A visit to Birchmere Ventures

The Tepper Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital (EVC) Club visited Birchmere Ventures and met with Gary Glausser, partner and CFO, today. The office visit to Birchmere Ventures was the first of several planned visits to local venture capital firms by the EVC club. Gary answered many of our questions regarding running a venture capital firm in the Pittsburgh area, recent trends in VC, and what it was like to start and grow a fund.

The visit was a great complement to the Venture Capital / Private Equity course I’m taking at Tepper right now. We’ve looked at early stage funding, distressed funding, private equity, and leveraged buyouts in our class. The visit to Birchmere was insightful to learn firsthand the practical issues in running a venture capital firm. Building models and valuing companies is one thing; dealing with uncertainty, solving complex business problems, and helping entrepreneurs build their companies is something totally different.

I’m beginning to think I should take a closer look at venture capital / private equity as a career option. Entrepreneurship is cool, but financing new (or existing) companies and the tremendous returns these lucrative deals yield are very, very tempting. However, it’s a hard field to break into. A Tepper alum recently told me it would be easier to start my own fund than to break into venture capital. I’m not sure how certain that is, but it has made me think “big” and ask myself, “why not?”

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