VC’s in the Making 8.0

IDEA Fund
5 min readJan 5, 2023

An Inside Look through the Eyes of Our Fall 2022 Venture Fellows Cohort

During the fall, IDEA Fund Partners hosted our latest class of Venture Fellows, a program to provide on-the-job experience to students and young professionals looking to learn more about venture capital. These Fellows from around the country were not merely observers on the sidelines — they played an integral part in the team by being fully immersed in the deal review, due diligence, and broader strategy of the firm. Their contributions and insights will last much longer than the ten weeks they spent with us. They have shared some of their biggest takeaways from the fall:

Aaron Chen, Northeastern University

The IFP Fellowship has been a game changer for me. For students, Venture Capital can often feel out of reach or like its behind an iron curtain. This fellowship has given me a huge amount of exposure to what working in this industry is like, from doing initial diligence, to taking calls with founders, to doing a deep dive into a niche sector. The team did a tremendous job of providing me with the foundation I needed to learn the ropes, while also empowering me to operate independently as a VC and add value to the firm in creative ways. Its been an incredible learning experience.

Iza Noor, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School

My time at IDEA Fund Partners has given me a better understanding of how VCs make decisions about providing funding and evaluating pitches from different founders. I realize that a strong thesis alignment is just one of the many factors that go into assessing startups. At IDEA Fund Partners, I was lucky enough to review early-stage startups, present my findings to experts in the space, and research potential future verticals that IDEA Fund Partners can expand into. Lewis, Lister, and Chris were wonderful in providing their input and guiding me along the way. Myself and the other fellows were truly integrated into the team. I look forward to using the knowledge I have gained here in my future career.

Kash Patel, Duke University — The Fuqua School of Business

The most fulfilling part of working with IDEA Fund Partners was the amount of ownership and trust given to us. From day one you are not just doing deal diligence but providing an actual recommendation on the deal itself. With this ownership and trust came valuable learning experiences from the partners themselves and understanding how to think about what makes a deal exciting to invest it and how to validate that excitement by knowing where to look in the diligence process. This was my first experience in Venture Capital and the level of support provided from IFP was nothing short of amazing throughout the fellowship. To understand how you want to look at potential deals is a takeaway I can take with me for the rest of my career.

Lizzy Isgar, Duke University — The Fuqua School of Business

Idea Fund Partners walks the walk when it comes to empowering female representation in entrepreneurship and venture capital. The fellowship allowed me to leverage my operating experience in tech to learn the skills needed to conduct early-stage investments. During my time with IFP, I had the opportunity to perform due diligence on 50+ companies, analyze industry trends, and source new investment opportunities in the future of work and home.

Melissa Kim, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School

One of the greatest qualities of the IFP Fellowship is its accessibility to the VC curious and career hopefuls like me. From the application to interviews, the team provided an open dialogue that was thoughtful and deliberate for both the program and the individual candidate. The fellowship itself provided a hands-on opportunity to analyze an array of early stage deals and challenged us to examine problems, solutions, founders and the future with discerning eyes. This opportunity helped me to grow as a professional, expanding my ability to screen startups and I felt my voice was valued in our face-to-face meetings with partners. I appreciated IFP’s diligent effort to contribute to the diversification of both the VC industry and funding for early stage founders. I would participate in the fellowship again if time permitted, but I’m thankful for the lasting connection to Idea Fund Partners.

Nate Wilson, Brigham Young University (JD/MBA)

What I enjoyed most about the IFP fellowship, and what surprised me the most, was how involved the partners, Lister and Chris, were throughout the process. They were willing to share their insights and made all of us an integral part of the process. We got to see how they approached an investment opportunity, both from a thesis perspective and from a market perspective. Overall, it was a great experience and one that gave me the chance to build pattern recognition and learn from the best!

Sarah Peters, Duke University — The Fuqua School of Business

The IDEA Fund Fellowship was an amazing experience that allowed me to understand and experience the inner workings of an early stage venture firm. I really enjoyed exploring deals, sitting in on partner meetings, and working with members of the team to help explore potential thesis topics. This was an amazing experience to learn in real-time as well as gain valuable feedback from venture experts. I truly feel as though I have gained the knowledge to help me navigate the world of venture moving forward!

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IDEA Fund

IDEA Fund Partners is one of the oldest and most active early stage VCs headquartered in the Southeast United States.