While it may sound cliché, Jocelyn Kinsey ’08 credits Culver Academies with teaching her the necessary soft skills she has needed to succeed in her job. And succeed she has.
Kinsey, 26, was recently named to the 30 Under 30 – Venture Capital list by Forbes Magazine. She is a senior associate at DFJ (Draper Fisher Jurvetson) in San Francisco. She joined DFJ in 2014 after spending two years at JP Morgan’s Alternative Investments Group in New York.
She now works on DFJ’s $470 million growth fund and has been active in the fundraising while assisting with transactions including Giphy (a GIF search engine), Sumo Logic (a cloud-based log management and analytics service), and Renovate America (financing for energy/water efficient home improvements).
While with JP Morgan, she worked on the placement, diligence and structuring of private equity, venture capital, real estate, and hedge fund products.
She graduated from Stanford University in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in management science and engineering. As a freshman, she wanted to learn more about business and joined a campus internship program that focused on managing businesses for student-run organizations.
“I was fortunate to be placed as the venture intern and had the opportunity to learn about the history of Silicon Valley and venture capital,” Kinsey said. “I hadn’t had much exposure to technology startups growing up, and was fascinated by the number of companies using technology to disrupt traditional industries.”
One of the trends Kinsey and the other Stanford Student Enterprises members noticed was the rise of accelator-type programs like Y Combinator at TechStars that would provide mentorship, office space, and funding in return for a small amount of equity.
I think Culver really taught me to lead with integrity, work with people from different backgrounds, and how to think critically.
“Given the immense number of companies getting started at Stanford, my team decided to create a 10-week long program, now called StartX, for Stanford entrepreneurs that would provide similar benefits,” she explaine. “Through StartX, I gained access to hundreds of entrepreneurs that were starting companies and had a chance to review applications.”
They worked closely with some long time venture capitalists to determine a batch of 20 to 30 companies that would become part of the StartX program.
“I was intrigued by the types of questions the VCs asked and their ability to quickly assess different technologies and markets,” Kinsey said.
She believes her time at Culver helped her prepare for her time at Stanford and, now, her career.
“Culver was instrumental in shaping the way I look at the world and in developing a skill set that allowed me to succeed at Stanford and in business,” Kinsey said. “I think Culver really taught me to lead with integrity, work with people from different backgrounds, and how to think critically.”
The soft skills Kinsey developed at Culver include working with people from different backgrounds and cultures, which is helpful in VC networking; developing time management skills (especially when the internet was shut off in the dorms); and learning critical thinking skills “taught me to problem solve.”
She has also tapped into the Culver alumni network, she said, developing strong relationships with alums who have mentored her through career decisions and made introductions on her behalf.
Now, Kinsey is helping to break new ground. For the first time ever, the top five companies by market capitalization are technology firms. And technology is playing a major role in every industry.
“I’m excited about the opportunity to invest in emerging technology companies that are transforming industries and changing the world.”