Do More Faster: Techstars Lessons to Accelerate Your Startup

Do More Faster: Techstars Lessons to Accelerate Your Startup

by Brad Feld, David G. Cohen

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Overview

Practical advice from some of today's top early stage investors and entrepreneurs

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. Do More Faster: TechStars Lessons to Accelerate Your Startup is a collection of advice that comes from individuals who have passed through, or are part 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, Do More Faster: TechStars Lessons to Accelerate Your Startup can get your entrepreneurial endeavor headed in the right direction.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780470948798
Publisher: Wiley
Publication date: 10/01/2010
Series: Techstars
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 352
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

David Cohen is the founder and CEO of TechStars. He previously founded and successfully exited several companies and is now an angel investor in over 100 Internet startups.

BRAD FELD is a managing director of Foundry Group, an early stage venture capital firm. He has been an early stage investor and entrepreneur for over twenty-five years.

Table of Contents

Foreword ix

Preface xiii

About TechStars xv

Theme 1: Idea and Vision 1

Trust Me, Your Idea Is Worthless 3

Start With Your Passion 7

Look for the Pain 11

Get Feedback Early 15

Usage Is Like Oxygen for Ideas 19

Forget the Kitchen Sink 23

Find That One Thing They Love 27

Don’t Plan. Prototype! 29

You Never Need Another Original Idea 35

Get It Out There 37

Avoid Tunnel Vision 41

Focus 45

Iterate Again 49

Fail Fast 53

Pull the Plug When You KnowIt’s Time 57

Theme 2: People 61

Don’t Go It Alone 63

Avoid Co-Founder Conflict 67

Hire People Better than You 71

Hire Slowly, Fire Quickly 75

If You Can Quit, You Should 79

Build a Balanced Team 83

Startups Seek Friends 87

Engage Great Mentors 91

Define Your Culture 95

Two Strikes and You Are Out 101

Karma Matters 105

Be Open to Randomness 109

Theme 3: Execution 113

Do More Faster 115

Assume that You’re Wrong 119

Make Decisions Quickly 123

It’s Just Data 127

Use Your Head, then Trust Your Gut 129

Progress Equals Validated Learning 133

The Plural of Anecdote Is Not Data 137

Don’t Suck at E-Mail 141

Use What’s Free 145

Be Tiny Until You Shouldn’t Be 147

Don’t Celebrate the Wrong Things 151

Be Specific 157

Learn from Your Failures 159

Quality over Quantity 161

Have a Bias Toward Action 165

Do or Do Not, There Is No Try 169

Theme 4: Product 171

Don’t Wait Until You Are Proud of Your Product 173

Find Your Whitespace 177

Focus on What Matters 181

Obsess over Metrics 183

Avoid Distractions 185

Know Your Customer 189

Beware the Big Companies 193

Throw Things Away 197

Pivot 201

Theme 5: Fundraising 203

You Don’t Have to Raise Money 205

There’s More than One Way to Raise Money 209

Don’t Forget about Bootstrapping 213

Beware of Angel Investors Who Aren’t 215

Seed Investors Care about Three Things 219

Practice Like You Play 223

If You Want Money, Ask for Advice 227

Show, Don’t Tell 231

Turn the Knife after You Stick It in 233

Don’t Overoptimize on Valuations 235

Get Help with Your Term Sheet 237

Focus on the First One-Third 241

Theme 6: Legal and Structure 243

Form the Company Early 245

Choose the Right Company Structure 249

Default to Delaware 253

Lawyers Don’t Have to Be Expensive 257

Vesting Is Good for You 261

Your Brother-in-Law Is Probably Not the Right

Corporate Lawyer 265

To 83(b) or Not to 83(b), There Is No Question 269

Theme 7: Work–Life Balance 273

Discover Work–Life Balance 275

Practice Your Passion 279

Follow Your Heart 283

Turn Work into Play 287

Get Out from behind Your Computer 291

Stay Healthy 295

Get Away from It All 299

The Evolution of TechStars 303

What Motivated Me to Start TechStars? 305

Why TechStars Started in Boulder 309

How TechStars Came to Boston 313

How TechStars Came to Seattle 317

So You Want to Start TechStars in Your City? 321

Appendix: The TechStars Companies 323

About the Authors 329

Acknowledgments 331

Index 333

Customer Reviews

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Do More Faster: TechStars Lessons to Accelerate Your Startup 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
rightantler on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Impirus More than 1 year ago
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.
sbell22 More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.