Aug 1 2007 by Jason

Can You Conduct A Confidential Venture Capital Job Search?

Q:  I am part of the founding management team of a start-up. We are backed by a few well known VC’s. While I think the prospects of the company are good, I am entertaining the thought of moving into venture capital.

I have a number of contacts in the venture capital community from grad school and from raising funds for my current company. I want to parlay these contacts into a venture job, but I am worried about the confidentiality of the job searching process. I am particularly concerned about:

1) Alerting my current investors and co-founders what I am up to; and

2) Making future fund raising efforts for my current company awkward, should I be unsuccessful in my search.

With that as context, here are my questions:

Should I be worried about VC’s keeping a job-related discussion with me confidential?  The firms I would speak to would be reputable firms, but my impression is that VC’s love to share little nuggets of inside information with each other.

If I should be worried about confidentiality, what steps can I take to lower my risk?

A:  (Jason)  You should be worried about word getting around.  I don’t think VC’s are any more likely to talk than if you were looking for a new CEO position at another company, but word tends to travel.  Plus, if you are really trying to get a job at one of the VC’s you speak to, they are going to need to do extensive background checks into you and this would include VC’s on your current company’s board.

Your concerns are genuine that if word gets out it will make life for you and your current company more difficult. 

I wrote a prior post that is tangentially relevant, here.