Myrto Lalacos – Life after being a Student VC
One of the perks of my job is catching up with our Student VCs after they’ve graduated from our programme and finding out all the wonderful things they’re getting up to. Nothing beats that warm and fuzzy feeling of seeing someone you’ve seen grow, come to know and respect looking happy and confident and pleased with how things are going for them.
Our Student VCs are some of the brightest, most capable students in the country. They would probably be doing amazing things whether they’d been part of the Campus Capital family or not. But it’s still nice to have been able to play a small part in their lives and given them some interesting things to talk about at interview.
Name: Myrto Lalacos
Studied: MSc, Organisational Psychology
Student VC: Manchester 2017-2018
Current Role: Investment Executive
“ I think that the time I have spent with Michael and Samantha at Campus Capital and their vision for how VC should be, has shaped the kind of VC I want to be.“
How did you get into VC?
Before starting University, Venture Capital (VC) is something I had never even heard of. However, I became fascinated by entrepreneurship when I had an idea for a start-up whilst doing my undergraduate degree at University of Sussex, I embraced the help it could give me by entering a mini incubator style competition. This gave me my first exposure to starting up a business and I realised that I had a lot to learn, but also how passionate I am about learning how you can materialise an idea and then scale it.
I then chose The University of Manchester (UOM) for my postgraduate degree for the city’s startup ecosystem. During my time as Community Manager for UOM Manchester Entrepreneurs Society, Campus Capital got in touch about their Student VC programme. At first, we thought it was too good to be true. Michael, one of the founders, asked me to get involved in building the selection process and I couldn’t wait to jump on board. I then caught the bug.
What was your role within the team?
The course I was doing at UOM was Organisational Psychology MSc, so I worked with Michael and Samantha to build the first Student VC team in Manchester The aim was for a selection process that would remove personal biases. It was an awesome feeling to be combining the organisational psychology principles from my course to a real business problem. Campus Capital is great to work with, they were open and dedicated to building a programme that was inclusive. The VC community is still quite closed, and I could see that Campus Capital really wanted to be open to everyone. I really enjoyed being part of that movement.
What did you learn?
The bootcamp was focused around what VCs should look for and what you should expect in a pitch. The training really helped me to feel prepared ahead of going out and meeting founders, so when I went to my first meetings, it wasn’t too daunting.
I don’t think I realised at the time how much these experiences would shape me and how valuable they were when it came to leaving University and getting a job.
The first pitch that I went to was a big learning curve; I remember the cafe we chose to hold the meeting was too loud, the people in the team and I were asking questions and talking over each other. However, the founder took us seriously, and as a team we knew how we could improve for the next time. There was great value taking the learnings from the Bootcamp out into the real world.
I don’t think I realised at the time how much these experiences would shape me and how valuable they were when it came to leaving University and getting a job. It surprised me that just after graduating I had acquired enough knowledge in the space to hold conversations with investors and founders who had many years of professional experience .
What are you doing now?
I can honestly say that I wouldn’t be where I am today without Campus Capital. I was headhunted for my current role and my recruiter said two things jumped off my CV straight away. The first was my time as a Student VC with Campus Capital and my second was my involvement with AccelerateME. I was surprised as I had 2 years work experience at this stage, but he seemed the most keen on the extra curricular things I had done at University.
One of the best things about working in VC is that it allows you to somehow live in the future.
I am currently an Investment Executive for Praetura Ventures, which is an entry level position in their investment team. It’s very similar to what I did at Campus Capital. My role is to find, assess and invest in early-stage companies. The companies we invest in then move over to our portfolio team who support their growth going forward. We invest across industries in the UK but have a bias for Northern companies., We are at a slightly later stage to Campus Capital, we tend to look for 2nd or 3rd round investments (£1-3m ticket sizes).
One of the best things about working in VC is that it allows you to somehow live in the future. You meet and work with founders who are building ideas into companies which will transform how we will all live and work and It’s exhilarating to be at the forefront of things .
Any advice for students?
Get involved. It may feel that there is a daunting amount of opportunities when you are a student and it’s difficult to wade through them. But if you want something to get you into VC, Campus Capital is as close as you will get to getting that experience at university and it’s somewhere where you can learn about VC in an incredibly nurturing and passionate environment.
On a personal note, I think that the time I have spent with Michael and Samantha and their vision for how VC should be, has shaped the kind of VC I want to be. They’re building a new generation of VCs who will change the present norms in the industry .