By BENJAMIN KANY and IMAN HAIDER
As the new year rolled in and people across the globe eagerly and optimistically welcomed in 2020, many of us focused on finding a summer experience that would push us to learn, develop, and mature. Many of our friends and peers had already locked in internships or accepted full-time offers; others were eager to travel, study abroad, or learn a new language, while some even planned to start their own businesses. Then, COVID-19 hit, and with it, widespread disruption: travel stopped, internships were delayed or cancelled, and businesses closed. We were forced to stay home under nationwide lockdowns, cancel our planned social interactions, and simply sit and wait. Goals fell through, priorities shifted, and it felt like progress had come to a complete halt, with the exception of one industry. Venture capital, a business of outliers, continued to evolve as the pandemic accelerated growth in several sectors, from e-commerce to remote work software. Similarly, despite the challenging circumstances, Global Ventures (GV) decided to launch their inaugural Virtual Internship Program, seeking curious, adaptable, self-starters, ready to dive into the world of VC.
The summer internship program welcomed 23 dynamic and diverse individuals, giving us a holistic understanding of VC investing from sector mapping, deal origination, diligence, and execution to value creation in portfolio companies. The program is structured to accommodate all levels of experience, with the primary focus of educating all the interns, and ensuring we leave with more knowledge about VC than we had at the start of the program. A lecture series on VC investing, fundraising, and value creation was led by a host of high profile speakers from across the globe, including Alan Patricof from Greycroft, and the founders of some of MENA’s biggest success stories, such as Ronaldo Mouchawar, the CEO and co-founder of Souq.com, and Mudassir Sheikha, the co-founder of Careem. The program’s mentorship scheme has, not only allowed us to track our progress throughout the program, but also align our experience to our wider career ambitions and goals. Coffee breaks with our peers around the world are opportunities for us to network and learn more about each other, and the possibilities for structured guidance and peer-to-peer learning has genuinely made the summer program a perfect learning experience.
We have no doubt this remote internship will transcend computer screens — we intend to stay in contact with our inaugural class beyond the summer months and are confident that our paths will cross again (hopefully, in person). Though globally located — from San Francisco, to New York, London, Dubai, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt — we will always be part of the GV team. We have struggled together, learned together, and grown together. The diversity of thought, experience, and expertise integrated into a collaborative atmosphere has unlocked potential we didn’t know we had. It has provided us with direction and goals to focus on in the future, and a set of teammates we know we can rely on to help if needed. GV has taught us to stay calm amidst uncertainty and adapt to an ever-changing world. Most of all though, it has instilled in us a mindset that pushes us to never stop finding ways to grow.
Ben Kany is a New York-based Global Ventures intern, and rising third-year student at Yale University, studying Economics with a concentration in macroeconomic theory. Passionate about transitions and chain reactions within economic settings, companies, ideas, and models, he is eager to apply his conceptual interests to a real world format, and make an impact on both the people and companies he works with. He is confident that GV would provide a unique opportunity to participate in growth — not only at a business level, but also at an intellectual and personal level. Now just over halfway through with the comprehensive summer internship program, it’s safe to say that his hopes weren’t just confirmed — the experience has exceeded his expectations.
Iman Haider is a Dubai-based intern, and a recent graduate of City, University of London, with a degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering. She has always had a passion for how things work and an eagerness to enter the world of venture capital. So when the opportunity arose to become part of the dynamic team at GV and apply her process-based thinking to investment decision making, she dove headfirst. A few weeks into joining the internship program, she has learned that each day brings a unique opportunity to learn something new. Joining as an intern can be intimidating due to the pressure to know it all, but in reality, the goal is to be curious and question the process.