Positive Sum is hiring an investigative research analyst. This person will be responsible for deep qualitative and quantitative research dives that help us build context around companies, industries, or technologies that we are considering for investment. To understand if you might be a candidate, and a good fit, a bit of history is required.
Positive Sum launched in the fall of 2020. We invest in companies where we believe 1) the entrepreneurs are doing their life’s work, 2) they are addressing a large or exploding market, and 3) we can earn career-defining returns. We’ve raised north of $300M of capital across two funds, and have invested in 23 companies from those funds.
There’s been one key evolution of our investing approach between the first and second fund. In our first fund, our average investment was $3.1M, and we led half of those investments.
In the second fund, our average investment has been $13.8M, and we’ve led every round.
We’ve learned that our style is to lead rounds, run a fairly concentrated portfolio, go extremely deep in our research, and get as involved as we can to help the company grow after investment. So much so, that our approach has begun to feel like some custom hybrid of the VC and PE approaches to private investing. This all means that it is critically important for us to understand as much as possible about an opportunity as fast as possible when doing diligence.
When we engage a new team and a new company, our investment team works from the inside out. We spend a huge amount of time with the founder(s), the team, customers, references, and so on.
The job of the Investigative Research Analyst will be to work from the outside in. They will be building maps of context around the company we are considering. They will use both quantitative and qualitative resources to conduct their research.
They will answer questions like:
- What competitors offer a solution that addresses the same problem as the company we are interested in?
- What is the history of this market? Who have been the players? The failures? The dominant forces?
- How can we best approximate the size and growth rate of the addressable market?
- What data sources do we wish we had as we considered this investment, and can we buy or build it fast?
- What are the relevant “base rates” for this investment opportunity?
- If you were running the company, what data dashboard, based on data external to the company, would you want to have? Can we build that dashboard?
- Which people have seen the most or have the most battle scars around this problem space? Can we get to them and learn from their general experience to anticipate problems this new company may encounter?
The ideal candidate is a self-proclaimed research junkie. They pride themselves on thorough, exhaustive reviews of complicated topics, and relish using unique sources and data to build their picture of every research topic. They love history, understanding systems, working with data, and finding unique sources. This person must be able to synthesize their findings into well written reports. They must have a strong understanding of business and markets in all their facets.
This is a distinct function within Positive Sum that builds products and services for the investment team. We expect the investigative research function to be a key differentiator as we grow, and if the person is interested, there will be an opportunity to expand and manage our “research department” as we grow, though there are many other growth paths open as well.
This is an in person position, though the candidate can choose to work in Greenwich CT (our headquarters, a short train ride from New York City), San Francisco, or Seattle. These are the three cities where we have investing partners (Patrick, Sam, and Alison, respectively), and we will be building teams in each of these cities over time. We expect team members to be in person as much as possible, but at least 3 times a week (in our headquarters in Greenwich, or in co-working space in SF and Seattle).
We require at least two years of working history in the fields of research, journalism, business, consulting, or investing. We intend to teach this person a lot, and learn a lot from them. But we don’t want to teach the very basics.
How to Apply
Please use the form below to apply. We ask only for some sort of research that you’ve created in the past (or something new if you are so inclined). What we want to see is that you have the curiosity to fully “map” some space or topic: consuming all information there is on the topic and combining it into a coherent explanation. The topic itself doesn’t matter; we are interested in seeing your style of work. We’d welcome a note that addresses why this job interests you and why you are a perfect candidate for it. Please also share a normal resume or your LinkedIn for us to quickly understand your background.