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Do More Faster: TechStars Lessons to Accelerate Your Startup

Book Description

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.

Table of Contents

  1. Copyright
  2. Foreword
  3. Preface
  4. About TechStars
  5. 1. IDEA AND VISION
    1. 1. Trust Me, Your Idea Is Worthless
    2. 2. Start With Your Passion
    3. 3. Look for the Pain
    4. 4. Get Feedback Early
    5. 5. Usage Is Like Oxygen for Ideas
    6. 6. Forget the Kitchen Sink
    7. 7. Find That One Thing They Love
    8. 8. Don't Plan. Prototype!
    9. 9. You Never Need Another Original Idea
    10. 10. Get It Out There
    11. 11. Avoid Tunnel Vision
    12. 12. Focus
    13. 13. Iterate Again
    14. 14. Fail Fast
    15. 15. Pull the Plug When You Know It's Time
  6. 2. PEOPLE
    1. 16. Don't Go It Alone
    2. 17. Avoid Co-Founder Conflict
    3. 18. Hire People Better than You
    4. 19. Hire Slowly, Fire Quickly
    5. 20. If You Can Quit, You Should
    6. 21. Build a Balanced Team
    7. 22. Startups Seek Friends
    8. 23. Engage Great Mentors
    9. 24. Define Your Culture
    10. 25. Two Strikes and You Are Out
    11. 26. Karma Matters
    12. 27. Be Open to Randomness
  7. 3. EXECUTION
    1. 28. Do More Faster
    2. 29. Assume that You're Wrong
    3. 30. Make Decisions Quickly
    4. 31. It's Just Data
    5. 32. Use Your Head, then Trust Your Gut
    6. 33. Progress Equals Validated Learning
    7. 34. The Plural of Anecdote Is Not Data
    8. 35. Don't Suck at E-Mail
    9. 36. Use What's Free
    10. 37. Be Tiny Until You Shouldn't Be
    11. 38. Don't Celebrate the Wrong Things
    12. 39. Be Specific
    13. 40. Learn from Your Failures
    14. 41. Quality over Quantity
    15. 42. Have a Bias Toward Action
    16. 43. Do or Do Not, There Is No Try
  8. 4. PRODUCT
    1. 44. Don't Wait Until You Are Proud of Your Product
    2. 45. Find Your Whitespace
    3. 46. Focus on What Matters
    4. 47. Obsess over Metrics
    5. 48. Avoid Distractions
    6. 49. Know Your Customer
    7. 50. Beware the Big Companies
    8. 51. Throw Things Away
    9. 52. Pivot
  9. 5. FUNDRAISING
    1. 53. You Don't Have to Raise Money
    2. 54. There's More than One Way to Raise Money
    3. 55. Don't Forget about Bootstrapping
    4. 56. Beware of Angel Investors Who Aren't
    5. 57. Seed Investors Care about Three Things
    6. 58. Practice Like You Play
    7. 59. If You Want Money, Ask for Advice
    8. 60. Show, Don't Tell
    9. 61. Turn the Knife after You Stick It in
    10. 62. Don't Overoptimize on Valuations
    11. 63. Get Help with Your Term Sheet
    12. 64. Focus on the First One-Third
  10. 6. LEGAL AND STRUCTURE
    1. 65. Form the Company Early
    2. 66. Choose the Right Company Structure
    3. 67. Default to Delaware
    4. 68. Lawyers Don't Have to Be Expensive
    5. 69. Vesting Is Good for You
    6. 70. Your Brother-in-Law Is Probably Not the Right Corporate Lawyer
    7. 71. To 83(b) or Not to 83(b), There Is No Question
  11. 7. WORK–LIFE BALANCE
    1. 72. Discover Work–Life Balance
    2. 73. Practice Your Passion
    3. 74. Follow Your Heart
    4. 75. Turn Work into Play
    5. 76. Get Out from behind Your Computer
    6. 77. Stay Healthy
    7. 78. Get Away from It All
  12. 8. THE EVOLUTION OF TECHSTARS
    1. 79. What Motivated Me to Start TechStars?
    2. 80. Why TechStars Started in Boulder
    3. 81. How TechStars Came to Boston
    4. 82. How TechStars Came to Seattle
    5. 83. So You Want to Start TechStars in Your City?
  13. A. The TechStars Companies
  14. About the Authors
  15. Acknowledgments