How I got a job in VC

Asta Diabaté
10 min readJan 13, 2021

How a policy grad ended up in VC a year and a half after graduation

Tomorrow I’m officially going to update my LinkedIn to say ‘early stage investor/vc whatever’. I still haven’t decided what my title will say. Sue me (on second thought don’t).

You might be wondering what business does an international public management master holder (whatever that means) have in the VC industry. And yes, I’m aware that plenty of posts have been written about breaking into VC. But I thought I’d share my journey anyway — how I figured out VC was something I wanted to do and how I got into the industry.

How I discovered the wonderful world of VC

My first brush with VC happened in 2016 when I was in Seoul. Two things happened:

  1. I was interning at a startup that was in talks to raise cash from Softbank Ventures Asia. I had zero clue about what a pitch deck was but I raised my hand to proof-read the final version. The fundraise was a success and we got some additional cash in the bank.
  2. I came across Arlan Hamilton through an article in Inc. I researched her, read this medium post she wrote about cold emailing her, and decided to get in touch to interview her for my blog Spectra (RIP). She replied! Sadly the interview never happened in the end (thank you 2016 presidential election). But through her story I started to get interested in VC. What was this shiny industry that allowed entrepreneurs to get cash to build their dreams?
My cold email to Arlan sent all the way back in September 2016

Fast forward to 2017. I was in Paris, doing my masters at Sciences Po and I was lucky enough to learn more about VC by taking an extra course in Business Model Innovation taught by a VC at Partech Ventures. But it was the Upcoming VC challenge — a two day quest organised at Station F — that made me think about breaking into VC one day. Through that challenge I had the chance to…

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Asta Diabaté

Sharing my two cents about tech, biz & sometimes policy. Oxford & Sciences Po Paris Alumna