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Showing 1-10 of 101 reviews(5 star, Verified Purchases). See all 176 reviews
on September 27, 2011
venture deals was my first Kindle book and very helpful. We raised angel money 10 years ago but my partner handled the details. This book helped me evaluate our options for raising more money in the future. it's very well written, has a sense of humor and flows beautifully. above all, you get a balanced perspective from an influential entrepreneur turned venture capitalist who knows both sides of the table intimately. a real gem.
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on April 23, 2012
It was my first buy in the kindle, it was easy and the book is what I expected.

Good move!
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on August 4, 2011
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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on September 26, 2011
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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on October 1, 2011
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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on July 23, 2011
Over the last 12 years, I've started companies in different countries and verticals. To date I was fortunate enough to accomplish this without the need for financing or outside investment.

Recently however I invested in a tech venture of my own and had to look at the business from both sides of the table (viewing it as an entrepreneur and investor at the same time) which is when this book caught my attention. While I found the Kindle version to be pretty expensive when compared to the hardcover one, I just couldn't wait and started to read it immediately. It was well worth the "investment":

It's written very well and the reading flows nicely. Even initially maybe difficult terms and insider information are explained clearly so that first time entrepreneurs and startups can understand it easily. But the highlight for me personally was a pretty balanced view from an investors and entrepreneurs perspective. It also gives a good indication what type of people (whether investors, entrepreneurs or early employees) you are probably dealing with based on the practical discussion of certain terms and conditions commonly used in the investment world.

A must read for anybody either seeking or giving VC and angel investments - whether with or without prior experience in this field. This book has the potential to become a standard literature and common knowledge for a new generation of entrepreneurs.
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on September 12, 2011
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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on September 1, 2011
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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on February 11, 2017
For a startup founder without much knowledge of term sheets and other stuff, this book is extremely helpful.

It was less dry than I thought as the authors imparted some comedy which I was surprised by.
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on September 8, 2011
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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