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February 1, 2022

When you Google “venture capital salary,” the first thing that pops up is a bunch of articles about how much venture capitalists make.

The numbers that you will see vary greatly. The primary reason for the discrepancy in compensation is that venture capitalists make their real money on a percentage of profits from companies they invest in. This share, called “carry,” varies greatly.

venture capital salary

Carry is the percentage of investment profit paid to partners, plus management fees. Click To Tweet

It can be a severe payout, usually about 20 to 30% of an exit by a portfolio company. However, this post is not about carrying.

When we say venture capital (VC) salary, we mean the annual salary of venture capitalists. It takes VCs years for their investments to pan out, and most startups don’t make it at all – you’ve probably heard that 90% will fail.

One would imagine that VC salaries are pretty high because many employees have backgrounds in investment banking or management consulting. However, transparency regarding compensation is still an issue.

It is not uncommon for people to have mixed feelings about what VCs offer them. Some may feel that the salary does not match their work experience, while others might think it’s fair based on how much risk they’re taking.

Who is John Gannon?

For the past decade, John Gannon has been one of the most famous figures in venture capital. He is best known for his blog and newsletter that many consider a “LinkedIn” for VCs.

He was not only the founder of GoingVC, but he is also one of its mentors. He has helped people in their venture capital careers for years.

He has a lot of contacts in the industry and is excellent at figuring out what VCs are paid. After surveying more than 400 VCs, Gannon found that the respondents came from almost as many different firms. Financial and corporate investors were also observed.

From November 2018 to March 2019, a survey was conducted, and of the 400 responses that were received, about 10% were not included in the data analysis because they did not meet the requirements.

 

VC Partner Salary

Managing partners are responsible for the operations of a VC fund and lead investments. The survey found that these individuals make an average of $300,000 annually between salary and bonus.

 

Venture Capital Vice President Salary

  • The survey revealed that the average cash compensation for a financial VC is $235,000 per year.
  • Venture capital vice presidents made even more at $287,000 per year in total compensation.

 

Venture Capital Principal Salary

Principals lead investments, receive carry, and sit on startup boards. But based on the survey, principals are making less than vice presidents.

  • The survey reported that financial VC principal salary averages $215,000 per year.
  • Meanwhile, corporate venture capitalists with a similar title took home $196,000 in compensation.

 

VC Senior Associate / Associate Salary

You might think that associates and senior associates are just glorified secretaries, but they’re investment gatekeepers. They do many tedious works like finding startups to invest in, so don’t ignore them.

  • Traditional VC associates earn an average of $153,000 in compensation annually.
  • Corporate VC associates, meanwhile, make slightly less at $142,000.

Now let’s talk about senior associates. The numbers below include both base pay and bonus.

  • Traditional VC senior associates receive annual cash compensation of $180,000.
  • Meanwhile, corporate VC senior associates earn an average of $168,000 per year.

 

VC Analyst Salary

On average,

an analyst makes between $79,000 and $94,000 per year. They’re at the bottom when it comes to venture capital salary. Click To Tweet

Another interesting finding of the survey was that 54% of financial VC interns (interns, not analysts) said they did not get paid at all.

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