Nuance

A day in the life of a VC analyst

We are super lucky to have Irene Hao our super star Analyst in the team. Find out what her typical day looks like with us. Warning: the blog contains a super cute photo of our pup - Scout.



8.00 am — Coffee! I first catch up on news. I read Pitchbook, TechCrunch, Letter of Intent, LinkedIn, etc. (and find out what Mitali Purohit, Investment Manager and friend, had for dinner). After catching up on the state of our rapidly changing ecosystem, I respond to last night’s emails, which pleasingly include three new pitch decks founders have sent through — all in the cleantech & climate tech sectors we’ve been seeing so much of. There are also several responses to due diligence (often shorted to DD) questions I’ve asked of companies we are evaluating. I notice one of the decks is more than 60 pages long and think “I might leave that one for later!”


9:00 am — We kick off our weekly full team catchups on deal flow and live deals. We’re a hybrid working bunch, so half are in an office and the others join a video call. My role is to manages deals pipeline — I use Pipedrive — and I enjoy driving these meetings. Because it’s Monday, we excitedly share about our weekends first. The team discusses term sheet and cap table matters for a live deal that needs to go to the lawyers. We discuss the new deals since the previous Monday and allocate who will lead the DD and schedule next steps. We are clear about the two we decide not to proceed with today and agree to give them transparent reasons for our decline. I’m enjoying the busier pace as deal flow picks up compared with last quarter when the entire workforce slowed post-Christmas break. We’re super stoked to have invested in two new companies this month and discuss these in detail and what steps we are taking to assist them.


9:45 am — I take Scout for a walk along Takapuna Beach. This is Ngaio’s (fund GP) beautiful border collie pup who comes to the office much as a regular employee and who we claim as our own. Scout finds the biggest stick on the beach and drops it in front of me, eagerly awaiting me to throw it. Repeatedly.


10.00 am — Mitali and I meet with another NZ deep-tech VC to learn about each other’s investment processes, share deal flow, and our analysis of each opportunity — which is super valuable. The VC shares their rough calculations on the economics of one of the company’s tech and how it doesn’t commercially make sense. This is good to know and I make a note to question the founders on this. We offer to share some of our contacts we know could help with their DD.


10:30 am — I call a potential customer for the company I’ve been doing DD on. Both their CEO and CTO jump on the call and we start with intros. I explain why we have reached out and briefly describe the technology we’re investigating. I ask the company what they’re seeing in the market, what their technology acquisition processes are and what is valuable to them when engaging with new technology or newly minted companies. This call was exceptionally useful as we discovered that the company we’re doing DD on is missing a valuable opportunity in another direction which could make them even more attractive to their customers.


11:00 am — I prepare to respond to the founders who have reached out overnight. I assess the new inbound companies against Nuance’s filters (does the solution improve the world or the way people live), is it deep tech (advanced engineering, science, IP, blockchain and deep AI), is it Series A/B or Seed and is the company based in NZ) and send out a brief summary to the internal team.


The internal team reaches consensus and agrees to dig deeper into one and decline two because they don’t meet the fund mandate. I kindly decline the two who don’t, giving clear reasons why they don’t fit our mandate and happily — for both — am able to intro to other investors who they might better suit. One takes the decline well and thanks us. The other responds asking for clarification so I spend some time calling and explaining our logic. She convinces me we’ve misunderstood her deck. I track down evidence that supports her logic and call her to suggest we hear a pitch.


12:00 pm — Lunch. For those that know me, I never pass on food time. I take the full hour and today I have pork belly left over from last night. Yum.


1:00 pm — I catch up with a pair of founders over a video call to hear their pitch. I ask some questions about who the founders are and what drives them and ask myself “is this a pair I could work for”? (one of our internal screening questions). We had a good laugh at their banter and appreciate their honesty when I ask them how it’s going. They talk through what their company is currently up to, how trials are going, customer engagement and details of their capital raise. I notice they don’t mention competitors and ask them what they think of others in the market. I breathe a silent sigh of relief that they don’t think they’re the “only ones in the world” doing this. I ask them what the sales cycles are like in this industry, and what their use of funds are for this raise.

I also notice that Mitali has now taken Scout for a walk and panic that the dog will love me less.


2:00 pm — Another fund’s analyst has popped in the area. We catch up for a beach walk, and chat about life generally and how work is going. I remember I’m attending a workshop on IP in the next week and suggest it to the analyst also.


3:00 pm — The team has asked for an update on my process with DD for one of the companies from the previous Monday. I have been deep into their DD room. It’s a beautiful example of a DD room — almost a work of art. It includes a general summary of what has been provided followed by evidence to support each of the various aspects of the business (IP, contracts, financials, use of funds etc.). I notice the contracts with the suppliers and manufacturers are missing and this is crucial to securing their supply chain so need to see what the arrangements are. I flick an email to the founders for an update. A well developed and well presented DD room is a major step in the right direction for us having confidence in the founders ability to raise.

I manged to find an expert online who has expertise in competitors in this technology in Europe so I flick an email out to see if they would have some time to catch up.


6:00 pm — Am so excited. Not only am I about to eat extraordinarily good food, I’m doing it with a fabulous group of deep tech investment ladies! We chat about all things deep tech, new investments we’re excited about, all things human and family, all things about our life partners and feel lifted in spirit and supported by this kind, warm group of peers.


8:30pm — I drive home to my partner, tired and happy.

For those that want to have a further chat on any of the above, or your journey as an analyst — feel free to reach out at irene@nuance.vc :) Speak soon.

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