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Startup Opportunities, 2nd Edition

Book Description

Start strong with essential early-stage guidance from the VC perspective

Startup Opportunities is the go-to guide for anyone with a great business idea. Whether it's your first business or your fifth, realistic assessment from the outset can save you a lot of time and money; why pour your heart and soul into a venture that is doomed to fail? Instead, position yourself to win from the very beginning. In this book, accomplished venture capitalists share their insight on startups and entrepreneurs: who will fail, who will succeed and why, and what you should do to give your business the very best shot at becoming a global success story. You'll learn how to evaluate your business with a critical eye, and how early customer development can be key in turning a good idea into a great opportunity. If you're serious about building a business that lasts, this book provides invaluable guidance that you really cannot miss.

More than five million people will launch a business this year, and many of them will be great ideas—yet few will be around in five years, and even fewer in ten years. A great idea is not enough to build a successful business. You need to fortify your idea with the proper foundation, and a scaffolding of good planning and early action. This book shows you how.

  • Assess your business's viability using the 10x Rule
  • Learn when you can quit your day job—or not
  • Take the key steps to making your business succeed
  • Discover the opportunities worth selling everything for

This expert author team has witnessed more than 30,000 pitches over two decades, and have participated in over 500 startup launches. Startup Opportunities gives you the benefit of their experience to help you start strong and stay strong.

Table of Contents

  1. Foreword
  2. Preface
  3. Trust Me, Your Idea Is Worthless
    1. Note
  4. Chapter 1 What Is a Startup?
    1. How to Use This Book
    2. Who This Book Is For
    3. Notes
  5. Chapter 2 The Democratization of Startups
    1. The Cost to Launch Is Approaching Zero
    2. The World Is Flat
    3. The Path Is Known
    4. Access to Capital
  6. Chapter 3 Opportunities
    1. The Four Criteria for an Opportunity
    2. What Is Opportunity Evaluation?
    3. What Is the Cost of Poor Opportunity Evaluation?
    4. Execution Trumps Opportunity
    5. Risk, Uncertainty, and Ambiguity
    6. The Issue of Bias
    7. Notes
  7. Chapter 4 Approaches to Opportunity Evaluation
    1. Where Does Opportunity Evaluation Fit into the Overall Startup Process?
    2. Overview of Business Model Generation
    3. Overview of Customer Development and Lean Startup
    4. Overview of the Disciplined Entrepreneur
    5. A Modern Version of the Scientific Method
    6. Notes
  8. Chapter 5 People
    1. Team
    2. Working Full Time
    3. Been There, Done That
    4. Passion
    5. Coachability
    6. Ability to Attract Talent
    7. Business Acumen
    8. Domain Knowledge
    9. Operational Experience
    10. Mentors
    11. Board of Directors/Advisors
    12. Customers
    13. Social Capital
    14. Notes
  9. Chapter 6 Pain
    1. Compelling Unmet Need
    2. Size
    3. Durability and Timeliness
    4. Notes
  10. Chapter 7 Product
    1. The 10× Rule
    2. Rate of Adoption
    3. Rogers’ Diffusion of Innovations Theory
    4. Intellectual Property
    5. Key Asset Access
    6. Proof of Concept—Selling Your Product in Advance of Making It
    7. Gross Margins
    8. Scalability
    9. Notes
  11. Chapter 8 Market
    1. Market Stage
    2. Product/Market Fit
    3. Disruptive Innovation
    4. Industry CAGR
    5. Distribution Strength
    6. Customer Acquisition Costs
    7. Viral Marketing
    8. Competition
    9. The Goliath Paradox
    10. Barriers to Entry
    11. Government Regulations
    12. Partnership Status
    13. Knowing Why You Need to Raise Money
    14. Notes
  12. Chapter 9 Plan
    1. Time to Launch
    2. Plan to Scale
    3. Reasonable Not Right
    4. Get Out of the Building
    5. Plan B
    6. Notes
  13. Chapter 10 Pitch
    1. Short Form (Under 10 Minutes)
    2. Long Form (30 Minutes)
    3. Business Plan—or Not
    4. Executive Summary
    5. Q&A
    6. Notes
  14. Chapter 11 Raising Money
    1. Building a Relationship with a Potential Investor
    2. Who Makes the Ask?
    3. Use of Proceeds
    4. Raise the Least Amount of Money to Get to the Next Level
    5. Ask for Money from the Right Kind of Investor
    6. Raise Money When It’s Available
    7. You Aren’t an Exception
    8. Why Anything Other Than a Yes Is a No
    9. Be Realistic about Your Valuation
    10. Even Angels Have Investment Committees
    11. Notes
  15. Chapter 12 Pitfalls
    1. Showstoppers and Red Herrings
    2. Excessive Valuation
    3. Taboo Businesses
    4. No Skin in the Game
    5. The No Asshole Rule
    6. The Key Person Dependency
    7. Drinking Your Own Kool-Aid
    8. Notes
  16. Chapter 13 Don’t Quit Your Day Job If You Aren’t . . .
    1. Passionate about the Space
    2. Able to Execute the Solution
    3. Certain That the Problem Is a Need (as Opposed to a Want)
    4. Certain That the Problem Is Shared by a Large (and Growing) Market
    5. Able to Offer a Solution That Is 10× Better Than Anything Else in the Market
    6. Ready to “Burn the Ships”
    7. Able to Access Potential Customers
    8. Able to Spend Six Months without Personal Income
    9. Able to Garner Enough People, Users, and Money to Create a Minimum Viable Product
    10. Prepared to Get into the Weeds and Do the Grunt Work
  17. Glossary
  18. Acknowledgments
  19. About the Authors
  20. Index
  21. Excerpt from Brad Feld's Venture Deals, Third Edition
  22. Crowdfunding
    1. Product Crowdfunding
    2. Equity Crowdfunding
    3. How Equity Crowdfunding Differs
  23. EULA