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VENTURE CAPITALIST: Auditions New Companies & Helps Build Them Into Successes

About this video 

Ann Winblad, co-founder of Hummer Winblad Venture Partners, describes her career journey from being one of the few women at the time studying math, business, & computer science, to starting a successful software company, to investing in & building other technology ventures.

Degree: Mathematics - Business Management and Strategy
Job Title: Venture Capitalist
Employer: Hummer Winblad Venture Partners

Job Summary: Venture Capitalist

Job Description

A venture capitalist (VC) invests in start-up or relatively small businesses. VCs look for little-known companies that have a unusually large potential to provide them and their limited partners (investors) an outsize return on their investment. VCs usually organize themselves into small firms that work together to choose investments. Many VCs, after making an investment, will actively work with the company in which they invested (a portfolio company) to help it prosper.

On-the-Job Training

Varies widely.

Quick Facts

Average salary
Average salary
National Statistic Change Location
Confirm
$100,000 - $300,000
Projected job growth
Projected Job Growth
1 to 5 percent
Typical schedule
Typical schedule
Full-time, Irregular
Typical workplace
Typical workplace
Indoor, Office, Travel
Personal qualities
Personal Qualities
Analytical skills, Detail oriented, Mathematical skills, Verbal communication skills, Written communication skills, Networking, People skills, Problem solving skills

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P3.instances[0].transcript.parse_transcript_data({"transcript":"<p><span m='530'>I'm</span> <span m='670'>Ann</span> <span m='880'>Winblad.</span> <span m='1500'>I</span> <span m='1700'>am</span> <span m='1880'>the</span> <span m='1980'>co-founder</span> <span m='2640'>and</span> <span m='2780'>managing</span> <span m='3230'>director</span> <span m='3535'>at</span> <span m='3840'>Hummer</span> <span m='4140'>Winblad</span> <span m='4650'>Venture</span> <span m='5040'>Partners.</span> <span m='6670'>I am a</span> <span m='7110'>venture</span> <span m='7410'>capitalist</span> <span m='8280'>by</span> <span m='8430'>title.</span> <span m='10790'>I</span> <span m='11080'>am</span> <span m='11300'>an</span> <span m='11440'>early</span> <span m='11730'>stage</span> <span m='12260'>venture</span> <span m='12520'>capitalist.</span> <span m='13940'>I</span> <span m='14170'>invest</span> <span m='14810'>in</span> <span m='15280'>brand</span> <span m='15600'>new</span> <span m='15810'>software</span> <span m='16260'>companies.</span> <span m='17490'>My</span> <span m='17770'>job</span> <span m='18250'>is</span> <span m='18600'>to</span> <span m='19190'>audition</span> <span m='20000'>new</span> <span m='20230'>ideas,</span> <span m='21050'>new</span> <span m='21320'>entrepreneurs,</span> <span m='22760'>and</span> <span m='23080'>to</span> <span m='23200'>make</span> <span m='23410'>choices</span> <span m='23760'>along</span> <span m='24470'>with</span> <span m='24590'>my</span> <span m='24730'>partners</span> <span m='25290'>here</span> <span m='26310'>on</span> <span m='26700'>which</span> <span m='26970'>companies</span> <span m='27620'>we</span> <span m='27780'>should</span> <span m='27980'>invest</span> <span m='28540'>in</span> <span m='29220'>and</span> <span m='29440'>help</span> <span m='29760'>build</span> <span m='30040'>into</span> <span m='30280'>large</span> <span m='30650'>companies</span> <span m='31280'>that</span> <span m='31460'>are</span> <span m='31580'>extremely</span> <span m='32229'>successful.</span> </p><p><span m='33880'>Well, my</span> <span m='34020'>route</span> <span m='34260'>to</span> <span m='34400'>venture</span> <span m='34730'>capital</span> <span m='35025'>is</span> <span m='35320'>pretty</span> <span m='35690'>straightforward.</span> <span m='36450'>I</span> <span m='36550'>didn't</span> <span m='36740'>intend</span> <span m='37260'>to</span> <span m='37380'>be</span> <span m='37550'>a</span> <span m='37570'>venture</span> <span m='37890'>capitalist.</span> <span m='38630'>And</span> <span m='38870'>we'll</span> <span m='39000'>get</span> <span m='39160'>to</span> <span m='39240'>that</span> <span m='39540'>in</span> <span m='39680'>a</span> <span m='39730'>bit.</span> <span m='41260'>I</span> <span m='41380'>grew</span> <span m='41700'>up in</span> <span m='41750'>a</span> <span m='41800'>small</span> <span m='42130'>town</span> <span m='42550'>in</span> <span m='42750'>Minnesota--</span> <span m='43310'>Farmington,</span> <span m='43770'>Minnesota.</span> <span m='44460'>I'm almost</span> <span m='44720'>like</span> <span m='44890'>Rebecca</span> <span m='45390'>of</span> <span m='45670'>Sunnybrook</span> <span m='45970'>Farm.</span> </p><p><span m='47100'>I</span> <span m='47240'>went</span> <span m='47530'>to</span> <span m='48640'>the</span> <span m='48730'>University</span> <span m='49370'>of</span> <span m='49450'>St.</span> <span m='49710'>Catherine's</span> <span m='50340'>and the</span> <span m='50520'>University</span> <span m='50800'>of</span> <span m='51080'>St.</span> <span m='51390'>Thomas</span> <span m='52120'>in</span> <span m='52750'>St.</span> <span m='53020'>Paul,</span> <span m='53300'>Minnesota</span> <span m='54390'>for</span> <span m='54560'>college,</span> <span m='55350'>for</span> <span m='55480'>my</span> <span m='55630'>graduate</span> <span m='56330'>and</span> <span m='56470'>undergraduate</span> <span m='57170'>degrees.</span> <span m='58730'>I</span> <span m='58820'>studied</span> <span m='59120'>math</span> <span m='59960'>and</span> <span m='60380'>business</span> <span m='61080'>as</span> <span m='61270'>my</span> <span m='61410'>majors</span> <span m='63080'>with</span> <span m='64599'>computer</span> <span m='64970'>science</span> <span m='65500'>being</span> <span m='66180'>something</span> <span m='66560'>that</span> <span m='66980'>I took every</span> <span m='67200'>single</span> <span m='67540'>class.</span> <span m='68080'>But</span> <span m='68240'>there</span> <span m='68430'>was</span> <span m='68670'>not</span> <span m='68930'>a</span> <span m='68960'>major</span> <span m='69310'>in</span> <span m='69380'>computer</span> <span m='69730'>science</span> <span m='70150'>at</span> <span m='70230'>the</span> <span m='70320'>time.</span> </p><p><span m='71400'>I</span> <span m='71540'>was</span> <span m='71770'>fortunate</span> <span m='72220'>to</span> <span m='72300'>get</span> <span m='72410'>a</span> <span m='72440'>great</span> <span m='72810'>job</span> <span m='73070'>out</span> <span m='73140'>of</span> <span m='73230'>college</span> <span m='73810'>as</span> <span m='74380'>a</span> <span m='75050'>systems</span> <span m='75650'>programmer</span> <span m='76080'>at</span> <span m='76510'>the</span> <span m='76600'>Federal</span> <span m='76850'>Reserve</span> <span m='77190'>Bank</span> <span m='77470'>in</span> <span m='77560'>Minneapolis.</span> <span m='79100'>Great</span> <span m='79370'>job</span> <span m='79910'>that,</span> <span m='80680'>after</span> <span m='81010'>a</span> <span m='81110'>while,</span> <span m='81330'>I</span> <span m='81460'>decided</span> <span m='81890'>was</span> <span m='82050'>too</span> <span m='82210'>boring</span> <span m='82590'>for</span> <span m='82750'>me.</span> <span m='82900'>So</span> <span m='83040'>I</span> <span m='83100'>quit</span> <span m='83490'>that</span> <span m='83710'>job</span> <span m='84020'>one</span> <span m='84230'>day</span> <span m='85150'>and</span> <span m='85420'>started</span> <span m='85840'>a</span> <span m='85890'>software</span> <span m='86290'>company</span> <span m='86680'>called</span> <span m='87050'>Open</span> <span m='87350'>Systems</span> <span m='87910'>in</span> <span m='87980'>Minneapolis.</span> </p><p><span m='89420'>After</span> <span m='89680'>six</span> <span m='90010'>years,</span> <span m='90360'>that</span> <span m='90510'>company</span> <span m='90890'>was</span> <span m='91070'>acquired.</span> <span m='91980'>And</span> <span m='92310'>by</span> <span m='92440'>that</span> <span m='92680'>time,</span> <span m='93200'>I had</span> <span m='93380'>discovered</span> <span m='93950'>that</span> <span m='94110'>winter</span> <span m='94400'>was</span> <span m='94580'>optional.</span> <span m='95560'>And that</span> <span m='95870'>option</span> <span m='96200'>was</span> <span m='96380'>expensive</span> <span m='96850'>to</span> <span m='96980'>take.</span> <span m='97890'>But</span> <span m='98040'>I</span> <span m='98120'>had</span> <span m='98420'>made</span> <span m='98830'>a</span> <span m='98920'>bit</span> <span m='99070'>of</span> <span m='99180'>money.</span> <span m='99660'>So</span> <span m='99920'>I</span> <span m='99990'>moved</span> <span m='100290'>to</span> <span m='100380'>California,</span> <span m='101066'>did</span> <span m='101410'>two</span> <span m='101750'>years</span> <span m='102050'>of</span> <span m='102130'>consulting</span> <span m='103790'>with</span> <span m='104050'>companies</span> <span m='104490'>like</span> <span m='104640'>Microsoft,</span> <span m='105640'>IBM,</span> <span m='106080'>Pricewaterhouse,</span> <span m='106980'>wrote a</span> <span m='107320'>technology</span> <span m='107950'>book</span> <span m='108570'>during</span> <span m='108790'>that</span> <span m='109000'>time.</span> <span m='109940'>And</span> <span m='110280'>right after</span> <span m='110770'>that,</span> <span m='111240'>co-founded</span> <span m='111950'>Hummer</span> <span m='112430'>Winblad</span> <span m='112690'>Venture</span> <span m='112980'>Partners</span> <span m='113630'>in</span> <span m='113790'>1989</span> <span m='114920'>24</span> <span m='115370'>years</span> <span m='115650'>ago</span> <span m='116530'>with</span> <span m='116720'>John</span> <span m='117020'>Hummer.</span> </p><p><span m='118830'>What</span> <span m='119330'>I'm</span> <span m='119685'>glad I</span> <span m='120040'>learned</span> <span m='120940'>as</span> <span m='121450'>a</span> <span m='121530'>young</span> <span m='121800'>girl</span> <span m='122260'>and</span> <span m='122520'>then</span> <span m='122860'>a</span> <span m='123170'>young woman</span> <span m='123860'>was</span> <span m='124180'>to</span> <span m='124940'>always</span> <span m='126020'>keep</span> <span m='126390'>down</span> <span m='126630'>the</span> <span m='126710'>path</span> <span m='127060'>of</span> <span m='127140'>what</span> <span m='127300'>you're</span> <span m='127390'>good</span> <span m='127610'>at.</span> <span m='128270'>I</span> <span m='128370'>was</span> <span m='128580'>very</span> <span m='128789'>good</span> <span m='129050'>at math</span> <span m='129490'>in</span> <span m='129580'>high</span> <span m='129759'>school.</span> <span m='130320'>I</span> <span m='130419'>never</span> <span m='131070'>did</span> <span m='131270'>programming</span> <span m='131930'>in</span> <span m='132270'>high school.</span> <span m='132660'>I didn't discover</span> <span m='133110'>programming</span> <span m='133435'>until I</span> <span m='133760'>went to</span> <span m='134180'>college.</span> </p><p><span m='135260'>When I</span> <span m='135530'>got to</span> <span m='135800'>college,</span> <span m='136200'>I</span> <span m='136380'>was</span> <span m='136810'>after</span> <span m='137110'>a while</span> <span m='137670'>the only</span> <span m='137760'>girl</span> <span m='138080'>in the</span> <span m='138280'>math</span> <span m='138560'>classes,</span> <span m='138905'>the only</span> <span m='139250'>girl in the</span> <span m='139560'>computer</span> <span m='140190'>science</span> <span m='140600'>classes,</span> <span m='141160'>and</span> <span m='141240'>one</span> <span m='141400'>of</span> <span m='141510'>a</span> <span m='141590'>couple</span> <span m='142250'>of</span> <span m='142350'>girls</span> <span m='142830'>in</span> <span m='143010'>the</span> <span m='143100'>business</span> <span m='143480'>classes.</span> <span m='144790'>And</span> <span m='144930'>it</span> <span m='144990'>was</span> <span m='145160'>really</span> <span m='145580'>tempting</span> <span m='146340'>to</span> <span m='147240'>pick</span> <span m='147920'>other</span> <span m='148130'>majors</span> <span m='148660'>where</span> <span m='149050'>my</span> <span m='149180'>good</span> <span m='149460'>girlfriends</span> <span m='150030'>were.</span> <span m='150345'>You know,</span> <span m='150660'>they</span> <span m='151050'>were</span> <span m='151290'>always</span> <span m='152110'>leaving</span> <span m='152430'>class</span> <span m='153220'>laughing</span> <span m='153650'>about</span> <span m='154000'>stuff.</span> <span m='154580'>And</span> <span m='154840'>I</span> <span m='154960'>was</span> <span m='155150'>hanging</span> <span m='155450'>out</span> <span m='155570'>with a</span> <span m='155610'>bunch</span> <span m='155890'>of</span> <span m='155940'>nerdy</span> <span m='156210'>guys.</span> <span m='158300'>But</span> <span m='158420'>I</span> <span m='158510'>really</span> <span m='158760'>did</span> <span m='158960'>like</span> <span m='159210'>math</span> <span m='159680'>and</span> <span m='159830'>liked</span> <span m='159960'>computer</span> <span m='160380'>science,</span> <span m='160980'>and</span> <span m='161140'>liked</span> <span m='161380'>the</span> <span m='161450'>business</span> <span m='161820'>classes</span> <span m='162330'>as</span> <span m='162510'>well.</span> </p><p><span m='163960'>In</span> <span m='164110'>the</span> <span m='164270'>end,</span> <span m='165030'>it</span> <span m='165110'>turned</span> <span m='165380'>out</span> <span m='165510'>to</span> <span m='165620'>be</span> <span m='165870'>a</span> <span m='165940'>great</span> <span m='166260'>choice</span> <span m='166640'>that I</span> <span m='166840'>made</span> <span m='167100'>that</span> <span m='167280'>compromise</span> <span m='168240'>to</span> <span m='169060'>stick</span> <span m='169720'>with</span> <span m='170310'>where</span> <span m='170770'>my</span> <span m='171230'>intellectual</span> <span m='171890'>passion</span> <span m='172360'>was</span> <span m='172830'>even</span> <span m='173090'>though</span> <span m='173310'>it</span> <span m='173540'>felt</span> <span m='173860'>like</span> <span m='174300'>I</span> <span m='174450'>was</span> <span m='174660'>having</span> <span m='175030'>less</span> <span m='175410'>fun</span> <span m='175810'>at</span> <span m='175990'>the</span> <span m='176090'>time.</span> <span m='176960'>That's</span> <span m='177300'>paid</span> <span m='177550'>off</span> <span m='177740'>in</span> <span m='177850'>spades.</span> <span m='179790'>It's</span> <span m='180290'>really</span> <span m='180590'>what</span> <span m='180890'>gave</span> <span m='181160'>me</span> <span m='181290'>the</span> <span m='181430'>opportunity</span> <span m='182000'>to</span> <span m='182040'>get</span> <span m='182220'>my</span> <span m='182350'>first</span> <span m='182700'>great</span> <span m='182950'>job,</span> <span m='183490'>to</span> <span m='183590'>really</span> <span m='184040'>learn</span> <span m='184250'>programming,</span> <span m='185400'>to</span> <span m='185520'>discover</span> <span m='186170'>that</span> <span m='186720'>I</span> <span m='186820'>could</span> <span m='187000'>be</span> <span m='187140'>an</span> <span m='187240'>entrepreneur</span> <span m='187790'>because</span> <span m='188230'>I had that</span> <span m='188400'>business</span> <span m='188820'>degree.</span> <span m='189900'>I</span> <span m='191010'>understood</span> <span m='191430'>finance</span> <span m='191970'>and</span> <span m='192110'>math,</span> <span m='193200'>and</span> <span m='193600'>really</span> <span m='194000'>the</span> <span m='194120'>skills</span> <span m='194600'>I</span> <span m='194760'>built</span> <span m='195070'>on</span> <span m='195310'>for</span> <span m='195430'>the</span> <span m='195520'>rest</span> <span m='195980'>of</span> <span m='196120'>my</span> <span m='196450'>30-plus</span> <span m='197280'>year</span> <span m='197570'>career</span> <span m='198040'>in</span> <span m='198220'>computer</span> <span m='198610'>software.</span> </p><p><span m='199730'>So</span> <span m='199870'>what</span> <span m='200180'>I</span> <span m='200500'>learned</span> <span m='200865'>is</span> <span m='201230'>even</span> <span m='201550'>though</span> <span m='201930'>it</span> <span m='202070'>seems</span> <span m='202470'>like,</span> <span m='202980'>gee,</span> <span m='204010'>I</span> <span m='204140'>really</span> <span m='204490'>like</span> <span m='204730'>this</span> <span m='204830'>stuff,</span> <span m='205470'>but</span> <span m='205670'>this</span> <span m='206020'>might</span> <span m='206260'>be</span> <span m='206370'>kind</span> <span m='206550'>of</span> <span m='206670'>dull</span> <span m='206990'>for</span> <span m='207120'>a</span> <span m='207190'>while,</span> <span m='208436'>for</span> <span m='208800'>if</span> <span m='208950'>you're a</span> <span m='209170'>computer</span> <span m='209510'>science</span> <span m='209970'>major</span> <span m='210530'>or</span> <span m='210680'>even</span> <span m='210890'>a</span> <span m='210960'>math</span> <span m='211270'>major,</span> <span m='211960'>there'll</span> <span m='212070'>be</span> <span m='212210'>five</span> <span m='212590'>opportunities</span> <span m='213410'>for</span> <span m='213500'>you</span> <span m='214060'>at</span> <span m='214200'>the</span> <span m='214290'>finish</span> <span m='214700'>line.</span> <span m='215465'>If</span> <span m='215770'>you're</span> <span m='216220'>a</span> <span m='217080'>performing</span> <span m='217600'>arts</span> <span m='217890'>major,</span> <span m='218330'>you</span> <span m='218500'>might</span> <span m='218760'>be</span> <span m='218880'>competing</span> <span m='219510'>with--</span> <span m='221190'>you</span> <span m='221320'>won't</span> <span m='221600'>get</span> <span m='221880'>the</span> <span m='223210'>college</span> <span m='224040'>bonus</span> <span m='225610'>for</span> <span m='225720'>taking</span> <span m='226100'>that</span> <span m='226300'>degree,</span> <span m='226605'>even though</span> <span m='226910'>it'll</span> <span m='227190'>be</span> <span m='227460'>a</span> <span m='227560'>lot</span> <span m='227820'>of</span> <span m='227910'>fun.</span> <span m='228430'>And</span> <span m='228610'>I</span> <span m='228680'>did</span> <span m='228870'>take</span> <span m='229140'>some</span> <span m='229280'>of</span> <span m='229350'>those</span> <span m='229550'>performing</span> <span m='230020'>arts</span> <span m='230220'>classes.</span> <span m='230880'>So they</span> <span m='231100'>were</span> <span m='231530'>fun.</span> </p>","file":{"id":272629,"video_id":"2708218637001","name":"72020286","duration":232660,"thumbnail_url":null}});