My partner Jason Mendelson and I are psyched to announce that our book – Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist – has been published and is now available. We are also relaunching AskTheVC – the companion website to the book that we maintained for several years, went dormant for a while, but is alive with content once again.
The book originated in 2005 when Jason and I wrote a long series of posts on this blog about a typical Venture Capital term sheet. It took us a year or so to get all the way through it, but it was fun and generated an enormous amount of positive feedback from entrepreneurs (and would be entrepreneurs) who told us how helpful it was for them to understand how a VC term sheet actually worked.
People regularly suggested that we turn the blog series into an actual book. Until about a year ago we’d simply encourage people to PDF up the posts and do whatever they wanted with them. We got great feedback from students and entrepreneurs all over the world who said they were on the receiving end of the posts, that the posts had been used as the curriculum for a class, or that they had simply referred to them during a negotiation and they were “more helpful than their lawyer.”
After I wrote Do More Faster: TechStars Lessons to Accelerate Your Startup with David Cohen (the CEO of TechStars), Jason and I decided to write Venture Deals. We knew the term sheet series would only be a small part of the book and would have to be re-written, so we just got to work. Once again, it feels amazingly good to “ship the book” – it’s remarkably hard work to get from “an idea for a book” to an actual book.
For those who think this is just a reprint of the blog posts, they make up less than 20% of the book and have been completely rewritten. The table of contents gives you a feel for this.
While it’s a chewy topic, we’ve tried to keep it light, fun, and enjoyable. But we’ve also tried to make it a must read for any entrepreneur, or would be entrepreneur, or student interested in entrepreneurship, or junior lawyer that is working on deals, and our parents. We’ve created a dynamic companion site at AskTheVC, are working on a teaching guide, and have a few entertaining surprises up our sleeve that will be launched in early September.
Since I’m a shameless book salesman, you’ll be hearing plenty more from me on this blog. But for now, go take a look at Fred Wilson’s wonderful review titled Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist.
It’s TechStars Boulder application time again. If you apply by Thursday (February 24th) you will be considered for TechStars for a Day, a great way to get introduced to the TechStars program as well as increase your chance of getting selected for the program.
When TechStars first started in Boulder, most of the applicants were what we like to call “pre-seed”. They were typically a couple of smart co-founders with a rough prototype who probably hadn’t even formed their company yet. Today the average TechStars company looks much different. They range from pre-formation to profitable businesses with real revenue and investment. This is a true testament to TechStars world class mentors; companies at all early stages can benefit from the intense and deep focus of mentorship.
It’s been awesome to watch TechStars grow from one office in Boulder to four offices across the country, a book called Do More Faster, and the recent TechStars Network in just a few short years. TechStars Boulder’s Managing Director Nicole Glaros tells me applications are rolling in quickly and are shaping up to be the best we’ve ever seen.
Apply now – you can always update your application prior to the final deadline on March 16th.
It’s always fascinating to me to actually be interviewed on live radio – in this case on Wall Street Shuffle in Dallas on CNN Radio 1190 AM. I’ve never listened to talk radio but have done a lot of interviews over the years. The folks who are the publicists for Do More Faster have been lining up some radio interviews around entrepreneurship recently and I’m always happy to hop on the radio and talk about the entrepreneurial revolution in the US and entrepreneurial communities.
In this case, the interview was in a Clear Channel studio in a building in Dallas. I was in town for a day hanging out with Tech Wildcatters, a TechStars-like program in Dallas that was co-founded by my cousin Jon Feld (a successful Dallas-based entrepreneur – Hitachi acquired his company Navigator Systems several years ago.) They are in year two of their program and Tuesday was their preview of the finalists for their second class. I gave a talk to the mentors, watched some of the presentations, and did a big entrepreneurial social event that evening sponsored by Microsoft BizSpark where we gave away copied of Do More Faster to everyone that attended after they listened to me talk and answer questions for a while.
In the middle of the day, Paul Ford (the VP of Marketing at Softlayer) chauffeured me to Clear Channel and back. We had a great talk (Paul is a blast – smart, fun, and super creative.) When we arrived at 14001 North Dallas Parkway, I realized that it was the location of the office of my first real job – a company called PetCom Systems. During the summer of my senior year in high school (1983) I was their first non-founder employee (two founders – husband and wife) and proceeded to spend the next two years writing a couple of their products (PC Log – a well-log analysis system for oil exploration and PC Economics – an oil exploration economic simulation system.) I remember 14001 North Dallas Parkway really well – we were on the seventh floor and I felt like a real grownup sitting in my office coding for $10 per hour and a 5% royalty on all sales of the two products I wrote.
The radio interview was fun and I think it was pretty good – Dan Cofall did a solid interview, asked really good questions and kept things moving along nicely. It’s not embeddable, but you can listen to it here.
Last summer, my long time friend Martin Babinec and his colleague Nasir Ali asked me if I’d come spend a few days in Upstate New York talking about TechStars and entrepreneurial communities. I first met Martin around 1990 at one of the very first Birthing of Giants events and we were both early YEO members together. At the time, Martin had recently started a company called Trinet which today is a large and successful PEO. We’ve been friends for 20 years so it was easy for me to say yes to spend two days with Martin in Upstate New York and help him further his mission of expanding the entrepreneurial communities throughout the region.
Martin’s organization, Upstate Venture Connect, is hosting me on February 2nd and 3rd in Ithaca, Rochester, and Syracuse. The full agenda is on the website and the public events include:
2/2/11: 4:30p – 5:30p: Sage Hall Room B9, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
2/2/11: 6:00p – 8:30p: UVANY Capital Forum, Ithaca Country Club, 189 Pleasant Grove Road, Ithaca
2/3/11: 11:30a – 1:30p: Somewhere in Rochester (TBD, hopefully by 2/3/11!)
2/3/11: 3:00p – 4:30p: Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester
If you are interested in getting together, go check out the agenda which lists who to contact and how to register for the various events. If you bring a copy of Do More Faster, I’ll happily sign it. And yes, I realize that it is very cold in Upstate New York in February. Hopefully we’ll generate some entrepreneurial heat together.
TechStars is currently accepting applications for the Boston program in the spring of 2011. Do More Faster and go apply now if you’ve been thinking about it.
Today Howard Lindzon takes on Jeff Clavier of SoftTech VC in his Do More Faster interview series. Jeff has been an awesome TechStars mentor since the very first Boulder program in 2007, has made a number of investments in TechStars companies, and has co-invested with me and my partners at Foundry Group in several companies, including SendGrid, Gnip, and Next Big Sound.
Jeff has been Doing More Faster since I met him – he’s one of the most prolific investors in consumer Internet companies and his firm SoftTech VC was the original “micro-VC firm.” He also has thought hard about how to Do More Faster by “decoupling value provided from time spent”, something that is key for anyone who is as an active investor as Jeff is.
If you go to Feld Thoughts, TechStars, or David Cohen’s web site, you’ll notice a little red tab on the right side of the browser that says “Marginize”. If you want a chance to win a copy of Do More Faster, click it!
Marginize is one of the TechStars Boston 2010 companies. Since their soft launch at the end of the TechStars program a few months ago, their users of the Marginize browser add-on have used it on over 150,000 sites. They’ve just launched their new publisher widget and are on a number of sites, including Boston.com and Xconomy. Marginize enables an additional social interaction layer on existing web sites, including things like checkins, shares, comments and badges.
For example, see who has earned the Do More Faster badge by visiting one of Feld Thoughts, TechStars, or David Cohen’s web site. Our friends at Marginize will choose three random winners from the full group of Do More Faster badge holders on Wednesday night, so you time to check in is short. All you need to do to earn the badge is take a Marginize action on one of the three sites (write, reply, like, or check in.) Since you use your Twitter, Facebook, or Buzz credentials to sign in, the Marginize folks will message the winners directly to coordinate getting them a book.
Today’s interview on Do More Faster is Greg Gottesman, a managing director at Madrona Venture Group in Seattle. Greg was instrumental in bring TechStars to Seattle and has been a great friend and co-investor over the years. Among other things, Greg teaches at University of Washington and recently built a class around Do More Faster.
Greg’s chapter is on the characteristics that define an innovative startup culture. He’s also part of a firm that just celebrated its 15th anniversary with a fun roast reflecting on their successes, failures, and missed deals.
Next up in the StockTwits.TV Do More Faster Interview series is Ben Huh, the founder/CEO of Pet Holdings, better known as the guys who do ICanHasCheezburger, Fail Blog, and about 50 other crazy and hilarious sites.
I was introduced to Ben several years ago by my friend Micah Baldwin (Graphic.ly CEO, TechStars Mentor, contributor to Do More Faster, and hilarious dude in his own right.) I care deeply about community and have learned a lot about it from both Micah and Ben. Ben was pretty serious sounding in this interview, so if you need a good end of the work week office laugh, one follows. But – listen to the interview with Ben – you’ll learn something.
see more Monday Through Friday