- Posted by Jeff Carter on December 10th, 2013 at 6:24 am
Last evening while most of Chicago froze and was riveted on the Chicago Bears game, I attended an Illinois Venture Capital Association awards dinner. It’s always nice to get the broader community together in one place. I caught up with some old friends and made some new ones.
The IVCA does this every year. The give out some awards, and this year they had a speaker come in. One of the awards they gave was to Jim Dugan of OCA Ventures.
It was well deserved.
But, what was very interesting to me about the introduction they did for Jim, and Jim’s speech was how being an independent trader contributed to his success as a venture capitalist.
Jim pioneered one of the first successful VC funds in the city. The interesting thing is historically in Chicago, most of the extracurricular successes come out of the trading community. The Art Institute, the Civic Opera, the Auditorium Theatre, and Symphony were all built by traders. Many of the historical successful businesses that started in Chicago had initial investments from traders.
Few people know exactly what independent local traders do. They see the flashy coats and think trading is just like going to Vegas. It’s far from it, even though lots of traders like to frequent Vegas!
Trading gives you discipline. It trains your mind. It teaches you how to take calculated risk. Trading teaches you to look forward, and try to see things before anyone else sees them. Trading is extremely hard. There are a lot of highs and lows. There is no more dog eat dog world. Trading bends your emotions and takes you to the point where you will break. Then, it tests you again.
In Chicago, we have always had a steady stream of traders that traded their own money. In other parts of the financial world, they trade other people’s money.
It’s not the same. Not even close.
I have noticed that there are parallels between VC and trading. There are plenty of differences too. But, the core DNA that goes into being a good trader also makes people good venture capitalists.
It was good that the IVCA gave Jim the award. It was equally good that they chose to highlight his independent trading experience. It’s not smart to run from history. In order to be successful, you have to embrace it and learn from it.
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Jeffrey Carter is an angel investor and independent trader. He specializes in turning concepts into profits. He co-founded Hyde Park Angels one of the most active angel groups in the United States in April of 2007. He previously served on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Board of Directors. He has done market commentary for (More...)
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