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67 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's like having Brad whispering in your ear when you pitch VCs
(Note - although the book isn't available yet, you can get it on a Kindle immediately -- that's what I did)

I'm CEO of a tech company based in Silicon Valley, and I've been reading Brad's blog for a long time.

I wasn't sure how much new information the book would provide -- after all, just following the blogs of top Valley-based entrepreneurs and VCs...
Published on July 18, 2011 by DROdio

versus
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good reference book
Helpful as a quick reference guide. Easy to search. Good indexing and easy to read. I purchased the Kindle version.
Published 18 months ago by mydsES174co


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67 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's like having Brad whispering in your ear when you pitch VCs, July 18, 2011
By 
DROdio (San Franicsco, CA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist (Hardcover)
(Note - although the book isn't available yet, you can get it on a Kindle immediately -- that's what I did)

I'm CEO of a tech company based in Silicon Valley, and I've been reading Brad's blog for a long time.

I wasn't sure how much new information the book would provide -- after all, just following the blogs of top Valley-based entrepreneurs and VCs provides a wealth of information (Brad Feld, Fred Wilson, Steve Blank, Mark Suster, pmarca, Sean Ellis, Ben Horowitz -- the list goes on)

But the book delivers in a few key areas: First off, Brad & Jason break down the entire process from soup to nuts. That's great for first-time entrepreneurs. I wouldn't be surprised if this book became the bible of startup incubator programs. There's enough detail to make it feel fresh, but it's not so dense that it's hard to get through. I would suggest a re-read though, especially if you're completely new to fundraising (like Dick Costolo says in the forward, if you don't know preferred stock from chicken stock).

The real value for more experienced entrepreneurs lies in the nuances of the fundraising process. If you've been through it before, you know that one misstep can be very costly, and there's absolutely a "code" to follow. Its described eloquently as VCs looking to do deals with those who can speak their language. So consider this a way to get fluent in that language, so you can focus on what's important to you, instead of junior mistakes.

For those looking to raise an angel round only: I've written a series of blog posts about our experience raising $1MM for our statup. The raise took us 14 weeks, and my goal is to help other entrepreneurs do it more quickly and efficiently. You can read about my "Fundraising Cribsheet Manifesto" at [...] . Hope it's helpful, and good luck!
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Required reading if you're starting a tech business, July 17, 2011
This review is from: Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist (Hardcover)
You need to read this book if you are running a startup or plan to start a company soon. If you're like me, you've probably scoured the internet for this sort of information before. There are some fantastic blogs out there, but it's very difficult to find detailed and specific information. All you need to know about raising money is here, in a nice package. Go buy it now.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Become an insider, July 17, 2011
This review is from: Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist (Hardcover)
It seems like a lot of deals that you hear about from the VC world are all done by insiders. Part of that is just perception, but part of it is reality: People who've done lots of VC deals get VC funding much more quickly and easily.

Part of that, clearly, is the track record. I think another part of it, however, is just the world of VC. The actual VCs are so busy that they just don't have time to give a whole education to the founders of the companies that are seeking funding. They want to deal with someone who speaks their language.

That's why this book is so useful. Any reader who really gets immersed in every page won't be able to help but emerge from the experience with an imprint of the language of VC. If you really read it, you'll have the advantage of at least sounding like an insider, someone who really has the language down. If you have the language down, well, that's the crucial first step.

If you were thinking of moving to, say, Portugal for more than five years, you'd probably buy a book and really try to learn some Portuguese before you go and keep it with you there. If you really want to get some VC, you are going to live in that world for at least five years. This is the book you need to read and study over and over for your journey.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Like having a startup super-mentor on your shelf, August 4, 2011
By 
foobar (San Francisco) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist (Hardcover)
I was very pleased to receive an advance copy of Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist the other day. After reading it, I've concluded that it's like having a super-mentor on your shelf.

I have been extraordinarily fortunate throughout my career to have been blessed with amazing mentors. Men like Will Harvey and Steve Blank have been there to help me, encourage me, and push me to do better. For any entrepreneur, these super-mentors are one of the secret weapons that can make a difference: answering difficult questions, making key introductions, or offering sage advice.

However, there is one thing that the best mentors do which is most important: they can help you figure out what the $@%@$ is going on. When things get really tricky, often we find ourselves asking the wrong questions, or not even knowing enough to ask.

When raising money, for example, you might think that most negotiations happen in a rational way, over just a few deal points that have a clear meaning. You might think that "company valuation" refers, naturally, to how much your company is - you know - valued. But this kind of thinking will get you in trouble fast. Because in reality, these negotiations hinge on hundreds of hidden factors, incentives, and sources of agency bias. Nothing is straightforward, especially if you haven't done it before. These are the moments when the truly great mentors stand out in their ability to cut through the BS and help you understand the motivations and systems that are driving seemingly incomprehensible behavior.

All of this is by way of saying that if you already have a mentor of the caliber of a Steve Blank or Brad Feld on speed-dial, you probably don't need to read Brad's new book Venture Deals.

What's that you say? You don't - or you're not sure? Well then, you absolutely, positively, without-any-doubt have to read Brad's new book Venture Deals.

When I received my advance copy, I was a little worried. I generally try and stay away from topics like "how to raise VC" or "how to sell your company" because the startup landscape is already saturated with tips and tricks. And reading a term sheet has all the entertainment value of watching dried paint get even drier.

But Venture Deals is quite a surprise: it's readable, engaging, and addresses issues way below the surface.

It is not a how-to manual or a collection of tips. It's an in-depth explanation of what the @$%$ is going on when an entrepreneur considers raising money or doing an M&A transaction. And even if you don't think you're going to do that for your startup, this is very valuable information to have - because you never know who might approach you in the future. This is a book you'll want to have handy, just in case.

I've dealt with a bunch of different kinds of investors over the years, from so-called "dumb money" all the way up. The hardest thing to understand when working with them is that they are subject to forces and incentives that are rarely disclosed openly. When I came to Silicon Valley, I was inducted into a body of accumulated wisdom about how to handle them. This is the same advice I hand down again to entrepreneurs who are seeking my counsel. That advice is completely consistent with what's contained in Venture Deals.

For example, the right way to think about a term sheet is as a negotiation over just two things: economics and control. Everything in a term sheet is negotiable - if and only if you already have sufficient leverage. (Do you know the sources of leverage in a VC deal? Wouldn't you like to?) There are many founder-friendly terms you can push for, from automatic acceleration to reduced vesting - but each risks reducing the alignment of interests between founders and investors. And even if you're an old pro at raising money, you're likely to find a few surprises in here. Are you sure you know the formula for how your VC reserves capital for your future rounds (I didn't)?

And even the most battle-tested entrepreneur would be forgiven if they were a little confused by the following bit of poetry in a term sheet:

"Antidilution Provisions: The conversion price of the Series A Preferred will be subject to a narrow-based weighted average adjustment to reduce dilution in the event that the Company issues additional equity secuities..."

Now even though us old pros know that there are different kinds of antidilution provisions, are you absolutely sure you remember which one is the good kind and which is the horrible kind that caused all those problems in 2001? Are you sure your lawyer will catch it if the formula isn't quite right? Wouldn't you rather be sure? I've lived through a crisis where a company's antidilution provisions kicked in and nobody could agree on how the formula was to be interpreted. I wish I'd had this book on my shelf back then.

Which brings me back to my claim at the top about having a super-mentor in book form. Venture Deals explains not just what to do but why it works that way. Every VC term sheet I've ever seen has come with a claim that its terms are all "entirely standard" and "as simple as possible" - whether it was one page or a dozen pages long. That can be frustrating, but what do you do about it? Which terms really are standard for good reasons, which are standard for bad reasons, and which are just gotchas designed to skew the negotiation?

Venture Deals has negotiating tips, same as other books, but - much, much more importantly - its negotiating section is called What Really Matters? When you're in the thick of it, only a truly great mentor can tell you which provisions are negotiable, which are negotiable-but, and which are really non-negotiable. ("negotiable-but" means you can possibly win that fight, but it will damage your reputation in the process.)

Now, it's important to keep in mind that Brad and Jason are themselves VC's, albeit ones with an entrepreneur-friendly reputation. So you always have to take their advice - like anyone's - with a grain of salt. But they've thought of that, too. Throughout the book, they've given space for brief commentaries by an experienced entrepreneur, Matt Blumberg, CEO of Return Path. In several places he gives an important counterpoint to Brad and Jason's perspective. It's a combination that is unique to this book.

I hope all of you who are reading this - no matter where you live, no matter what kind of company you have - will one day get to make the pilgrimage to Sand Hill Road in Silicon Valley, or another famous startup hub. It's an exhilarating experience. But it's not without its risks. As the old saying goes, "watch your wallet." And bring your copy of Venture Deals.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I've read all of the "VC" books - this one's the keeper, September 26, 2011
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This review is from: Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist (Hardcover)
So many Venture Capital books are functionally textbooks. Written with lots of mechanical detail, yet missing the narrative thread that results in a consumable, tangible read. This book nails the VC process, the high spots, the gotchas and everything in between for the startup entrepreneur. If you want to be a VC, this isn't the best book for you...then again there really isn't a book for that. This book is for startup entrpreneurs that don't want to go into the funding process with their pants down.

A super read and resource.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Bible for Start ups: Invaluable Read, October 1, 2011
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This review is from: Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist (Hardcover)
If you are contemplating, in the process of getting your start-up off the ground or even an experienced entrepreneur this book is a must read. As a first time entrepreneur this book has armed me with more knowledge than I ever thought I would get from a single book. Brad and Jason do a great job of presenting pretty complicated and dry material in a simple and entertaining fashion. I had a hard time putting the book down, with each page I was intrigued to see what I would learn next. This book covers all of the topics and important issues start-ups will face, from finding a VC, understanding how VC's work, the courtship between VC's and start-ups, equity issues, deal structures, breaking down term sheets, exits and the list goes on. It is a godsend that they have been kind enough to share information like this with the public. Stop reading this review and pick up the book. Thank you Jason and Brad!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply awesome!, October 1, 2011
This review is from: Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist (Hardcover)
Truly great book indeed! For me it provided very structured intro into the subject, but I'm sure even more VC-topic savvy people will learn a few new tricks. And it's written really well so I'm sure people have fun reading it
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Book For The Startup Greenhorn, September 12, 2011
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Being an entrepreneur of a fledgling startup is akin to being a greenhorn on an Alaskan crab fishing boat - the goal is to simply not die. You are constantly surrounded by grizzly veterans who have seen the ups and downs before you. But deep down inside, those veterans are there to help you as long as you ask for it and prove that you can work up to their expectations.

This book is an introduction to one of the first lessons a startup entrepreneur needs to learn, raising money. While not necessarily the most difficult part of a startup, it's one of the most time consuming and potentially error prone. Brad and Jason are the grizzly veterans who will navigate you through the Term Sheet, Capitalization Table and 100 other terms you never thought you needed to know. All you have to do is ask, understand and absorb the knowledge they give to you.

I highly recommend this book for those beginning their adventures of raising money for their startup. It's a true life saver. Buy this book. Study this book. Know this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wish I'd had this book way back when, September 8, 2011
By 
Dave Mccomb (Ft Collins, CO USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist (Hardcover)
We were in registration to go public in the spring of 2000. That didn't happen. When I read this book I was reliving a lot of the run up to that point.

Wish I had had this book then. I love the way they separate the important from the unimportant, there is so much confusion and so many moving parts in these deals you often feel like you're being taken advantage of, but can't figure out how or where.

This book is a breath of fresh air.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars required reading!, September 1, 2011
By 
Ruby's Mom (Palo Alto, CA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist (Hardcover)
This is unequivocally *the* must-read book for any entrepreneur contemplating venture financing. In straightforward, conversational language, Brad Feld and Jason Mendelson have laid out the ins and outs of venture financing -- the process, terms, and considerations. But more importantly, they take the entrepreneur inside the head of the VC, to understand how his or her world works -- fund dynamics, portfolio management, even typical firm hierarchy and politics -- so the entrepreneur is better equipped to understand what is inside the brain of the person on the other side of the table and therefore how to navigate a deal to completion. I teach entrepeneurship at Stanford and venture financing is one of our primary topics. This book answers questions the students wouldn't know to ask! I've made it required reading.
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Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist
Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist by Jason Mendelson (Hardcover - August 2, 2011)
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