I got to interview Venture Capitalist Principal at Learn Capital Jennifer Lee recently as part of the charity deal she’s doing with GiveGetWin.
Interested in both the hard sciences and business, I wondered how they could merge — in what ways are they similar? Jennifer’s take on this, given that she has both a Chemistry and Management Science degree from MIT and an MBA from Harvard Business School, seemed really valuable.
“Science is a way of understanding how the world works from one perspective - but I don’t think it was quite for me professionally(…) I prefer more team driven environments…”
So she decided to look at finance and found some similarities “…Understanding how the market behaves, its a way of understanding the world from a different point of view.”
I was still quite skeptical about these said similarities, but her approach to analyzing a company’s potential surprised me. It resembled the systematic thinking needed for scientific research. "In talking to many startups, we start to identify certain patterns that suggest at a startup's potential to achieve that. Things like having a whole team with a solid understanding of the team's strengths and weaknesses, strong founder cognitive flexibility, etc”
The identification of patterns, variables and how that can help predict an outcome — They are all part of the empirical analysis used for experiments.
As a young guy coming up in the world, interested in both science and business, I was very interested in hearing her take on learning and colleges. So I asked her about a startup university Learn Capital invested in, called Minerva Schools. “I think universities like Minerva are going to offer a life changing opportunity. Minerva is much more thoughtful in what it’s consumer really wants and needs from the learning experience.”
She says that what most universities miss is that not everything is about acquiring knowledge and masteries, it’s also about getting a job. “Minerva is very aware of that and set up the system, not only to give you skillets, but also engage with potential employers."
Jennifer is holding a roundtable discussion for one hour on Wednesday August 26th at 3PM Pacific (6PM Eastern). 100% of the proceeds are going to charity, it's a great opportunity to sharpen your company's early growth, or hone the methods you're going to use to turn your idea or prototype into a thriving business.