#125: Erik Torenberg – What Is Venture Capital? & How It Helps Job Seekers

Play episode

Not only a true believer in the power of networking, Erik Torenberg definitely walks the talk. Erik is big on community building and networking. He is known for organizing huge events as well as intimate meetups called On Deck, where they allow people to get to know each other on a personal level instead of a professional level.

Back in Michigan, Erik started his career by creating rapt.fm, which led him to go to 500 Startups, that also led him to become the first employee of Product Hunt. Later on, he started the Product Hunt Podcast. He then ventured into investing, having seeded notable companies including Omni, Metaverse, Bot.me, and Tribe.pm, to name a few.

In 2017, he launched a $100-million fund called Village Global, built around the concept of networking embedded in their company’s DNA. He has curated a group of people including some of the world’s greatest in technology – Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, LinkedIn’s Reid Hoffman, Marissa Mayer, Mark Zuckerberg – to believe in him. How did he do that? Let’s find out!

Recently, he also launched another podcast called Venture Stories Podcast by Village Global. Another one of Erik’s passion project is The Rise Awards, an awards series and community celebrating top talents across all positions.

Lives In: San Francisco
 Current Job: Co-Founder and Partner at Village Global

Show notes:

[03:05] Erik explains what a venture capitalist is and why this is important for someone who wants to break into startups, and what venture capital firms look for in companies.

[05:15] His journey moving from Michigan to New Jersey to San Francisco, from founding rapt.fm to working at 500 Startups and becoming the first employee of Product Hunt.

[07:35] Although his first startup didn’t end up big, he was able to build a lot of interesting relationships, which led to his “next thing” by volunteering for free, meeting his mentor,  and being a scout.

[13:15] What Erik learned from being employee #1 of a startup company and how he got into organizing his own events and building his own network. He shares two things you want to make sure you have to have or do.

[17:50] Building a personal brand: Erik describes how he launched the Product Hunt Podcast and the importance of creating a personal brand.

[19:35] Listen in as Erik underlines the importance of giving value to people and having a sense of abundance. Find out why he’s organizing intimate, personal meetups.

[23:00] The key qualities he looks for in building a rockstar team, and ways you can actually bring value to a startup you’re applying to

[29:00] Just build it: Even when you’re a junior, just go out there and build something for a particular company and submit it.

[31:20] Erik shares some challenges and tips for breaking into VCs as well as how to pick a company that’s a good match for you.

[35:40] Along with partners, Erik was committed to building the best network firm in the world – which means having networks built into the DNA of their firm’s operations. Learn more about how they do this!

[39:25] How they unbundled sourcing from decision-making and supporting. Erik also touches on the beauty of mentorship vs. menteeship.

[43:09] The idea behind the Rise Awards: Erik walks you through what happens during these expertise-based, group-moderated conversations.

[46:40] Erik shares the takeaways from the book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and the power of taking care of your health and taking time to re-energize.

[50:22] Find out what SUCCESS means for Erik: being enough + balance + happiness + contribution

[51:44] The biggest insight Erik learned from podcasting: He shares some tips in getting started with your own podcast.

[53:50] What is Erik’s daily routine? Here are some things which you can do the same to jump start your day and improve communication.

[56:20] Listen in as Erik gives this cool, impromptu rap (Ruben dives in too!)

Contact Info:

Erik Torenberg

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/eriktorenberg/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/eriktorenberg

Learning Resources


Product Hunt

500 Startups

Join the Breaking Into Startups Facebook Community

Personal Projects/Partnerships:

On Deck

Village Global

Product Hunt Podcast

Venture Stories Podcast by Village Global


Book Recommendations:


The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

More from this show


Episode 2