great employees
- Organizing events like the annual portfolio company CEO summit
- Fostering connection online and offline between the functional disciplines (marketing, sales, finance, etc) in each portfolio company
The ideal candidate would have:
- Strong interpersonal skills
- Proven ability to foster communication and cooperation among diverse individuals online and offline
- Hands on experience with light weight tools such as Wikis, mailing lists, etc.
- Several years of management experience in flat, matrix, or loosely coupled organizations
At Union Square Ventures, we basically do two things. We try to make the best investments we can and then we do everything we can to help our portfolio companies succeed. When we found ourselves with an opportunity to rethink how we do those two things, we decided to hire one person who focuses on the investment process and one who supports the portfolio. But, we are a small, collegial team. We are interested in exploring this model, but we are not wed to it. At the end of the day, we will hire two people who will help us make investments and support the portfolio. If you think your skills would be a better fit in a slightly different alignment, feel free to make that point.
We are not flexible when it comes to cultural fit. We are a small team in a small office and it is very important to us that the candidates for these positions share our conviction about the transformational potential of the web. They should also be prepared to forcefully defend thoughtful positions on potential investments, but to also consider carefully the positions of others and to be intellectually honest and open to persuasion.
Perhaps most importantly, the successful candidates for these positions will be "net native". They will use web services in their personal and professional lives. They will ideally have an intuitive feel for what works and what doesn't on the web. We assume that they will have a web presence, whether that is a profile on a social network site, a photo stream, an academic paper on social media, a blog or tumblelog, a lead role in an open source project, a reputation on Stack Exchange, or a spot on the leader board in Mafia Wars.
To help us with tracking, if you'd like to be considered, please contact us via JobScore for the Analyst or the General Manager role. Don't upload a resume. Instead, share your LinkedIn profile and use the "cover letter" to provide links to your web presence plus a way to reach you. We can't promise to respond to every inquiry, but you can be sure that if the links you share show off your contributions to the web, we will get in touch.
By the way, we are not prudes. We expect your web presence to represent who you are, not who you think an employer wishes you were, so don't waste a lot of time sanitizing your web presence before sending us there. It will just confuse your friends.
We look forward to comments on this post, including suggestions about the roles, the qualifications and the process!