Top positive review
Basics rather than secrets
June 15, 2019
If I were to describe Scott Kupor’s Secrets of Sand Hill Road in a word, it would be “mistitled.” A more appropriate title would be something along the lines of The Basics of Sand Hill Road. The book does a solid enough job of covering the entire venture backed startup lifecycle in an easy to follow way. However, it’s hard to see how one could classify Kupor’s writing as revealing secrets.
Here and there, Kupor shares some really cool legal case studies that I’ve never come across, such as in the chapter about board member duties. Now that’s quality insight even someone who’s been in the ecosystem for 5+ years can appreciate! And it’s also something that Kupor, a lawyer by training, is particularly well positioned to share. I sincerely wish we’d gotten more of those case studies, legal or otherwise, because they make the whole journey through the startup lifecycle all the more interesting.
Instead, Kupor at times dons the Captain Obvious cape, with pronouncements such as “building relationships [with potential acquirers] is important.” Thanks, Scott, who would’ve thought?!
At the same time though, I recognize I may not be the target audience for this book. Kupor likely synthesized versions of startup/VC classes he teaches at Bay Area universities. I could imagine a sophomore at another university (one not smack dab in the middle of VC country) reading this book and finding it quite helpful, as she decides whether to found a startup and pursue the venture funding route.
It’s worth mentioning though that a significant share of the same content is also covered in Jeff Bussgang’s Mastering The VC Game. And while I haven’t read it, I’ve heard very positive things about Brad Feld’s Venture Deals. In all likelihood, reading either of these three books is probably a good enough basics crash course on venture funding of startups.