Trainee blog: A deep dive into the world of venture capital

Read what our most recent trainee Henriika thought about her internship!

When I was writing my application to join the Evli Growth Partners team, I didn’t know much about the industry. However, I was above excited and completely confident that EGP is the perfect fit for me. Even though I knew I would learn a lot, I didn’t quite know what to expect. During the half a year in the fund, stock markets developed mostly positively (excluding January of course!), but it was my learning curve that took a sky-high explosion.

With no prior background in venture capital, my expectation was the traditional early-stage style: a fund will invest in tens of start-ups with few (hopefully) becoming unicorns, while the rest will be forgotten. Against my expectations, I was glad to be surprised that the quality perspective is essential and indeed interesting at EGP. The fact that there are no more than seven portfolio companies makes it possible to take an active role in each of them. All the portfolio companies have a Growth Partner with an entrepreneurial background deeply involved in the strategy work, supporting the companies in their next steps and growth. Larger tickets to fewer companies enable EGP to allocate both time and follow-on capital to the selected portfolio companies.

The internship allowed me to develop my skills with various tasks. I prepared an analysis of competition and market trends while contributing to the discussion about whether we should invest in a certain company or not. I also built an analysis of the VC industry in Europe, which has allowed me to understand the overall market and our position better. On top of that, I have been able to participate in creating a strategic value creation tool to offer active ownership for our portfolio. What comes to portfolio work, it has been exciting to see that you can offer valuable support without vast knowledge – although experience is naturally very valuable. Genuine curiosity and the willingness to learn are given, but I’ve learned that doing your homework and not hesitating to ask about unclear things will take you forward. This is also a point where solid and supportive teamwork steps up.

The highlight of my internship was undoubtedly the opportunity to attend the leading start-up event Slush as an investor. The week was filled with meeting various exceptional founders and fellow investors – I couldn’t imagine a better place and environment to learn and see as much during such a short time. Hearing start-ups pitching their ideas and presenting EGP myself was inspiring, and an amazing opportunity to practice my pitching skills as well.

An internship at Evli Growth Partners has been a deep dive into the world of venture capital and growth companies. As a student aspiring for an investment professional career and reflecting on which steps to take, it has been truly fascinating to see how many different paths can lead to a career as a VC investor. In addition, the warm community of fellow investors consists of people willing to help – whether it’s about introducing you forward or finding a suitable mentor for your journey. If all the roads lead to Rome, why couldn’t they lead you to the VC world as well – cannot wait to discover my own path!