My Summer in Venture

This summer, I entered the world of venture capital as a Summer Fellow at Fin Capital in New York City. Keep reading to learn about my journey to venture, four key lessons, and some extra musings. Before we jump in, here is a bit of background on myself.


The perks of working in downtown Washington, D.C. include views of the White House.

When IBM acquired Promontory in 2017, I gained exposure working with the IBM Watson team, helping banks develop customer complaints analytics and tools. As a Principal, I joined the FinTech and Digital Assets Team, advising the first federally chartered digital assets bank following a series of OCC interpretive letters to allow for such activities.

Going to business school was the next step in my journey to marry my consulting experience in financial services with a business toolkit. While my initial goal was to recruit for a FinTech product or strategy role, I deferred for a year due to COVID and reconsidered my career path following conversations with alumni and current students. Which is how I ended up in an office across from Bryant Park in NYC for 11 weeks this summer. (Stay tuned for a separate post on my Alice-like journey into the venture capital rabbit role!)

Fin Capital

What I did this summer

Although no two days were the same, my day-to-day typically looked like:

  • Writing investment memos
  • Taking founder calls
  • Performing market research
  • Evaluating startups and digging into data rooms
  • Assisting internal projects and portcos
  • Attending industry events (aka free drinks)

Now onto the four key lessons I learned.

1.) Prioritize an in-depth understanding the firm’s thesis and market landscape

Along with the other Fellows, we developed a thesis map of all portfolio companies, pipeline companies, and market comparable companies to help Fin understand their opportunities and which areas to focus their time. This valuable exercise not only laid out where each company fit within Fin’s broader thesis, but informed how Fin should define each thesis and sub-thesis. We leveraged many publicly available FinTech market maps (e.g., CB Insights, FT Partners) to guide our thinking on market comparable companies. Fin’s ultimate goal is to pick category winners, and having all of the portfolio, pipeline, and market comparable companies organized in a coherent manner, the team can better assess and make decisions.

2.) Always add value

Fin adds value in numerous ways:

  • Operators with deep corporate and status leadership experience
  • As B2B investors, Fin’s LP base and network act as a distribution network for FinTech startups
  • Platform Team with Head of Value and Head of Corporate Development. Fin built a Platform team with a Head of Value and Head of Corporate Development to assist startups with business development, partnership formation, GTM strategy, capital formation, M&A, and exit planning. (Think of this team serving as an in-house investment bank)
  • Lighthouse. This proprietary platform developed by Fin to serve both founders and LPs, allows founders to utilize the platform to find connections (BD and co-investors), submit requests for help from the Fin team, access resources like vendor discounts and playbooks, find talent through a job board, and book meetings with the Fin team.

As a Fellow, my ways to add value were smaller, but no less important. I found ways to add value where I can. Whether taking a first crack at a startup’s data room, or taking the lead supporting a portco’s request.

3.) Importance of network

If I learned one thing, it is that the FinTech and VC world knows how to throw a party — here are some of my favorite events I attended:

  • Kard’s Series A fundraising party at Roberta’s in Williamsburg
  • NYC Fintech Women’s Navigating Fintech as a Female Leader at Current’s offices
  • NYC Fintech Women’s Sweet Fintech Summer co-hosted by Ocrolus
  • SVB’s Fintech Founders — NYC Whiskey Tasting at Great Jones Distilling Co
  • FTT NYC Happy Hour
  • Latam Summer Social in NYC
  • Supernode Ventures & Four Acres Ventures VC Roof Deck Celebration
  • GBS and LAW | NYC Young Alumni Summer Social
  • NY Rooftop Series: August Sunset Mixer
The Fin team out at the Kard party enjoying Paloma’s. Source: Kard
The two NYC Fellows soaking up the summer sun. Source: NYC Women in Fintech

Making the most of these opportunities allowed me to share a Climate FinTech thesis I built with a Kellogg MBA who works in the space and receive insightful feedback, grab a drink with a fellow Emory alum working in FinTech VC, and Zoom with friends in the FinTech space across the pond — I cannot wait to see my network grow because of these connections I made over the summer.

4.) Never stop learning

Things I will not miss about New York

  • Prices
  • Prices
  • Did I mention prices?
  • Trash everywhere
  • Smells everywhere
  • Lack of space
  • Lack of public restrooms
  • One bathroom in a big restaurant
  • Waiting in lines
This was an everyday occurrence.

Things I will miss about New York

  • Food
  • Getting food at all hours
  • Drunk pizza
  • Chopped cheese
  • Did I mention food?
  • Convenience
  • Subway entertainment
  • Events
  • Hustle and bustle

Tim Lam is an MBA candidate at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School with a passion for FinTech, venture investing, and expanding financial inclusion. Tim was a Fellow at Fin Capital. Prior to Fin Capital, Tim advised banks, fintechs, and digital asset firms on a variety of financial services matters, including strategy, risk management, and compliance at Promontory, a Business Unit of IBM Consulting. In his last role, he was a Principal in the firm’s FinTech and Digital Assets Practice Group, where he supported Anchorage, the first OCC-chartered digital asset bank during its conversion from a state trust charter to a national trust bank charter.

He is passionate about furthering financial inclusion and economic growth through fintech. He is a Managing Partner at Goizueta’s Peachtree Minority Venture Fund, the first student-run VC fund solely focused on investing in underrepresented minority founders. Outside of tech, Tim is fervent Liverpool supporter and is attempting to take his varsity college tennis experience onto the golf course.

Connect with me on LinkedIn and Twitter for insights on fintech.



MBA Candidate @ Emory Goizueta. MP @PMVF. From AUS and HKG, currently in the US, blabbing on about anything fintech and LFC

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Tim Lam

MBA Candidate @ Emory Goizueta. MP @PMVF. From AUS and HKG, currently in the US, blabbing on about anything fintech and LFC