Mastering the VC Game: A Venture Capital Insider Reveals How to Get from Start-up to IPO on Your Terms is written by Jeff Bussgang, General Partner at Flybridge Capital Partners. Follow him on Twitter here, and read his own thoughts about the book here. Jeff has been a VC for a number of years, but prior to that was “on the other side of the table” as a startup entrepreneur. It’s a shame we have to speak about venture capitalists and entrepreneurs as being “on opposite sides of the table” but that seems to be the case much of the time. And if you can’t beat ’em or join ’em, then the next best thing is to understand what the hell they’re thinking.
And that’s exactly what Mastering the VC Game is all about. It’s a strong, introductory primer to the venture capital and investor world. For an entrepreneur looking to raise financing this kind of “insider information” is critical. From understanding the fundamentals of investment to how investors think, Mastering the VC Game walks you quickly through the essentials. Understanding the mechanics of how venture capitalists make financing decisions and make money is great information when you’re ready to pitch. You’ll be that much more equipped to succeed.
The book is easy to ready and understand. While it tackles somewhat complicated issues around financing and how venture capital works, Jeff does a great job of making this simple to understand.
The stories at the beginning are also very interesting. Jeff recounts the beginnings of Twitter, and how founder Jack Dorsey came up with the idea. It’s not a story I had heard before, but it resonates with some of the keys of being a true entrepreneur — passion, immense curiosity, drive, being able to adapt, and learn from failure.
Jason Evanish makes a great point in his review of the book:
If you take away only one thing from this book, it needs to be: understand and work to align the motivations of all board members. It is when motivations get out of line (or start out that way), that conflict and company issues arise. Your probability of success is infinitely greater when you have everyone working to the same goals.
Alignment is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately with respect to how you keep investors, board members, entrepreneurs, founders, employees, customers and others aligned for success. It’s not easy.
The only part I would have been interested in seeing is a stronger evaluation of the Canadian VC scene. Jeff takes a look at what’s going on in China, Vietman and Europe, all of which have different issues and lots of interesting lessons for nascent startup ecosystems. But I would have been curious about Jeff’s input on the Canadian startup scene.
Mastering the VC Game is well worth purchasing, spending a few hours with and learning about “the other side”.