AfterWork’s Jessy Wu has put together a really cool advice list on how to break into venture capital

- April 18, 2023 2 MIN READ
Jessy Wu VC
Afterwork Ventures Investment Principal Jessy Wu
Jessy Wu, investment principal at AfterWork Ventures, is an unlikely venture capitalist.

She happily admits it was “the furtherest thing from my mind” when she emerged with a ANU with a philosophy degree, also majoring in English literature.

Next thing she knew, she was working at NAB Ventures. Within 18 months, Wu became part of the founding team at Afterwork, the $20 million venture capital fund backing tech startups at pre-seed and seed stage.

Wu’s a still-too-rare example of women in VC and is acutely conscious to the opportunity it’s afforded her since.

And just three years into her career as an investor, she’s already set out to pay it forward, compiling a list of how to VC as a resource for would-be VCs.

“When I was preparing for my first interview at a VC fund, I was lucky to have had help – from friends, colleagues, and even complete strangers,” she said.

“But not everyone has a friend who already works in the industry, or just been through an application process, or knows the hiring manager. As an ‘outsider’, it might feel like you don’t stand a chance compared to those who have access to ‘insider’ knowledge.”

As she says, have a look and decide if it’s the right career for you.

“If you’re not particularly confident about your chances, or don’t think you have the right background – take inspiration from this seminal speech by renowned VC Bill Gurley,” she said, citing two quotes from his address Running Down a Dream (You can watch it here).

Gurley, in turn, quotes the legendary US basketball coach Bobby Knight: “Everybody has the will to win. People don’t have the will to practice. I think this is the test for whether or not you’re actually pursuing your dream job, which is the essence of it that would be considered studying or work or practice, do you enjoy that part? Do you enjoy the preparation? Everybody enjoys winning. Do you enjoy the preparation?”

Wu has certainly made the preparation easier for life in VC with her “Breaking into VC” compilation.

“VC has given me a lot – exposure to cutting-edge ideas, ambitious founders, and passionate peers. It’s also afforded me a platform, and opportunities I never expected,” she said.

But she’s also conscious that’s the sense of gatekeeping in being on the investment side of the table “rankles me to the core” which is why she decided to share all she could find.

“Instead of raging against the machine, I’ve been trying to ask how I can start with the woman in the mirror – how can I open a door, or send a ladder down to someone earlier on in their journey. How can I be the mentor, ally, or cheerleader I wish younger-me had access to?” Wu said.

Her list covers every everything from her workshop on preparing for VC interviews to suggestions on people, newsletters, and podcasts to follow, as well as compilation of articles from local VCs and salary guides.

Wu says her compilation will be a living document so if you spot anything worth adding, get in touch with her at [email protected]

In the meantime, your VC prep starts here.

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