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Early Exits: Exit Strategies for Entrepreneurs and Angel Investors (But Maybe Not Venture Capitalists) Paperback – March, 2009
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Times have changed. VCs now invest $10s of millions in each new venture looking for home runs over a long investment cycle. Unfortunately, singles and doubles provide inadequate returns for huge VC firms, so VCs press for big winners at the risk of losing everything. Dr. Peters has a compelling new strategy for entrepreneurs and angels: Improve your odds of lucrative returns using only angel money and focusing intensely from the outset on seeking Early Exits. --Bill Payne, Angel Investor and Winner of the 2009 Hans Severiens Award
Early Exits is a 'must-read' book for serious entrepreneurs and individual investors. It is the only book that I have seen in 12 years that focuses exclusively on Exit Strategies. An invaluable resource with a detailed contents section, it is easy to read with plain language, not too much jargon and good case study examples. READ IT. --Bob Chaworth-Musters, founder of the Angel Forum - Vancouver
Basil has provided a wonderful service to the angel community by writing the best book on exits. All will benefit from his wisdom and the experiences he shares. --John O. Huston, Founder, The Ohio TechAngels - Columbus
About the Author
Dr. Basil Peters is the Fund Manager for Fundamental Technologies II - an angel investment fund (seed stage venture fund). He also founded a venture capital firm and a hedge fund and has been a CEO in Vancouver and Silicon Valley. Basil is an active, early-stage, technology investor and writes a blog on best practices for entrepreneurs and angel investors at AngelBlog.net. He has a Ph.D. from the University of British Columbia in Electrical and Computer Engineering and has received the Entrepreneur of the Year Award; the Entrepreneurship Silver Award; the BC Science and Engineering Gold Medal; and the Business Leader of the Year Award. More on Basil at BasilPeters.com.
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It behooves any good entrepreneur, especially in technology, to read this before they go down the path of venture capital. He does a great job of describing the real job of VC's and how those interests may align with that of the company but not necessarily that of the entrepreneur.
Sure he sells himself and sure there is some filler. But what you will get out of this book is the insight to make better decisions about your venture and its future and your future. Less than 20 dollars and an afternoon of your time to read it, will pay back many many times in the dividends from the knowledge gained and in your ability to make the right decisions about your venture and your investment path.
I'm a biotech/pharmaceutical entrepreneur who has done the complete cycle of start up, angel investors, and venture capitalists to a successful (Oct 2011) acquisition and exit. I took my company from a business plan through all of the FDA approval stages too so I'm talking from direct experience. I really wish that I'd read this excellent little book back in 2005 when I was setting the company up - its pages are a gold mine of practical information for any entrepreneur who is thinking of using outside finance to 'jet fuel' their business. The bottom line is exit as early and as profitably as possible as this maximizes the returns for everyone. The expansion step that involves VCs is usually unecessary and actually harmful to the founders (70% fired within a year of VC investment) and early investors - avoid at all costs!! Its no wonder VCs are folding - they are not meeting the needs of their Limited Partners and Entrepreneurs. Basil Peters has a number of good stories with learning points from each (mainly tech, by the way). I certainly will use a number of his pointers in my next venture. Great book.
I was hoping for a book that would give solid advice on how to best achieve an early exit. When to start talking to BD guys at big firms, what to show them versus what not to show them, negotiation tactics for exits, the terms of an exit (eg a detailed LOI), etc etc. Instead this book just repeats the same anecdotes - incidentally the authors own stories - without any details whatsoever. The author has no data to back up half of what he claims or says and provides zero insight.
Here's a great example of what you'll get if you buy this book (from page 89 in the paper back version).
"7.5 Corporate DNA
Companies certainly have cultures. Companies also sem to have DNA. Corporate DNA, like all other DNA, determines the characteristics and success of the organism to a large extent." The author provides 3 additional paragraphs and explains that investors also have DNA! And when the two strands of DNA meet, they combine! Since this is such a novel insight the author is kind enough to provide a diagram of two strands of DNA combining into one strand! Simply pathetic.
Another classic is his appendix which sites four companies that he effectively ushered into success with his guru magic. Like the rest of the book these "case studies" are scant. The best example though is a company that he sites, which was making $3M a year. They had an exit opportunity. It was crappy. He came in and saved the day! They got bought out for...$3.2M. 1x revenue purchase price and he's jumping for joy and providing multiple testimonials from founders on how awesome he is. What a joke.