Alright, let's begin.

You might know Abhinaya as the VC at M25, but how did she get there and what does she want to do next?

Pick where you want to begin:

Pre-America Pre-college College years Now

Abhinaya grew up in India where majority of the people looked like her and shared her values, beliefs and culture. Her first introduction to the "outside world" (besides movies) was when she traveled to Singapore with her family.

When she was growing up, she loved

watching movies solving puzzles exploring new things making crafts

She lived in Singapore for about a year or so and would go back to India to take exams so she wouldn't fall behind. She was basically homeschooled for a year while living in a different country. During that time, she spent most of the days doing whatever she wanted.

Two of her favorite things to do were exploring various parts of the city and making crafts by following a tv show. She had way too many toilet paper rolls and paper mâché projects to clean up when the lease ended. By the end of the year, she had to go back to India because her dad was moving to another country.

It wasn't until couple of years later that she moved to America.

Pre-college College years Now

When she moved to America in 8th grade, she had basic knowledge of English but was not fluent in it. She spent the next few years learning the language, culture, and exploring various interests. When she was in high school, she

played badminton played soccer traded stocks wanted to be an architect

She wanted to play sports in high school so she chose to play soccer. She played a bit in India the year prior. However, she was not having fun due to her team members.

Remember, she didn't really know how to communicate properly because of the language difference. However, she played right midfielder on the JV team. While she did score some goals during the season, she didn't have fun. That's when she decided to quit soccer and

join badminton

She used to play badminton outdoors in India for fun. It was something most people did. She didn't know it could be considered as a "competitive sport" until 10th grade, when her friends told her.

She joined the team as JV 2 and over the next three years, she competed in many tournaments at the varsity level and won a couple of them as well. During this time, she made great friends and more importantly, she developed skills such as l determination, time manners, and the meaning of hard work. She also

liked trading stocks wanted to be an architect

When she was in high school, she noticed her father learning about stocks. She was really curious and started learning with him. He also gave her access to his portfolio where she made few trades. She also spent some time learning about backtesting trading strategies and started using technical indicators. While she doesn't trade that much now, this lead to her interest in Finance and ultimately choosing to major in that in college.

College years Now

While she grew up sketching and painting, she was more interested in buildings around her. That’s when she decided to take drafting classes in high school. She participated in regional drafting competitions and won a couple of awards.

Below are some examples of her work:

College years Now

She didn’t really know what career she wanted, but she knew she was interested in finance. More specifically, trading. She decided to go to the University of Illinois at Chicago because of its close proximity to one of the biggest financial hubs in the world.

When she was in college, she

majored in two degrees was active in student orgs had various internships made videos found great mentors

While she started out as a finance major, Abhinaya realized that she had to set herself apart from everyone else. She recognized the importance and flexibility of coding with the help of her mentors. That is when she decided to major in Mathematical Computer Science as well.

College was a great experience, but she really enjoyed applying her knowledge to the real world. Throughout college, she

was active in student orgs had various internships

Over four years of college, she was active in multiple student organizations:

Finance & Investment Group - She loved connecting with her peers and led the group to be one of the most active orgs in the college of business.

Alternative Spring Break - ASB educates student volunteers about social issues and diverse cultures by organizing events across the country. She managed finances, helped market the group, led a couple of trips, and volunteered locally.

Student blogging - She wanted to share her experiences with others in the school. So she decided to write about them once in a while.

Honors College Publication Photographer - She enjoyed attending various events around campus and has always been interested in photography. She decided to combine two of her interests and help the Honors College by becoming their event photographer.

In addition, she did various internships to actively participate in career fields that she was interested in.

internships

Looking back, her internships not only helped her figure out what she likes but only what she doesn’t like.

HappiLabs - She managed QuickBooks and helped around the startup.

Trading Lab Assistant - She assisted students at the computer lab with R programming.

Google Community Leaders Program - She was part of a group where she helped improve digital literacy among various business through the usage of Google products.

Goldman Sachs - This was her first "real" introduction to the workforce and what life meant as an analyst after graduation.

Blue1647 - She taught coding and 3D printing to students across K-12.

TastyTrade / Dough - She helped research for the shows and prepared marketing material.

Loop Capital Markets - She learned about how early-mid stage companies are valued.

After having all these experiences, she was not happy with what she saw her career being, so she decided to make videos. She made videos on failed startups and vlog/doccumentary style videos on entrepreneurs by following them for one day. After graducation, she joined M25, a venture capital fund in Chicago.

videos path to VC

She has always been drawn to movies and internet videos because of her interest in storytelling. Towards the end of her undergraduate career, she wanted to take a stab at a new form of storytelling: vlogs. She decided to combine her fascination for entrepreneurship, startups, and video. That was when she put together a vlog plus documentary-style video series where she would follow an entrepreneur for an entire day called Hustlepreneur.

Instead of asking an entrepreneur out for a coffee or a phone call, she wanted to dig a bit deeper into their lifestyle.

She didn’t really know much about making videos, but throughout this process, she learned about all the aspects of bringing a video to life: planning, filming, editing, and marketing.

She ended up making 13 videos for that series until she figured out what she wanted to learn more about. The one common theme she noticed across all entrepreneurs was raising capital. That was her first introduction to the Venture Capital world.

path to VC found great mentors now

Right time, right place with the right skill set.

After she made eight or so Hustlepreneur videos, she started learning about Venture Capitalists and began reaching out to various VCs locally to see if they would be interested in a similar video series like Hustlepreneur.

To her surprise, most of them were shy but more importantly, they didn’t want to share private information publicly, which made sense. That’s when she heard about an open position at M25 and applied for the role. After couple of interview rounds, she was soon offered the position and decided to accept it.

She was able to do that because of her mentors that helped along the way.

Mentors Now

Early in her college years, she recognized how important mentors are.

She heard the analogy "treat yourself like a company" somewhere and began applying that to her life. She soon formed her "board of directors" and explored "Market-product fit" to learn more about what she wanted to do after graduation.

She would like to thank everyone who helped her get to where she is now.

Now

Abhinaya is currently at M25, a micro-VC fund (some might even call it a nano-VC fund) that started in early 2016 with two of the youngest partners.

She joined the team in May of 2017 and her role at M25 evolved over time. Majority of her time is now spent on making new investments and helping portfolio companies. You can read about her first-year experience here.

Talk to her (twitter) about some of the things that are on her mind:

- Generalist vs. specializing in a couple of industries

- Investors vs. Operators

- Attribution less firms vs. partner lead deals

- Taking board seats

- Coastal vs. non-coastal companies

Outside of her work, she remains curious and continues to learn new tools for her toolbox.

Other things Home Main Site

She has many interests that she wants to explore and she makes sure to explore them every week. You can read more about it here.

Currently, she is working on: Impasto style oil painting, Spotify canvas loops, Learning Hindi, Coding - GAN logo data set, Mental Math, and twitterstorms about industries.

In the near future, she is looking forward to exploring:

- More coding projects.

- A podcast where teenagers talk about their dreams for their future.

- Give 5K a month for life to some people to work on their dreams (with couple of rules).

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