- Series: Practice of Management Series
- Paperback: 624 pages
- Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press; Subsequent edition (May 1, 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0875848923
- ISBN-13: 978-0875848921
- Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 1.8 x 10.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #771,968 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Entrepreneurial Venture (Practice of Management Series) Subsequent Edition
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As the possible founder of a soon and future (hopefully) Biotech startup, wading through various other tomes on the tedious details of how term sheets are structured can be very dry and tedious reading; however, Chap 17 in this book alone was able to distill some of the most important terminology typically covered in term sheets - topics such as Capital Structures (common stock vs debentures like Preferred Stock), Anti-Dilution/Liquidation Provisions, Performance/Forfeiture Provisions, Employment Contracts and Shareholder Agreements - into jargon that a non-attorney guy like me can readily understand. I practically highlighted the entire chapter!
Just the 2 subsections on Capital Structure and Anti-Dilution/Liquidation Provisions alone were well worth getting this book - in some ways this entire chapter literally scared the HELL out of me - on the one hand, VC's can oftentimes be quite vicious in protecting their investment, covering just about every possible NEGATIVE possibility out there. On the other hand, since only 9 PERCENT of the typical VC's portfolio ever gets to the hallowed land of successfully cashing-out via an IPO, I can't really blame VCs for being so anal-retentive regarding covering so many possible negative scenarios, especially when it comes to fighting dilution of existing shares in subsequent future financing rounds.
One other book titled "The Founder's Dilemmas" by Noam Wasserman, has also been extremely, extremely helpful to me as well, and I cannot rate it high enough, either. Based on researching over 3300 companies and interviewing almost 10,000 founders and co-founders over a 9 year period, Wasserman has all kinds of interesting tips and advice for would-be startup founders like me. For example, one bone-jarring observation he made was that out of all SUCCESSFUL VC exits by various startups, approximately 75 PERCENT of all founders will end up walking away with NOTHING - oftentimes due to mistakes like not paying enough attention to details like "ratchet provisions" embedded in anti-dilution clauses and various liquidation provisions that their attorney-savy VCs were able to deftly sneek into their term sheets!
Definitely a LOT of "food for thought" and forcing me to seriously reconsider whether I even really want to work with VCs at all, and try pursuing other alternatives such as instead utilizing deep-pocketed Angel Investors who oftentimes will not be as attorney-savy as their VC counterparts, and who will also demand less control in terms of board representation and the day-to-day aspects of running a business and its attendant headaches - headaches that I would rather not have to share with an anal-retentive VC on a daily basis unless absolutely necessary! It will be interesting to watch and see what actually happens, going forward...
When I read this book, I learned how to focus my business planning on flexibility not on a spreadsheet that starts from zero and goes to my financial goal line. Other mentors in my life warned me about the time wasting misuse of a business plan, but this book points out both the common errors and how to fix them.
On another point - sales. I have seen other companies sell their ideas into the marketplace while bootstrapping their own financing. This book gives several examples of how to do just that. This is very practical stuff. I am glad I purchased this book and took the time to skim all of it and read some of the articles in depth.
However, I often felt that it was missing more on the practical side. For example, there are a few case studies, but only on certain topics. It was missing more of the "been there, done that" perspective. Definitely there were stories, but in those there was more of a strategic analysis rather than visionary or inspirational.
Overall, this is a very good book to use as reference to certain topics, especially in an academic environment.
The chapters written by the four professors have a strong academic/pedagogic orientation. Dealing with basic issues in extreme analytic detail, they frequently belabor the obvious and often come across as though they have all the answers (chapters written by Sahlman were especially bad for this). The book does, however, provide some thought-provoking discussion and a reasonable introduction to the issues of assessing viability, planning and managing a new business, and of attracting resources. Some of the chapters not written by the professors provide a good "textbook" reference for subjects such as patent law, raising venture capital, and management technique in checklist style.
I give the book three stars for its rigorous analysis but not five because of its presumptuous tone and the fact that too many of the chapters lean toward the hypothetical. It lacks the genuine, practitioner-based input this subject deserves.