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Do VC firms need Associates?

Venture Capital is a coveted career path, which has grown significantly in popularity among top graduates in the past years, but do VC funds need junior talent? To answer the question, we analyzed the past current employee base of top 11 American VC funds, including names like Sequoia, Accel and a16z, to understand the composition of their teams. The analysis covered over 3,100 individuals and the findings are presented below:

  • Across the analyzed panel, the number of Partners (583) rivalled the number of all junior investors combined together (654), pointing to a very top heavy industry

  • In certain funds, such as a16z or NEA, the total number of partners significantly exceeded the junior team by as high as 2x or 5x

  • A definite stand-out in this analysis is a16z, which calls more that 50% of its staff "Partners", which is a sign of either a very flat organisation or a uniquely different org strategy to other funds.

When comparing these top VC fund to more traditional growth or PE investors (e.g., General Atlantic or Insight Partners), the comparison is even more stark. As you can see in the below chart, for GA/Insight more than 70% of their staff is composed for some sort of junior deal makers in analyst, associate, VP and other roles.

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