The Startup Playbook: Founder-to-Founder Advice from Two Startup Veterans

The Startup Playbook: Founder-to-Founder Advice from Two Startup Veterans

by Rajat Bhargava, Will Herman

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Get the real guidance you need to create and build your first startup company from founders who have been there many times before.

The first run printing of The Startup Playbook SOLD OUT! So, we revised, expanded, and improved this second edition, including a new foreword by Brad Feld, author of Venture Deals.

We still give our personal, how-to guide for building your startup from the ground up. You'll find a collection of the major lessons and shortcuts we've learned that will shift the odds in your favor. We're sharing our tips, secrets, and advice in a frank, founder-to-founder discussion with you.

We make no bones about our bias. We're on your side, the founder's side. While venture capitalists, investors, and accelerators/incubators can add great value in the startup ecosystem, this book isn't about their points of view. We'll tell you where our interests as founders diverge from those on the other side of the table—investors, bankers, advisors, board members, and others—and what to do when that happens.

The Startup Playbook is not a recipe, it's not a template, it's not a list of tasks to do. It's our insider's guide to starting a company and running it successfully in those critical early months. Between us, we've started over a dozen high-tech software companies and raised over $500 million in investment capital. We've acquired over thirty-five companies, had three of our startups go public, sold six of them, and we made billions of dollars for shareholders. We've also invested in over eighty startups, advised and mentored over two hundred companies and actively worked with venture capitalists (VCs), incubators, and accelerators to help launch many other new startups.

We've had plenty of failures, too. And we've probably learned more from those than from the successes. We share those lessons as well.

The Startup Playbook is full of our advice, guidance, do's, and don'ts from our years of experience as founders many times. We want to share our hard-earned knowledge with you to make success easier for you to achieve.

"This book is extraordinarily fresh and exciting. In an accessible, straight talk fashion, this book is a manual, and an inspiration. The Startup Playbook is smart and avoids the 'I am so smart' over-writing endemic to the genre. Read this as it is presented. You'll be doing yourself a tremendous favor."
Amazon Reviewer

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781119708537
Publisher: Wiley
Publication date: 06/23/2020
Series: Techstars
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 480
Sales rank: 837,225
File size: 6 MB

About the Author

RAJAT BHARGAVA is currently co-founder and CEO of JumpCloud, a cloud software company building technology for organizations to securely connect their employees to IT resources. An MIT graduate with over two decades of high-tech experience, Rajat is a ten-time entrepreneur with six exits including two IPOs and four trade sales. The Startup Playbook is the book Rajat wished he had read before he started his first company.

WILL HERMAN is an entrepreneur, active angel investor, corporate director, and startup mentor. He has started and managed five companies, resulting in two IPOs and two corporate sales. Will has also invested in over eighty startups, served on the boards of twenty-five companies, and has advised over a hundred more. The Startup Playbook is the culmination of Will's years of experience across all roles in startups, but focuses on the most important point of view, the founder's perspective.

Table of Contents



Part 1 I Want to Start a Company

Chapter 1 What Is a Startup?

Chapter 2 Why Start a Company?

Chapter 3 Am I Cut Out to Found a Startup?

Chapter 4 Qualities of a Founder

Part 2 Getting Off the Ground

Chapter 5 How Do I Know If My Idea Is Good or Not?

Chapter 6 Vetting Your Vision

Chapter 7 Product-Market Fit

Chapter 8 If You Build it, They Will Come

Chapter 9 Your Market

Chapter 10 Money – Getting It and Making It

Chapter 11 Getting Help

Chapter 12 Pulling the Founding Team Together

Chapter 13 Equity Splits

Chapter 14 Operating as a Founding Team

Chapter 15 How Do I Form My Company?

Chapter 16 Finance and Human Resources

Part 3 Funding Your Startup

Chapter 17 Funding Basics

Chapter 18 Sources of Capital

Chapter 19 Prerequisites for Funding

Chapter 20 Running Your Fundraising Process

Chapter 21 Your First Investor Meeting

Chapter 22 What Happens After You’re Finished with Fundraising?

Part 4 Running Your Company

Chapter 23 How Do I Build and Deliver a Great Product?

Chapter 24 Making Your Customer Successful

Chapter 25 How to Get Customers

Chapter 26 Your Marketing Approach

Chapter 27 Sales and Distribution Strategy

Chapter 28 You Don’t Run Your Company, Your Culture Does

Chapter 29 Hiring and Managing Your Team

Chapter 30 Scaling the Company


About the Authors


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