During my years in high tech startups, I have supported the raising of multiple rounds venture capital (okay, and maybe a failed round or two). But in spite of this, I retain a certain naivety when it comes to some aspects of venture capital. So I recently brought Jeff Bussgang's book, Mastering the VC Game, on a trip to the Napa Valley. I wasn't sure what to make of a VC turned author, but hoped for an interesting read. The resulting book was a pleasant surprise.
Jeff is a general partner at Flybridge Capital Partners on Boylston Street in Boston, a local venture firm with an early stage focus, a track record of recent successes, and an office with a view to die for. Jeff sits on the board of several startups, having been both a successful venture capitalist and entrepreneur (co-founded Upromise, executive at Open Market). He also writes Seeing Both Sides, a syndicated blog.
In addition to being well-written, Mastering the VC Game combines the right mix of facts, advice, people and stories. Jeff provides a fresh perspective to the different challenges of starting and running a company. He takes his readers through the fundamentals of a venture capital firm - from the structure, the funds, the roles and the business model. His passion for venture investing ("America's greatest export") shows through. He discusses how to make a successful VC pitch, drawing on not just his own perspective from sitting on both sides of the table, but also integrating the experiences of notable entrepreneurs. He includes stories and interviews from Jack Dorsey, Reid Hoffman, Tim Draper, Gail Goodman, and many more notable personalities from our industry, with maybe a little bit of a left coast slant. Jeff then takes you through what comes after the pitch: working the deal, running a company, and driving a successful exit. He ends the book with a look at venture investing outside the U.S..
When I put the book down, I couldn't help but wonder: why hadn't someone written this book sooner?
If you have even a passing interest in startups, venture capital, or high-technology, you will almost certainly enjoy Jeff's book.