Venture capital involves providing capital and sector expertise to support the activities of new start-up companies. Most of the world’s biggest companies, including Apple, Google and Facebook, raised venture funding at some point in order to expand their operations.
Isaac Haq is an LSE student who is working to champion the transformative potential of start-up companies and promote student interest in venture capital. We caught up with him to find out what he is up to at the moment.
Can you tell us about your background, and what made you interested in entrepreneurship and venture capital?
Whilst I was a medical student at the University of Cambridge, I started working for a few start-ups. I was a brand ambassador for a clothing brand, and I worked in business development for a biotechnology firm. I’ve also co-founded two non-profit organizations, for better cancer education and mental health awareness, over the last few years.
These experiences made me interested in careers outside of the hospital; I started competing in hackathons and attending conferences, and I became really interested in a career in entrepreneurship.
I think the process of seeing a problem, creating a solution for it and tailoring that solution both to your market and your customers is fascinating. I’ve been working in Venture Capital for the last 9 months in Canary Wharf, full-time during the holidays and part-time during term, helping to spot the next big thing in the Financial Technology sector. My course at LSE has been really awesome for helping me to meet other entrepreneurs and investors, develop the core skills needed to value start-ups and check whether they can do the things they say they can!
How are you promoting enterprise at LSE?
There has been a lot in the news recently about the importance of business ethics in start-ups. I think it’s really important that people learn about new ideas and technologies, so that the businesses with really innovative technologies, that have the potential to benefit society, can be promoted and helped to success. That’s why I started my blog, 60 second start-up, to provide a quick and easy way for people to read about start-ups in different sectors that could change the world in the next few years.
I’ve also created a Venture Capital society at the LSE for the first time, where the committee produce regular reports on interesting start-ups and host speakers who have spent their careers investing in and building incredible companies, and who have lots of interesting things to say about entrepreneurship. I’m really excited for some of our Lent term events and I hope that they are useful for the next generation of entrepreneurs from LSE!
What advice do you have for current students interested in a career in entrepreneurship or venture capital?
- Chat to everyone. I’ve loved attending the LSE Generate events, career events and talks as well as industry conferences. Everyone, whether they are old or young, experienced or new, has something interesting to say or a cool idea to share. Meet, and learn from, as many people as you possibly can.
- Be an ‘expert generalist’- learn as much as you can about as many sectors as you can by trying to break them down into core principles. It really pays to be well-informed about different sectors, and be able to draw comparisons between them. My best friend taught me an awesome trick, which involves writing down every term or phrase you don’t understand when you read an article about a new concept or technology. As you read a new article to learn about the new term, your list of terms grows, until you really understand the topic!
- Get in touch! I currently act in an advisory role to a number of start-ups, and hold equity in a portfolio of companies. I’d love to chat about the blog, the society or just entrepreneurship and the future in general! Contact me via my LSE email, Haq@lse.ac.uk, or by Facebook/LinkedIn.
You can find the LSE VC Society on Facebook .
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