Brad Feld

Tag: venture deals

This spring Jason Mendelson and I taught a class called Venture Deals with the Kauffman Fellows Academy. It was a blast so we’ve decided to do it again.

KFA uses NovoEd as their platform. Jason and I spent two days recording videos around our Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist explaining each section and going deeper with Q&A. The course is a MOOC that includes significant Q&A that I participated in throughout the course, along with a weekly Google Hangout covering different topics.

Some of the reviews from the course kind of say it all:

  • “It’s one thing to read a book, blog, article, etc about venture deals but the process of assignments with a team is like doing a virtual reality journey – you feel as if you are actually pitching a VC. Can’t compare this to reading an article.”
  • “Team based, good chance to interact with other students”
  • “The quality of the video content, as it complemented the book, was fantastic.”
  • “Straight forward approach to learning about VC deals “
  • “A course at a university would have charged $2,000 to $3,000 and likely not have the caliber of instructors.”
  • “These Google Hangouts are priceless and Brad Feld has been outstanding on this course.”
  • “The Venture Deals class is awesome because it bridges the trust deficit between Founders and VC’s”

Sign up for the course now – it’ll be running from June 16th to August 2nd. Use the discount code 2VD20 to get 20% off the price of the course.


My partner Jason and our dear friend Professor Brad Bernthal are attempting to teach everything there is to know about the venture ecosystem in 90 minutes on January 28th.  The link to the event is here.

Now realistically, you won’t learn everything, but they have been teaching a class on the subject for the past five years and it is not only excellent, but was one of the reason Jason and I wrote our book Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist.

This should be a great event.


I’m spending the new two days filming the content for a MOOC on raising venture capital. The content is based on my book with Jason titled Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist. After exploring a few different MOOCs for this, I think NovoED is the most interesting platform.

I’ve been impressed with the quality of the courses that currently exist. Several of my friends have done courses, including Chuck Eesley, a professor in Stanford University’s Management Science & Engineering group. Among other things, he’s got a great NovoEd course starting in a month titled Technology Entrepreneurship as well as a superb reading list for anyone interested in entrepreneurship.

Matt Blumberg finished filming the course around his book – Startup CEO: A Field Guide to Scaling Up Your Business – a few weeks ago. I got a preview of a few segments – it’s excellent and exceeded my expectations for what NovoED was planning to do.

I’m looking forward to yet another experiment in content creation, this time around a MOOC. In addition to creating the content, I’ll be an active participant / teacher in the course when it comes out.

I’ve often talked about how I learn things by doing them. As I wrote a few weeks ago, I’m fascinated with what I perceive will be a radical transformation over the next decade in how education works. I’ve been participating in it already through experiments like Techstars, which has completely changed how I think about entrepreneurial education. Creating – and participating – in MOOCs in another step in my learning process as I form a view about what is really interesting here.


Along with my partner Jason Mendelson and our friends Brad Bernthal (University of Colorado Law School) and Mike Platt (partner at Cooley LLP) we have launched a series of courses in conjunction with our portfolio company Sympoz on starting a company. This is a bidirectional experiment for us – we are helping Sympoz launch their new set of programs for startups and entrepreneurs while continuing to experiment with new forms of media around education on a topic we know well.

My class, How To Light a Spark & Set Your Startup on Fire, is FREE for a limited time. It’s aimed at someone either thinking about starting a business, or just getting going. It’s a casual format – these should be easy, inspiring lessons – each of the three segments is about 30 minutes long Following is the outline of the content.

  1. Identifying the Right Idea: Is It a Relevant Idea? Does It Solve a Specific Problem? Is It A New Idea? Reduce Unnecessary Complexity! Are Your Great?
  2. Identifying the Right Idea for You: Are You Obsessed? What Do You Know? Are You an Infection Machine? Are You Consumed?
  3. Picking the Right Time to Start: If Not Now, When? Risk vs. Reward. The Idea Is the Easy Part! Resources for Startups.

Jason, BradB, and Mike’s class is a subset of the class that Jason and BradB teach at the CU Boulder Law School which has consistently been one of the most popular law and business school classes around startups, raising money, and venture capital. In the Sympoz course, The Nuts and Bolts of Starting a Company, they build on our book Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist to help you turn your idea into a company, who and how to partner with, how to raise money, and what to do with it when you get it. There’s plenty of practical advice for interacting with VCs during the financing process along with lots of tips about what can kill your startup before you get it off the ground. The four hour course costs $29.99.

Sympoz classes are perfect for busy people; you can watch the professionally produced, HD videos anytime, anywhere on the planet, from any Internet-connected device, as often as you want. The Sympoz learning platform seamlessly blends discussions into the class experience, enabling you to ask questions of, and participate in conversations with your class community, including your instructors.

Join us in class – and give us feedback on what you think about it.


Jason and I got an email this morning that said the following:

Hi Jason and Brad,

Just wanted to thank you for writing the book ‘Venture Deals’. The advice in the book seriously helped my startup get a great term sheet on the table on Friday.

We get an email like this often. They come in different forms – some are longer than others – but they always have the same message. “Thank you for helping me.” And that feels awesome. It’s not the extrinsic motivation from the praise, it’s the intrinsic motivation that comes from knowing I’ve put together a book on a difficult topic that is useful.

I’ve currently written three books: Venture Deals, Do More Faster, and Burning Entrepreneur. This summer I’m going to write four more – Startup Communities, Startup Life, Startup Boards, and Startup Accounting. They are all in process and at different stages of completion – by the end of the summer they’ll be largely done and will come out quarterly starting in Q3. My goal is to cover a broad range of Startup topics in the same format that Jason and I did with Venture Deals.

Every time I get an email like the one above, it’s a little more fuel to keep on writing.


Over the past six years, Jason Mendelson and I have heard from over 100 professors who have used our Term Sheet Series of blog posts in college (undergraduate and graduate) programs on on entrepreneurship. Since the publication of Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist we’ve started hearing from professors who have used our book in their course.

Jason and Brad Bernthal have been teaching a class at CU Boulder Law School called VC 360. They’ve recently open sourced the syllabus and we’ve put up a page on AsktheVC for anyone teaching a course using Venture Deals.

If you are teaching a course using Venture Deals and want to be included, simply email me.  If you are looking for ideas on a course about entrepreneurial finance, take a look. And, if you’ve got suggestions, please offer them (yes – we are working on a teaching guide.)


For some time Jason and I have felt that VC’s have had an unfair advantage when it comes to understanding term sheets. So a few years back we wrote a whole series of blog posts (the Term Sheet series) which became the basis for the book Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist. Our goal with all of this was to help put entrepreneurs on a more even footing in negotiating a deal with a VC.

In some ways, I’ve always seen writing (both books and this blog) as a form of personalized teaching. It let’s me efficiently share whatever knowledge I have. But a few months back while I was visiting TechStars NYC, I had the chance to meet the guys over at Veri and pretty quickly realized they have a really interesting format for teaching things like how a term sheet works in an even more personalized way.

The result is Veri’s Understanding Term Sheets. The experience works like it would if we were learning it together one on one, namely that I ask you a series of question to figure out what you do and don’t know. When you know the material you get to quickly prove you’re a champ. When you don’t know something, I help bring you to the exact snippet of information you need to know. In other words, we figure out what you know, and help you learn only what you don’t. And hopefully have some fun in the process.

Let me know you think about Understanding Term Sheets, especially if there are ways to improve it.


It’s not quite halloween, but our friends at SVB are hosting an event for me and Jason Mendelson in Boulder on Thursday night to discuss our new book Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist. We’ll be handing out signed copies of our book along with answering any questions about venture capital, startups, entrepreneurship, beer, or our upcoming halloween costumes. There might be halloween candy and I’m certain there will be some tricks as well as other treats.

The event is free but registration is required. It’s being held at the St. Julien from 6pm – 8pm on Thursday 10/27. We hope to see you there.


Our friends at Dorsey & Whitney are hosting me and Jason Mendelson this Thursday, October 20th from 4pm to 6pm to drink beer together and discuss “what really matters” in a venture deal. While the event requires registration, I’ve been told that copies of Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist will be given to whomever shows up (until they run out) and that the beer will be a collection of yummy local microbrews provided by Devil’s Canyon Brewery Company in Belmont.

Jason and I will sign any copy of our book that appears at the event. We’ll also drink a few beers with you. Plus, who could resist a title of an event sponsored by a law firm that says “What The $@%@$” in the title.

Thursday 10/20
4pm – 6pm
Dorsey & Whitney
305 Lytton Ave.
Palo Alto, CA 94301

Register here!


Last night I gave a talk hosted by SVB at their Palo Alto office. It was part of the “Never Ending All Old Is New Again Venture Deals Book Tour.” I had a ton of fun talking to and answering questions from about 75 entrepreneurs who – at the minimum – enjoyed eating the great food and wine that SVB provided on a luscious evening in Palo Alto. Oh – and I signed a bunch of copies of Venture Deals.

Several questions came up about Convertible Debt. We touch on it in Venture Deals but realized that we didn’t cover it in enough depth so Jason recently wrote a Convertible Debt series on Ask the VC. The series is now complete – here are the links to the posts in order.

If you feel like we missed anything, or got anything wrong, or were confusing in our explanation, please chime in on the comments on the post. If you want to see an actual convertible debt term sheet or the actual legal documents, take a look at the TechStars Open Sourced Model Seed Financing Documents.

As a bonus to the evening, I got some direct, constructive feedback from one of the attendees via email later that night. While the “thank you” and “good job” notes are nice, I only learn when someone criticizes me (hopefully constructively, but I can handle it in any form.) The feedback was:

May I make a constructive criticism regarding your talk tonight? Your answers to audience questions tend to be overly long and rambling…..you “overanswer,” to invent a word.  You start strong and respond right to the essence, but then your focus blurs and you keep taking verbal baby steps away from the thought stream. If you trim a minute or two off each answer, you can call on more people and hear more questions, which sends more people home happy. I think if you self-critique a video of yourself in a Q&A session, you’ll arrive at the same conclusion. 

It’s a good suggestion. I often try to provide additional context to the question, but it sounds like – at least for one person – I went off on a few space jams that weren’t additive. I love the phrase “overanswer” – it’s a lesson from TV interviews 101 (e.g. just answer a question – any question – quickly). Something to ponder as I continue the Never Ending All Old Is New Again Venture Deals Book Tour.