Nineteen-year-old Patrick Finnegan is not your typical venture capitalist.
Before moving to New York City to pursue a job in the city's bustling start-up scene, he made $80,000 building websites for companies and ran a side business creating fake IDs for the under-21 crowd.
As VP of venture development at Manhattan-based venture capital firm Studio VC, Finnegan makes business decisions alongside the team, which includes former Samsung and Credit Agricole investment managers and established venture capitalists.
The firm has invested nearly $3 million to date, Finnegan said.
"I'm not a Harvard Business School graduate," Finnegan said. "The way I look at a company is very different. I look at it as how my generation relates to it, I look at it as how relevant it is. Is it trendy? Is there longevity to it?"
While Finnegan declined to provide the exact figure for his salary, he said he makes "close to six figures." He credits his success to his work ethic, people skills and gut instinct for what will work with young consumers. While his family initially helped him out financially after he moved to the city, Finnegan described his path to success as self-built.
He's learned a few key lessons on his nontraditional journey.
"I moved to New York — I was caught up, I was talking the talk and not walking the walk. And I quickly realized if I want to be this real big businessman in a few years and at a young age, I need to deliver," Finnegan said.
"I would say what's really important is delivery," he added.
"You've got to keep things close to your chest. Even though sometimes you feel like you want to tell everyone everything, it's better to say less and just observe," he said. "Not talking about all of your moves on social media is important. Because if all the moves you make are public, then you don't really have anything that special."
"We have more access than ever before with the internet," Finnegan said. "Go out there and pursue your dreams."
Correction: The article has been revised to reflect Finnegan's title.