TechStars is a mentorship-driven startup accelerator with operations in three U.S. cities. Once a year in each city, it funds about ten Internet startups with a small amount of capital and surrounds them with around fifty top Internet entrepreneurs and investors. Historically, about seventy-five percent of the companies that go through TechStars raise a meaningful amount of angel or venture capital.
The Tao of TechStars is a collection of advice that comes from individuals who have passed through, or are pat of, this proven program. Each vignette is an exploration of information often heard during the TechStars program and provides practical insights into early stage entrepreneurship.
- Contains seven sections, each focusing on a major theme within the TechStars program, including idea and vision, fundraising, legal and structure, and work/life balance
- Created by two highly regarded experts in the world of early stage investing
- Essays in each section come from the experienced author team as well as TechStar mentors, entrepreneurs, and founders of companies
While you'll ultimately have to make your own decisions about what's right for your business, the Tao of TechStars can get your entrepreneurial endeavor headed in the right direction.
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About the Author
David Cohen is the founder and CEO of TechStars. He previouslyfounded and successfully exited several companies and is now anangel investor in over 100 Internet startups.
BRAD FELD is a managing director of Foundry Group, an earlystage venture capital firm. He has been an early stage investor andentrepreneur for over twenty-five years.
Table of ContentsForeword.
Theme 1: Idea and Vision.
Trust Me, Your Idea IsWorthless.
StartWith Your Passion.
Look for the Pain.
Get Feedback Early.
Usage Is Like Oxygen for Ideas.
Forget the Kitchen Sink.
Find That One Thing They Love.
Don't Plan. Prototype!
You Never Need Another Original Idea.
Get It Out There.
Avoid Tunnel Vision.
Pull the PlugWhen You KnowIt's Time.
Theme 2: People.
Don't Go It Alone.
Avoid Co-Founder Conflict.
Hire People Better than You.
If You Can Quit, You Should.
Build a Balanced Team.
Startups Seek Friends.
Engage Great Mentors.
Define Your Culture.
Two Strikes and You Are Out.
Be Open to Randomness.
Theme 3: Execution.
Do More Faster.
Assume that You'reWrong.
Make Decisions Quickly.
It's Just Data.
Use Your Head, then Trust Your Gut.
Progress Equals Validated Learning.
The Plural of Anecdote Is Not Data.
Don't Suck at E-Mail.
Be Tiny Until You Shouldn't Be.
Don't Celebrate theWrong Things.
Learn from Your Failures.
Quality over Quantity.
Have a Bias Toward Action.
Do or Do Not, There Is No Try.
Theme 4: Product.
Don'’t Wait Until You Are Proud of Your Product.
Find Your Whitespace.
Focus on What Matters.
Obsess over Metrics.
Know Your Customer.
Beware the Big Companies.
Throw Things Away.
Theme 5: Fundraising.
You Don’t Have to Raise Money.
There's More than OneWay to Raise Money.
Don't Forget about Bootstrapping.
Beware of Angel InvestorsWho Aren't.
Seed Investors Care about Three Things.
Practice Like You Play.
If YouWant Money, Ask for Advice.
Show, Don't Tell.
Turn the Knife after You Stick It in.
Don’t Overoptimize on Valuations.
Get Help with Your Term Sheet.
Focus on the First One-Third.
Theme 6: Legal and Structure.
Form the Company Early.
Choose the Right Company Structure.
Default to Delaware.
Lawyers Don't Have to Be Expensive.
Vesting Is Good for You.
Your Brother-in-Law Is Probably Not the Right CorporateLawyer.
To 83(b) or Not to 83(b), There Is No Question.
Theme 7: Work–Life Balance.
Practice Your Passion.
Follow Your Heart.
TurnWork into Play.
Get Out from behind Your Computer.
Get Away from It All.
The Evolution of TechStars.
What Motivated Me to Start TechStars?
Why TechStars Started in Boulder.
How TechStars Came to Boston.
How TechStars Came to Seattle.
So YouWant to Start TechStars in Your City?
Appendix: The TechStars Companies.
About the Authors.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
If you are looking at a single source of current thinking on entrepreneurship this is a reasonable place to start. The book has bite-size pieces arranged in helpful groups that make it easy to digest. However, talking too many bites at once can reduce enjoyment. There are many books on entrepreneurship, this is one of the better ones.
Brad Feld and David Cohen have put together an excellent resource for entrepreneurs. I've worked for a startup and co-founded a startup and I can relate to many of the stories in the book. I appreciated the quote, "Startups are about testing theories and quickly pivoting based on feedback and data." That is so true. We are in the process of pivoting, right now. One thing that I read that holds particular significance for me is, "Get feedback early." If we would have gotten more feedback from our target market with Impirus, we might have chosen a different vertical. Here are some other truths in the book; 1) Focus on one thing and do it really well 2) Listen to customers 3) Focus on ease of use 4) Get external accountability. We have implemented those ideas with success. I think that everyone who is going to start a business, or who has already started one will appreciate this book.
Brad Feld and David Cohen have created a "must read" blockbuster for every aspiring tech entrepreneur. But it's a bit of a misnomer to attribute this seminal entry into entrepreneurship literature, to these two guys. Because Feld and Cohen have turned web 2.0 "crowd-sourcing" on themselves, and used it to create a terrific, wide-ranging collection of solid advice and insights for aspiring tech entrepreneurs. What they've done is, publish the collective wisdom of their entrepreneurial network - based in Boulder - but now reaching out to Boston, Seattle, NYC, (and who knows where, next) - to aspire every young tech entrepreneur - even if those entrepreneurs don't have "tech experience". This ground-breaking book is jam-packed with wisdom, solid advice, and great insights. I recommend every new tech startup team - whether they are a young, first-time startup team, or not - make a detailed study of the wealth of great advice and insights, contained in this book. All you need, according to Feld & Cohen - is the right "heart" - not necessarily including technical experience. Is this going to be a "hot book"? Only the wizards of the publishing industry know, for sure. If you're fascinated by entrepreneurship - what to do, and what NOT to do - then read this book, and enjoy!
This book is great to get a general idea of what tech entrepreneurs go through. I must say the book is lacking in depth. Without white space and photos this would be probably not more than 100 pages. This would be a good first read. If you want more depth check out 'the 4 hour work week' (2nd edition) or a whole lotta depth check out 'Lean Startup' by Eric Ries.