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Straight Talk for Startups

100 Insider Rules for Beating the Odds—From Mastering the Fundamentals to Selecting Investors, Fundraising, Managing Boards, and Achieving Liquidity

Product Description and Author Information

About the Book

"Straight Talk for Startups memorializes age-old best practices and empowers both experienced and new investment professionals to beat the odds."—David Krane, CEO, Google Ventures

"Straight Talk for Startups is filled with real, raw, and fact-based ‘rules of the road’ that you need to know when diving into our ultra-competitive startup world. A must read and a re-read!"—Tony Fadell, Coinventor of the iPod/iPhone & Founder of Nest Labs

Veteran venture capitalist Randy Komisar and finance executive Jantoon Reigersman share no-nonsense, counterintuitive guidelines to help anyone build a successful startup.

Over the course of their careers, Randy Komisar and Jantoon Reigersman continue to see startups crash and burn because they forget the timeless lessons of entrepreneurship.

But, as Komisar and Reigersman show, you can beat the odds if you quickly learn what insiders know about what it takes to build a healthy foundation for a thriving venture. In Straight Talk for Startups they walk budding entrepreneurs through 100 essential rules—from pitching your idea to selecting investors to managing your board to deciding how and when to achieve liquidity. Culled from their own decades of experience, as well as the experiences of their many successful colleagues and friends, the rules are organized under broad topics, from "Mastering the Fundamentals" and "Selecting the Right Investors," to "The Ideal Fundraise," "Building and Managing Effective Boards," and "Achieving Liquidity."

Vital rules you’ll find in Straight Talk for Startups include:

  • The best ideas originate from founders who are users
  • Create two business plans: an execution plan and an aspirational plan
  • Net income is an option, but cash flow is a fact
  • Don’t accept money from strangers
  • Personal wealth doesn’t equal good investing
  • Small boards are better than big ones
  • Add independent board members for expertise and objectivity
  • Too many unanimous board decisions are a sign of trouble
  • Choose an acquirer, don’t wait to be chosen
  • Learn the rules by heart so you know when to break them

Filled with helpful real-life examples and specific, actionable advice, Straight Talk for Startups is the ideal handbook for anyone running, working for, or thinking about creating a startup, or just curious about what makes high-potential ventures tick.

About the Authors

Randy Komisar

Randy Komisar is a venture capitalist with decades of experience with startups. He is the author of the best-selling book The Monk and the Riddle, about the heart and soul of entrepreneurship, as well as numerous articles on leadership and startups. He is also the co-author of Getting to Plan B, on managing innovation, and I F**king Love that Company, on building consumer brands. He taught entrepreneurship at Stanford University and is a frequent lecturer at universities, as well as a regular keynote speaker on entrepreneurship, innovation and leadership. He joined Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers in 2005 to focus on early stage ventures. Prior to that he created the role of “Virtual CEO” to partner with entrepreneurs to help them and their businesses achieve their potential, serving as Virtual CEO for such startups as WebTV and GlobalGiving. He was a co-founder of Claris Corp., and served as CEO for LucasArts Entertainment and Crystal Dynamics. Randy was a founding director of TiVo and Nest. He served as CFO of GO Corp. and as senior counsel for Apple, following a private practice in technology law. He has also served on dozens of private and public company boards and advises such organizations as Road Trip Nation and the Orrick Women’s Leadership Board.

Jantoon Reigersman

Jantoon Reigersman is a seasoned financial operator with extensive experience in startups and growth companies. He serves as Chief Financial Officer of publicly traded Leaf Group (NYSE: LFGR), a diversified consumer internet company. Earlier in his career, he served as CFO of Ogin Inc., investor and member of Goldman Sachs’ European Special Situations Group and investment banker at Morgan Stanley in their mergers and acquisitions team. He is a Fellow of the inaugural class of the Finance Leaders Fellowship and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.

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