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Reflections from a Student VC Bootcamp

Apr 5, 2024

Jamal Baba

Table of Contents

Title

Reflections from a Student VC Bootcamp

The reality of VC is that venture investors don’t truly know they’ve made good calls for upwards of 8 years — usually after a startup goes public. 8+ years is one hell of a long feedback cycle. So how do they keep confident in their investments?

Jamal Baba, an investment associate @ NextGen Ventures

I walked into bootcamp not knowing all that much about venture capital. In the past, I’ve spent time building in the e-commerce space, and have recently taken an interest in startups and investing more broadly. To see what the investing landscape was like, I spent the summer interning at an activist fund. 

Now joining the NextGen team, one definite feeling I had going into this program was excitement since it combines the two things I’m passionate about: community building and bringing a vision to life. So it’s quite fitting then, that at NextGen Ventures, we’re big on supporting student founders, and fostering entrepreneurship across Australia’s universities. And with the recent growth of student interest in startups across Australia, this excitement quickly snowballed. 

Nick Ooi @ Investible Sydney Office running a workshop with the investments team

As is typically the case when diving into a new field, I was standing on the peak of Mt. Foolish at the beginning of bootcamp. It was easy to overlook the intricacies of venture investing, and even easier to convince myself that my limited VC knowledge was really all there was to it. Venture investing is far from the financially driven zones in which PE and public equities live. Within just a few sessions, it started — my descent to knowing all I didn’t yet know about VC. Naturally, I felt like I didn’t know where to start, but one thing I’ve learnt is that doing something is better than nothing. And so that’s what I did. 

Student VC Workshops

Through a series of workshops led by AU’s leading venture firms, we had the unique opportunity to deep dive into VC and the Australian startup scene. Here’s a taste of what we explored; deal sourcing, capital pathways and evaluating the trinity that is the team, product and traction. What really solidified my confidence was the support these investors had for us and NextGen’s vision, and the generous feedback we received. 

While each workshop touched on a plethora of different topics, a common thread between these sessions was the emphasis on how I should direct my focus when assessing a startup’s potential. While investors can’t predict the future, there are often proxies that help gauge this potential and serve as early feedback. Despite the great advice, the most valuable aspect of this bootcamp had no doubt been its hands-on approach. Through countless opportunities to receive feedback on pitch deck reviews, investment memos and evaluation techniques, I was able to put these lessons to practice and truly begin honing in my abilities within my role as an investment associate. 

The NextGen Melbourne team celebrating the end of the VC training bootcamp

A huge thank you to the VCs and operators who generously gave their time to share their learnings with us, and support our own journey. This bootcamp has laid a solid groundwork for my focus this year, and has calibrated my compass for how I intend to contribute to our team. I’m absolutely pumped to learn from the talented founders we continue to meet, and excited to build a tight-knit community of student founders at Monash and across other Australian universities. 

— Jamal Baba, NextGen Ventures

Author

Jamal Baba

Investment Associate

Founder, Engineer. Curious about people, problems and building communities for positive impact.

Sign Up For Pilot Project

Table of Contents

Title

Reflections from a Student VC Bootcamp

The reality of VC is that venture investors don’t truly know they’ve made good calls for upwards of 8 years — usually after a startup goes public. 8+ years is one hell of a long feedback cycle. So how do they keep confident in their investments?

Jamal Baba, an investment associate @ NextGen Ventures

I walked into bootcamp not knowing all that much about venture capital. In the past, I’ve spent time building in the e-commerce space, and have recently taken an interest in startups and investing more broadly. To see what the investing landscape was like, I spent the summer interning at an activist fund. 

Now joining the NextGen team, one definite feeling I had going into this program was excitement since it combines the two things I’m passionate about: community building and bringing a vision to life. So it’s quite fitting then, that at NextGen Ventures, we’re big on supporting student founders, and fostering entrepreneurship across Australia’s universities. And with the recent growth of student interest in startups across Australia, this excitement quickly snowballed. 

Nick Ooi @ Investible Sydney Office running a workshop with the investments team

As is typically the case when diving into a new field, I was standing on the peak of Mt. Foolish at the beginning of bootcamp. It was easy to overlook the intricacies of venture investing, and even easier to convince myself that my limited VC knowledge was really all there was to it. Venture investing is far from the financially driven zones in which PE and public equities live. Within just a few sessions, it started — my descent to knowing all I didn’t yet know about VC. Naturally, I felt like I didn’t know where to start, but one thing I’ve learnt is that doing something is better than nothing. And so that’s what I did. 

Student VC Workshops

Through a series of workshops led by AU’s leading venture firms, we had the unique opportunity to deep dive into VC and the Australian startup scene. Here’s a taste of what we explored; deal sourcing, capital pathways and evaluating the trinity that is the team, product and traction. What really solidified my confidence was the support these investors had for us and NextGen’s vision, and the generous feedback we received. 

While each workshop touched on a plethora of different topics, a common thread between these sessions was the emphasis on how I should direct my focus when assessing a startup’s potential. While investors can’t predict the future, there are often proxies that help gauge this potential and serve as early feedback. Despite the great advice, the most valuable aspect of this bootcamp had no doubt been its hands-on approach. Through countless opportunities to receive feedback on pitch deck reviews, investment memos and evaluation techniques, I was able to put these lessons to practice and truly begin honing in my abilities within my role as an investment associate. 

The NextGen Melbourne team celebrating the end of the VC training bootcamp

A huge thank you to the VCs and operators who generously gave their time to share their learnings with us, and support our own journey. This bootcamp has laid a solid groundwork for my focus this year, and has calibrated my compass for how I intend to contribute to our team. I’m absolutely pumped to learn from the talented founders we continue to meet, and excited to build a tight-knit community of student founders at Monash and across other Australian universities. 

— Jamal Baba, NextGen Ventures

Author

Jamal Baba

Investment Associate

Founder, Engineer. Curious about people, problems and building communities for positive impact.

Sign Up For Pilot Project

Table of Contents

Title

Reflections from a Student VC Bootcamp

The reality of VC is that venture investors don’t truly know they’ve made good calls for upwards of 8 years — usually after a startup goes public. 8+ years is one hell of a long feedback cycle. So how do they keep confident in their investments?

Jamal Baba, an investment associate @ NextGen Ventures

I walked into bootcamp not knowing all that much about venture capital. In the past, I’ve spent time building in the e-commerce space, and have recently taken an interest in startups and investing more broadly. To see what the investing landscape was like, I spent the summer interning at an activist fund. 

Now joining the NextGen team, one definite feeling I had going into this program was excitement since it combines the two things I’m passionate about: community building and bringing a vision to life. So it’s quite fitting then, that at NextGen Ventures, we’re big on supporting student founders, and fostering entrepreneurship across Australia’s universities. And with the recent growth of student interest in startups across Australia, this excitement quickly snowballed. 

Nick Ooi @ Investible Sydney Office running a workshop with the investments team

As is typically the case when diving into a new field, I was standing on the peak of Mt. Foolish at the beginning of bootcamp. It was easy to overlook the intricacies of venture investing, and even easier to convince myself that my limited VC knowledge was really all there was to it. Venture investing is far from the financially driven zones in which PE and public equities live. Within just a few sessions, it started — my descent to knowing all I didn’t yet know about VC. Naturally, I felt like I didn’t know where to start, but one thing I’ve learnt is that doing something is better than nothing. And so that’s what I did. 

Student VC Workshops

Through a series of workshops led by AU’s leading venture firms, we had the unique opportunity to deep dive into VC and the Australian startup scene. Here’s a taste of what we explored; deal sourcing, capital pathways and evaluating the trinity that is the team, product and traction. What really solidified my confidence was the support these investors had for us and NextGen’s vision, and the generous feedback we received. 

While each workshop touched on a plethora of different topics, a common thread between these sessions was the emphasis on how I should direct my focus when assessing a startup’s potential. While investors can’t predict the future, there are often proxies that help gauge this potential and serve as early feedback. Despite the great advice, the most valuable aspect of this bootcamp had no doubt been its hands-on approach. Through countless opportunities to receive feedback on pitch deck reviews, investment memos and evaluation techniques, I was able to put these lessons to practice and truly begin honing in my abilities within my role as an investment associate. 

The NextGen Melbourne team celebrating the end of the VC training bootcamp

A huge thank you to the VCs and operators who generously gave their time to share their learnings with us, and support our own journey. This bootcamp has laid a solid groundwork for my focus this year, and has calibrated my compass for how I intend to contribute to our team. I’m absolutely pumped to learn from the talented founders we continue to meet, and excited to build a tight-knit community of student founders at Monash and across other Australian universities. 

— Jamal Baba, NextGen Ventures

Author

Jamal Baba

Investment Associate

Founder, Engineer. Curious about people, problems and building communities for positive impact.

Sign Up For Pilot Project

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