2021 Venture Capital Scout Compensation Survey

As usual, I polled my 20,000+ member VC Careers email list and others in the VC community to see how much salary, carry, and bonus they’re getting. (You can click here to see a summary of the VC Salary Survey results)

Respondents represented a broad array of full time roles and experiences, including:

  • Startup founders / employees
  • Large tech employees
  • Non-tech employees
  • Full-time institutional investors / angel investors

What surprised us?

Only ~15% of respondents come from technical backgrounds in engineering or data science.

What do venture capital scouts do?

As their name implies, scouts act as the eyes and ears for VCs.

Their job is to identify promising early stage startups and pass them along to their partner VC.

If the VC firm invests, the scout receives compensation. We’ll talk about that in a moment.

The popularity of scout programs has grown exponentially.

And not surprisingly, many scouts see scouting as a way to break into VC full-time.

What is venture capital scout compensation?

Most scouts aren’t compensated in cash (our survey benchmarked at ~70%).

That said, a similar percentage of respondents receive carried interest when their partner VC opts to make a significant investment in a deal they sourced.

This compensation model is truly “eat what you kill” — the more deals you source that get closed, the more you’ll make.

How do you become a VC scout?

As with VC investing roles, there are many different pathways to get into scouting.

And as always, relationships are the name of the game.

The majority of our survey respondents held close relationships with general partners and stumbled their way into their scouting roles.

A lesser number were referred or proactively applied.

The reality of the role

Becoming a scout can be a great opportunity to build relationships with founders, learn alongside VCs, and make some money on the side if you make the right bets.

Regardless, the realities can be less alluring than otherwise believed.

For the good and the bad, check out this great article on a former scout (and now current VC!)’s experience working as a scout for both a corporate venture arm and a traditional institution.

Until next time…