There are books out there (a lot of books) about raising capital for your business, and there are infinitely more books on the subject of entrepreneurship. Some even endeavor to address both subjects. However, few, if any, are written by someone who can truthfully claim to fully understand the world of venture capital (VC) from both sides of the table. Author Jeffrey Bussgang (@bussgang) can; and that's what sets his new book, Mastering the VC Game, apart from the others.
Much like Bussgang's own life, Mastering the VC Game starts out with an entrepreneurial focus. The book details the infancy of now-household names like Twitter and LinkedIn and the challenges and triumphs their founders experienced while growing their businesses from a spark of an idea into the landmark companies they are today. Bussgang also tells the story of his own adventures in entrepreneurialism, including his involvement in the early stages of Open Market and his co-founding of Upromise, a company he and his team grew to such a point that it managed over $12 billion of college savings before being acquired by Sallie Mae in 2006. There is no doubt that Jeffrey Bussgang is an entrepreneur at heart, and that he "gets it" when it comes to what drives the entrepreneur to take risks and to dare to attempt"and do"the impossible.
In fact all die-hard entrepreneurs understand that drive"that gut feeling that tells us we're onto something big and that we just need to stick with it to make it happen. Of course, accomplishing something takes more than drive; it often requires funding, and what many entrepreneurs don't understand is the VC world"how it works, who the players are, how decisions are made, and how to get a VC firm to even consider funding your company, much less to take the leap to stroke out the check. Well, Bussgang "gets" that, too. Since becoming a VC himself, he's become privy to all the inner workings of VC firms. He knows how they make their funding decisions, which firms fund which types of companies (some focus on startups, others on more established ventures, some strictly on tech, and still others more specifically on biotech, etc.), and what it takes to get them to notice your company and listen to your ideas. The profiles of various VCs throughout the book, along with Bussgang's commentary, give the entrepreneur a window into this world, allowing him or her to see these inner workings for the first time.
Bussgang does a fantastic job of demonstrating his understanding of both sides of the VC game and then ties it all together. He gives the reader specific insight into how to find the right VC firm and how to get from idea to funding, including all the challenges that come with such a proposition and how to overcome them. One of the most valuable insights concerns the idea that finding a VC is so much more than simply getting someone with a lot of money to say yes. The entrepreneur needs to be as selective as is the VC, if not more so. The book talks not only about winning the attention of VCs, therefore, but also about selecting the right VC for you and your company.
A mixture of well-told stories, anecdotes, and sound advice, Mastering the VC Game: A Venture Capital Insider Reveals How to Get from Start-Up to IPO on YOUR Terms, is not only a valuable resource for any entrepreneur looking for funding, but is also a great read. Bottom line: highly recommended.
From the author, Jeffrey Bussgang:
I hope the book will help entrepreneurs level the playing field when pursuing VC capital so that they can secure the necessary resources to achieve their vision. In the book, I reveal industry insights drawn from my experience as a practicing VC. I also include the perspectives of some of the leading entrepreneurs and VCs in the industry, who were kind enough to divulge their own secrets about their approach to the business. I wrote the book not only to share this knowledge, but also because I strongly believe in the importance of the venture-backed start-up to our economy and our society as a whole.
Over the next decade, hundreds of billions of dollars will be invested in new or young companies and it is critical that this capital be invested wisely.Â Mastering the VC Game will help entrepreneurs be more effective in financing and launching start-ups and in creating companies that benefit us all, while also providing insight into the critical role these enterprises play in the global economy.