A private equity company purchases all or part of the equity of a company and provides working capital to help that company expand, develop its products and grow, while venture capital firms typically invest exclusively in small, start-up companies. People in private equity and venture capital need a strong knowledge of finance, as well as an understanding of the various industries in which they invest.
Tracy Warren, general partner with Battelle Ventures, a venture capital fund outside Princeton, joined venture capital in 2001 when she had just earned her MBA from Columbia Business School. She has a corporate finance background in health care mergers & acquisitions, a valuable foundation for investing in companies in the health care field. She is currently chairman of the BioNano Genomics and NellOne boards of directors and sits on the board of Micro Interventional Devices—all companies in which Battelle invests. Warren led the firm’s investments in Endovalve, Metatomix, Nupathe, SmartSynch and Supertronic.
Warren points out that young people aspiring to launch careers in private equity and venture capital will not have an easy time landing a job as the nation emerges from economic hardship. “I’m afraid obtaining a job is tougher than ever,” notes Warren. “My advice for young people interested in entering venture capital or private equity is that they aggressively pursue an operating role with a small or medium sized company and become jack of all trades—learn how a business operates, how decisions are made. The experience can be invaluable later when trying to invest in companies.”
For a list of New Jersey venture capital firms, visit http://www.fundingpost.com/venturefund/venture-capital.asp?state=NJ&venture-capital-fund.