Over the years, I’ve occasionally thought about writing a book about how venture capital actually works. I no longer have to contemplate doing this as Jeff Bussgang has nailed it with his book Mastering the VC Game: A Venture Capital Insider Reveals How to Get from Start-up to IPO on YOUR Terms.
If you are an entrepreneur who wants to understand how venture capital works, how VC’s think, and read some great stories about entrepreneurial arcs, this book is for you. When Jeff told me about this project a year or so ago, I gave him lots of encouragement, made a few introductions, and offered to do anything I could to be helpful. I did two meaningful proofreading cycles so I’ve effectively read this book twice – it’s just spectacular.
Jeff has a particularly deft touch on the balance between entrepreneur and VC. Some of this comes from him previously being a successful entrepreneur, but some of it comes from his effort in striking a balance between writing a VC-oriented book and an entrepreneur-oriented book. The result is a much better book than the other “how VC works” type books.
Jeff also does something important – he uses long stories to frame his points. Rather than little sound bites, he actually tells great entrepreneurial stories, in real detail, that I hadn’t heard before to underscore what he is trying to get across. For an example, take a look at the book except of When Jack Dorsey Met Fred Wilson, And Other Twitter Tales.
If there is one book about entrepreneurship and venture capital that you buy this year, make it Mastering the VC Game.
Jon Hansen has started interviewing me periodically on his show on BlogTalkRadio as part of his Thought Leaders Series. Yesterday’s interview focused on my experience of investing in Rally Software and included short discussions on how Rally got started, how and why I decided to invest, and the role various factors play in my decision making process. Jon does a nice interview.
I’m very proud of my friends at Rally – they’ve created a company that is well on its way to being one of – if not the – most significant software company in Boulder.
Over the years my partner Jason Mendelson and I have heard from numerous people that they’ve been exposed to our Venture Capital Term Sheet Series as reference material in a college course. We are delighted by this and whenever we’ve been asked, we’ve always said (and will continue to always say) “with our blessing.” However, we haven’t kept track of any of this over the year and have a few ideas for things we can do to update the material now that five years have passed.
So – I’m writing with a simple request. If you’ve used, or encountered, our Term Sheet series in a college (undergraduate or graduate) course or any other teaching / seminar environment, can you leave a comment below with the information (school / program / year / professor) or email me the information?
For those of you concerned about nefarious plots on our part, I assure you that we are delighted this material is out there in the public and are happy to have it freely used and passed around for all eternity. I promise we won’t send Jack Bauer your way.
My partner Jason Mendelson – who is also my co-conspirator in writing the blog AsktheVC – is having an open session called Crash Course – Raising Venture Capital. It’s part of the Silicon Flatirons program and is happening on February 24th from 5:15pm to 6:45pm in Room 204 at the Wolf Law Building. Jason says he’s going to cover:
Everything from what makes VCs tick, who are our bosses, what are things that you can do to improve your chances of receiving funding and things that many VCs don’t want to talk about. No question is off limits and I hope that it will be a very interactive forum. Consider this to be a live version of Ask The VC.
Of course, beer goes really well with stuff like this. So BioBeers is hosting a Startup Drinks event at The Foundry starting at 6:30. This isn’t at our office, although we are always amused when “The Foundry” gets confused with “Foundry Group”. Rather, it’s across the street at The Foundry, 1109 Walnut Street. Hoist a few for me as I’ll be in Seattle (more on that in a minute.)
The National Venture Capital Association regularly has webcasts aimed at various members of the venture capital community. On January 23rd from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. Eastern they are having one titled Beyond the Limited Partnership Agreement – Issues For Challenging Times. The description follows:
The current global financial crisis is impacting the venture community in ways that no other economic crisis has. For the first time in our industry’s history, some of the most committed, long term investors in the private equity asset class are reevaluating their commitment, shifting strategy and making the future uncertain. Join us on January 23rd for a provocative discussion as our panel discusses many of the provisions that define the relationship between General Partners and Limited Partner investors, and how these are impacted by challenging economic conditions. In addition, our panel will cover some of the inevitable consequences that may affect the internal operations of the venture firm.
The panelists are:
Howard Rosenblum, Partner, DLA Piper LLP (moderator)
Eric Fitzgerald, Director of Venture Capital Investments, MetLife
Michael Greeley, General Partner, Flybridge Capital Partners
Tom Hodge, COO and General Partner, Frazier Healthcare & Technology Ventures
If you are interested, register directly on the NVCA site to participate.