Venture Capital Investor Relations Specialists
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There are many ways to learn more about a career in investor relations and the venture capital industry. Check out books such as The Handbook of Financial Communications and Investor Relations (Wiley-Blackwell, 2017) to learn more about the art of investor relations. The Venture Capital section of PitchBook offers industry news and insights (https://pitchbook.com/news/venture-capital). And publications such as IR Update (https://www.niri.org/resources/publications/ir-update) and IR Magazine (https://www.irmagazine.com) provide information on the latest IR trends, developments, and best practices.
It will also be beneficial to learn as much as you can about the business world. The Wall Street Journal (https://www.wsj.com) is a good source of information about major companies, breaking business deals, and government regulations that affect the VC industry. Take marketing and public relations classes in high school. Offer to create a marketing campaign for a school fundraiser, play, or sports tournament.
Investor relations (IR) specialists play two important roles at venture capital firms. They work with the firm’s partners to attract new investors, and they keep current investors (who are known as limited partners) up to date on the fund’s performance. “Taking a disciplined approach to regular communications with current investors is crucial,” advises JobSearchDigest.com, an employment and career advice site for venture capital, private equity, hedge fund, and investment banking professionals. “In good times, when the fund is performing well, it can lead to increased investment. In tough times, such as the recent economic downturn, the trust and good will built over time can convince investors to stick with their investments and the firm.”
Investor relations specialists are in strongest demand during the initial public offering (IPO) stage of the exit process (during which the VC firm seeks to turn the equity it owns in a company back into cash). During the IPO, investor relations specialists educate investors and members of the media about the company with an overall goal of ensuring that its stock is valued as highly as possible. They develop press kits, Web sites, social media campaigns, and other investor materials. They also accompany managing partners and company executives on presentations (called road shows) to analysts, fund managers, and investors to generate excitement about the IPO and the products or services offered by the company. The IR specialists may also create a multimedia presentation of the road show to post online. During this time, IR professionals also write reports on the status of the IPO for limited partners, as well as prepare information for potentially thousands of new shareholders.
Other major duties of investor relations professionals include:
- responding to questions from limited partners about the performance of a fund and general market conditions
- working closely with the entire fund management team, including the fund manager, controller, chief financial officer, and fund analysts and associates
- assisting the senior management team by providing market intelligence, summarizing analysts’ reports, and providing information on investors’ perceptions about the company/IPO
- coordinating with the finance team to respond to due diligence requests from potential investors
- helping senior staff conduct due diligence on potential investors to ensure eligibility and compliance with federal anti-money laundering requirements
- serving as the liaison between limited partners and the firm
- creating and updating the firm’s customer relations management database to track interactions with current and potential investors
- overseeing firm-wide media relations activities, including developing its media strategy, writing press releases and other promotional materials, and managing its Web site and social media accounts
- identifying any potential financial or firm management issues that might be a concern to limited partners and prospective investors and mitigating these issues in advance