Robin Li's avatar image.

Former Special Education Teacher, now Venture Capitalist

My name is Robin Li, "Cultivate a big heart—but a small ego."

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  • How does Venture Capital compare to your former job in terms of pay and rewarding experiences?

    Robin Li's avatar image.

    Very tough question!

    It is of course hard to compare private sector and public sector pay rates. As a teacher, at least in NYC, you are on a pay scale based on the number of years you've tenured plus your level of education. It is a fixed rate for all teachers. That said, you can make some extra money through after-school programs or summer school. You do get a pension and other benefits. In the private sector, this is more performance based and based on sector market rates.

    In terms of rewarding experiences, I think that teaching is unparalleled. Being able to watch each and everyone of your students grow through your lessons, assignments, trips, and your classroom culture is an experience you cannot get anywhere else. I think you get a lot more ownership and added responsibilities. That said, it is very difficult to have so many people rely on you to do your job. Imagine everything you do has direct impact on another human being every single day.

    On the other hand, VC is a bit more hands-off but it also has a lot of reward experiences. Sourcing a company, funding it, and working with the team and seeing it grow is amazing. This is why I wake up to work every day and in many ways very similar to teaching. However, you don't have direct impact with your portfolio companies every day so what you can do is also very limited.

    All in all, I appreciate both jobs a lot. I'm definitely grateful to have touched the lives of so many children and am lucky to be able to work dedicated founders and our future leaders.