Year 4 as a VC

Abhinaya Konduru
3 min readJun 1, 2021

I am changing the format this year compared to last year’s review because I didn’t record my time for April. With everything going on in India with COVID and family members, I couldn’t focus on this.

So here are four lessons I learned from being a VC out of undergrad:

1. Recommend what the firm wants, not what I like

This took me a while to learn, but things started to work once I figured this out. The firm/partners are looking for certain types of companies, which should be the absolute priority as a junior VC.

If this differs too much from what you like, the firm might not be the place for you.

2. Finding my superpower

This is the biggest disadvantage I found becoming a VC straight out of undergrad. I am still working on this, but my framework for finding a superpower in VC:

  1. It should fall into one of these buckets: Sourcing, Diligence, Portcos, and LPs
  2. One of my teammates should not be a star of the superpower
  3. I should enjoy developing and implementing the superpower

What value are you adding that is different and unique from your team?

3. Keep asking “why”

I joke about this now, but when I joined the team at M25, I didn’t know much about VC. This made me ask “why” a lot initially, but as time passed, I started doing less of it.

I wish I asked “why” on some of the reasonings for passing on deals. I wish I asked “why” during the critical decision that I made about my career in the past instead of just saying okay. I wish I asked “why” we were doing certain things a certain way.

4. Be open

Being vulnerable in front of trusted investors (or in public) added a ton of value than just saying, “let me know how I can be helpful.”

Overall, I am more energetic than ever before and looking forward to the following year. Here are some past goals and some more ambitious new goals:

Previous Year Goals:

  • Build more active founder and investor relationships that are not surface level

Founders: I am still working on finding a way to develop deeper founder relationships, but they are becoming more substantial as I get access to them often now.

Investors: COVID was not temporary 😢. At some point, I was struggling to find answers to my questions. I didn’t want to reach out to my immediate network, so I started A peer learning community to bring non-Partner VCs to share, learn, and grow together. Over the last 40 weeks, 200+ active investors took part in a weekly Q&A related to being a VC. I am amazed by the weekly engagement and how open investors are once you enable it. Now, everyone can learn together and get more detailed answers from a wide variety of investors.

  • Be able to reach out to industry experts when necessary

I started to focus on the M&A niche, which was also one of my key OKRs. This ties into an area where my team is not an expert yet, and I can add meaningful value.

Next Year Goals:

  • Hone into a superpower

I have been experimenting with a couple of ideas around working with founders on early-stage social media growth strategies and product-market fit.

  • Find ways to keep up with passed opportunities

I want to find a way to be helpful for founders I said no to due to things out of my control.

Previous years: Year 1; Year 2; Year 3

About Abhinaya Konduru

Abhinaya is a Senior Associate at M25, where she helps make new investments and works with portfolio companies.

About M25

M25 is one of the most active venture capital firms focused solely on early-stage tech investments in the Midwest. Since the firm’s inception in 2015, M25 has invested in over 100 early-stage tech startups in 24 cities across 11 states in the Midwest. M25’s objective, analytical model and collaborative, forward-thinking approach creates a large portfolio spanning several industries across the entire region, allowing them to establish M25 as a key node in the Midwest startup ecosystem.