My partners in the venture capital business, especially Bill Funcannon and Chad Waite all have contributed their wisdom directly and indirectly via their counsel and at times tough-minded questions as we have looked at new potential investments and worked to help existing ones. Professor Rob Wiltbank of Willamette University has provided important encouragement and guidance in my literary efforts.
The book is dedicated to all the entrepreneurs I have known. Without your bravery in stepping out past the comfort of your secure corporate jobs, out over the abyss of start-up land, usually without a net, there would be no need for venture capitalists. Your drive and dedication is what makes technology advance and the world a better place.
Finally to my family: Kim, Chris and Michael, thank you. I treasure your support in letting me do what I love, putting up with the travel, the breakfast and dinner meetings, the late-night emails, and for still always being there at the end of the day.
This book is for entrepreneurs who want to realize their vision, want to build a major enterprise, and want to change the world. To do that, you’ll need two things: cash and speed. You’ll need to get the money, and then run like mad before a big existing competitor slows you down, or another fast-moving start-up runs up your tailpipe.
To get the money, you may want to consider raising money from institutional investors, the venture capital firms. The good news is that venture-backed companies rank among the most successful enterprises ever created. The bad news is far fewer than 1 in 100 companies approaching venture capitalists ever get to “take the money.”
So, the first section of this book gives you a behind-the-scenes look at how venture capital firms work, and much more importantly how they think. You’ll get first-hand insight into what things you can do to improve your chances and the things to avoid that can doom your hopes.