- Victoria McIvor is currently an investor in European climate tech venture capital firm World Fund.
- Before landing her first VC job, at energy-focused company SET Ventures, she worked in nuclear decommissioning.
- McIvor said new investors should be genuine, practical and not underestimate operating experience.
Victoria McIvor has had an unconventional route in the venture capital world.
The University of Glasgow graduate was working in nuclear decommissioning when she got her first taste of entrepreneurship. Today, she invests in early-stage energy and mobility startups at European Climate Tech VC, World Fund.
While studying physics and math in college, McIvor, 30, turned his attention to renewable and nuclear energy, and later secured a place in a nuclear graduate program. The program focused on corporate social responsibility and required graduates to launch a startup to meet the challenges of small business and work with the community.
With a team of 11 volunteers, McIvor started a business selling herb kits from different parts of the world. Profits were donated to conservation charities in the kits’ respective countries. “It was awesome,” she told Insider.
Upon completion of the program, McIvor joined UK nuclear decommissioning company Magnox, where she was responsible for radiation and contamination compliance at nuclear sites across the UK.
Having originally been drawn to the potential of nuclear in the future energy mix, McIvor felt it didn’t have the level of impact it wanted to have, she said. Keen to travel, she secured a place on the Daiwa Scholarship, where UK graduates travel to Japan to learn the language, experience homestay and take part in an internship.
McIvor intended to work in Fukushima during the six-month internship, but encountered challenges, concluding that no available role would be a good fit. “Maybe as a foreign woman in energy as a whole, with poor Japanese people, it was very difficult to be able to demonstrate her worth,” she said. “I quickly realized that my strengths were in communication, management, networking and the balance between the technical side and problem solving. My ability to do this was severely limited by all of these factors combined.”
“I saw no way to reconcile my new entrepreneurial interest with nuclear decommissioning,” McIvor added.
Fall in VC
Exploring his options, McIvor networked his way to the founder of energy startup Trende, a spin-out from the venture capital arm of Japanese utility company Tepco. He was impressed with her ability to put himself forward, having just moved to Japan, she recalls. It showed she can take initiative and network, she said.
McIvor joined Trende, where she wore many hats to help the company grow. Its founder was also setting up a venture capital fund for emerging markets, which she supported.
When the Daiwa fellowship ended, McIvor was looking for another job at a Japanese startup when an investor in the UK recommended a venture capital fund. “In all honesty, I fell into VC,” she said. “I was surprised to be offered the job.
while hiking through Japan.”
The job was at Amsterdam-based SET Ventures, an energy-focused VC. She spent two and a half years there as an analyst, drawing on the knowledge she gained working in the energy sector.
Now, McIvor specializes in energy and mobility as an associate at The World Fund, a climate tech fund backed by tree-planting search engine Ecosia.
Here are his 3 key points for landing a job in venture capital.