As a Chinese female expat in Amsterdam, with a corporate background in Shell and Accenture, she transitioned to be a VC professional at a Dutch VC firm Newion focusing on early-stage B2B SaaS startup investment. Based on her experience, she shared tips for young international professionals thinking of becoming a venture capitalist in the Netherlands.
Breaking into the Dutch VC world
Before joining Newion, Wang had varied international work experiences, specialized in HR at Shell and change management and digital consulting at Accenture. But she soon realized that she wanted to take a generalist approach to her career.
"I want to learn about different industries and different functional areas at the same time. When working in big companies, you can only grow in a specialized domain. Venture capital is the profession that combines them all."
Of course, work at international corporates is very different from local VC funds. Wondering whether it's for you and how to navigate the transition? Here are three things Wang advises you to keep in mind:
1. Look for Dutch VC firms with international ambitions and inclusive culture.
Since Newion invests in future global market leaders, it has been actively working to make its company culture open and inclusive to international hires, making it a good fit for Wang.
"I am the only woman on our team, and 80% of the team is Dutch. I grew up in Chinese culture. I used to work in companies with tens of thousands of employees with a balanced gender mix and nationality mix. In many aspects, I am very different. It took some time to adjust myself to different ways of working and communication styles. But my team also made efforts to help me feel more included.
In the first few months, some team discussions were in Dutch if I didn't need to be involved. Now everything is in English. It helped me feel more socially integrated. My colleagues also read books and watch programs about China. And I got full support from Newion to work in China for two months when my mother in China was ill.
It is a team effort and change from both sides. If a company is not ready for changes, it is difficult for an individual employee to succeed. If you need an international work environment, you want to make sure the firms you apply to have decided to aim for an international investment scope or already have other internationals on the team."