The world of Venture Capital and Angel Investment is fascinating but painful if you don’t know how it works. Like every industry it has a jargon and like every “human tribe” has its own rules.
Research and previous reading will give you a better preparation: there are several free resources available online. Below is a brief selection of what I recommend to entrepreneurs and from people that I know. However everything comes down to practice: just reading a good cookbook won’t make you a chef.
My advice: look at these resources and take on board what is suitable for you and your venture or idea. Then start to practice in the real world!
It was early 2008 when I first met Bill Reichert in Palo Alto through a common friend. We had a good number of conversations around technology, particularly about multicore software, which continued during his visit to New Zealand in 2009. His firm Garage Technology Ventures has a number of resources for entrepreneurs which are very simple and easy to read. Don’t miss “Small is beautiful” and the “Top ten lies of Entrepreneurs” (then go to the “Top ten lies of Venture Capitalists“)
In July 2007 NZVIF organised a seminar in Christchurch about angel investment presented by Tom McKaskill. It was a small and friendly gathering (I ended in a conversation in Hungarian with Katalin, Tom’s wife). His books are now freely available online. Most of them are written for investors, but won’t hurt you to have a look. And you need to read “Raising Angel & Venture Capital Finance – An entrepreneur’s guide to securing venture finance” and “Ultimate Growth Strategies – A practical guide to engineer high growth into your business”
The website of New Zealand Trade and Enterprise is a real mine of general information. It has been improving its presentation and organisation over the years. The “Investment Ready” guide is now presented on the website (the first edition was a small booklet in 2004) and its topics are very easy to follow through compelling headlines. You can download the full guide or work with the “Investment Ready Planning Templates“.
In February 2010 I had a long conversation with Hermann Hauser about the present and future of parallel programming. It was the first time that we met personally but we have been exchanging emails for a year after being introduced by Andy Hopper.
I was impressed for his calm and structured approach to the conversation. When you visit the website of his firm, Amadeus Capital everything follows a sequence: first you learn how to submit a proposal. Then it is an investment criteria to be met. But what is really interesting is the submission form because this is “real”. It’s not a template or recommendations about how to pitch: it is the form that will introduce you to a 473 million pounds venture capital fund .
This is a completely different approach to a Silicon Valley fund. Tom Perkins (founder of KPCB) said that they don’t read business plans submitted to their office because if an entrepreneur cannot find a way to get an introduction to one of the partners through networking, then he will be hopeless trying to generate sales for the new venture…
Good luck and have fun!