Thursday, January 27, 2011

Ten interesting nuggets from Jeff Bussgang book “Mastering the VC Game”

I read Jeff Bussgang’s book on a cross-country flight – an interesting read, so it made sense to share some highlights with all of you. There’s a lot more but you’ll have to read it yourself). Hopefully I won’t get a nasty letter from the publishers for telling bits of the story. Here they are.

1. Digital Electronic Corporation was the first venture backed startup (started in 1959 with $70K in investment)
2. Christoph Westphal, founder of Sirtris, a biotech company (sold to GSK for $750MM) tested biological six formulations on himself which saved 6 months on development time (and money), and helped raise the Series B round
3. Jack Dorsey (founder of Twitter) wrote dispatch software to see if couriers would work out in St. Louis as a teenager. In college, he found a company in New York doing the same, so he transferred to NYU simply to work at the company
4. The first tweet was “just setting up my twttr” from Jack on March 21, 2006
5. Kleiner Perkins instructs its support staff to treat entrepreneurs like superstars when they walk in the door
6. Entrepreneurs may want to pause 15 minutes into a presentation to see if the pitch is going anywhere (by which time VCs have often made up their minds, says Jeff)
7. Gail Goodman of Constant Contact was rejected by 40 VCs before finding her first round and 60 before finding her second round of funding. Market cap is $600MM.
8. Eric Paley turned down a final meeting with a VC firm that was looking to fund them a few days before the meeting, then rewrote his business plan because he hated his first idea, and then when he came back 8 weeks later to the firm, they turned him down. The company was later sold for $95 million.
9. There are three types of VCs in the Board room – Randy Jackson (domain expert), Paula Abdul (cheerleader) and Simon Cowell (the truth teller, who’ll tell it like it is). [The truth is most entrepreneurs spend a lot of time with Randy, love but ignore Paula, and dread talking to Simon]
10. Terry McGuire, well known biotech investor has his biggest success in Akamai, and used to code software for a living.