What You Should Be Reading If You Want A Job, Or Money, From VCs
Our social media followers and live stream viewers regularly ask us for guidance on which books to read to make sense of venture capital – and thus increase the odds of raising funds or getting a VC job, as the case may be.
It’s only fair to ask. After all, we browse a large quantity of VC-related content every day, in all shapes and forms: videos, podcasts, articles, tweets, LinkedIn posts, email newsletters, and books.
All TytchMe Academy learners benefit from our curation of the best and most relevant content. Our courses come with dozens of additional sources to read and view, so that learners can immerse themselves in venture capital’s methods and tools.
Here are our top sources on what you should read, depending on how you like to learn.
If You’re A Complete Beginner
The main advantage of books, in our view, is that they tend to start at the basics and progressively go to more complicated matters.
Silicon Valley darling fund Andreessen Horowitz’s Managing Partner Scott Kupor recently published such a book: Secrets of Sand Hill Road.
The book is named after the famous Menlo Park road, where most prestigious Silicon Valley VC firms are based.
In this book, Scott Kupor addresses venture capital from both angles: the VC’s point of view as well as the entrepreneur’s.
Although it can get a bit complicated at times, the book uniquely shows the market as it is today.
Given how venture capital has changed over the last ten years, such an update was necessary.
Besides, a16z, as the firm is generally called, is at the forefront of VC trends. They have been a promoter of the Founder-CEO and are well-placed to tell us what is happening next.
If you prefer reading or listening about it, here are a few sources you can use:
- The full video edition on a16z’s website
- Shorter videos on YouTube here, here and here
- Podcasts are here, here and here
If You’re Looking For Data-Driven Analysis
The first thing you should do is subscribe to CBInsights’ daily newsletter.
Now almost 700,000 subscribers strong, it’s a must for anyone looking for trends, deal analysis, and unmatched insights on issues such as fintech, corporate venture capital, or why startups die, to name a few.
The newsletter’s tone is unique and quite refreshing. You can access the archive from CBInsights’ website, which gives you a quasi-unlimited database to mine.
Other sources of data include:
- Pitchbook, which frequently produces free reports on VC and Private Equity
- KPMG’s Venture Pulse analysis (updated quarterly)
If You Want To Know Who’s Been Where And Done What
The primary and longest-standing source of information on VC is Crunchbase, long a part of the industry’s trade magazine of reference, TechCrunch.
Crunchbase has comprehensive data on funding rounds, acquisitions, and exits, as well as VC firms’ activity down to the partner level.
It is, therefore, an excellent source of information to help you better understand which VC firms and partners to approach for a job or to obtain funding.
Worth noting, Crunchbase launched Crunchbase News, which has a newsletter on daily deals and leading trends.
Get It Straight From The Horse’s Mouth
It has become common in recent years for venture capitalists to write blog posts on essential VC-related topics such as the pitch deck, startup growth and busts, and how funds are formed.
The pioneers and some of the most insightful ones are:
- avc.com from NYC-based VC Fred Wilson
- Feld Thoughts from Brad Feld, another legendary investor
- Mark Suster’s Both Sides Of The Table aims, as the name suggest, at educating founders on fundraising issues
- Last but not least, Founder Collective‘s Eric Paley is a voice you have to hear
Most of these VCs write weekly, and even daily in Fred Wilson’s case. Not all posts are interesting for the VC enthusiast, but many of them are luminous – and some are straight classics.
One last source you must read in this category is Paul Graham’s blog. Y Combinator’s founder undoubtedly is a leading influencer on the early-stage scene.
Start with the Essays category on the left-hand menu, and work your way through the wealth of wisdom distilled by “pg”, as he’s known in the VC world.
If You’re A Podcast Fan
A string of good-quality podcasts has sprung up in recent years on anything tech, startups, and VC.
Our favorite one is The Twenty Minute VC by the inimitable Harry Stebbings. The show is undoubtedly the #1 among venture capitalists. Brad Feld said a few years ago that it’s “the only thing [he] listens to in the morning.”
With millions of downloads of each episode, Stebbings is reaching beyond the circles of venture capitalists he’s interviewing.
Why you should listen to this podcast:
- Unparallelled number of top VCs interviewed, especially from the Silicon Valley
- The most technical one and, therefore, a unique source to learn about complex issues
- You enter the VC’s head on critical points such as investment decision, sector analysis, and fund management
- It’s fun and lasts only twenty minutes
💡Our advice: start with the first episode with Guy Kawasaki and work your way up by focusing on the famous VCs, as well as the themes you are interested in.
Other podcasts you should listen to:
- Gimlet’s The Startup is a fantastic way to learn about fundraising and managing a startup from the inside, delivered in with an exciting narration
- Recode Decode by legendary journalist Kara Swisher is the place to go to if you want to hear the most influential people in tech talk about what they do, and how they do it – Swisher doesn’t spare them, either
- SaaStr is the #1 podcast for SaaS enthusiasts. Initially hosted by none other than Harry Stebbings, he has been replaced by SaaStr’s founder and SaaS guru Jason Lemkin
- There is no shortage of good podcasts to listen to, but as your time is limited, we recommend you browse the following ones for top guests and topics: The Full Ratchet, Startup Grind, Dealmakers, and a16z’s podcast
Finally, a special note on Reid Hoffman’s Masters of Scale podcast. It does not focus on venture capital and fundraising. Still, Hoffman’s early experience at PayPal, then co-founding LinkedIn, and now investing at Greylock Partners, makes it an exciting podcast nonetheless.
If You’re A Social Media Diehard
Naturally, all the sources mentioned above are relayed on social media.
But some influencers give it to your straight on Twitter and LinkedIn, so you should follow them.
Twitter seems to be the second home of most VCs, especially those based in the Silicon Valley. Some of them spend so much time on it, you wonder when they have time to work on deals.
Regardless, it’s an excellent source of information and allows both founders and VC-candidates to not only witness in real-time what a VC’s day looks like, but also get into their mind and better understand them.
Luckily for you, we put together a list of top VCs you should follow on Twitter.
To be clear, these VCs don’t tweet only on their craft.
But once you get past the messages on the previous night’s game, what their kids are telling them, or how little they like the current US administration, you uncover real gems.
You need to be patient and browse the list regularly. It’s worth it.
The most active influencers on LinkedIn are not institutional VCs, but angel investors and people working in the industry (lawyers, consultants, and so on).
They provide high-quality insights and data, so you should not only follow them but interact with their content and add value to them.
It’s the first step to maybe talk to them later about your funding needs or job aspirations. LinkedIn’s advantage is that everybody knows who you are, which sometimes makes it easier to connect.
You can start by following these professionals on LinkedIn:
- Michael Jackson is a UK-based investor who posts daily quotes and data from reports on venture capital
- Chris Harvey is a US lawyer who frequently posts on issues beyond legal topics and has a keen eye for fundraising market conditions in the US
- Dr. Aniruddha Malpani is an India-based angel investor (and actual medical doctor) distilling thought-provoking bits multiple times a day. His posts invariably create (civil) debates among his 130,000+-strong LinkedIn follower base
You should obviously also follow our own Aram Attar, who’s more modest LinkedIn follower base consists, however, of many VCs and investors across multiple geographies worldwide.
Besides, if you have burning questions on venture capital jobs and fundraising, don’t hesitate to drop him a line on LinkedIn, he does his best to reply regularly.
Last but not least, you can follow our TytchMe LinkedIn page (handle has a dash: “Tytch-Me“), where we curate the best information we find:
If You Want To Learn While Having Fun (And Preferably From Your Couch)
Venture capital has become so popular in recent years, with consumer-internet companies, in particular, touching billions of people, that TV producers have taken note.
Our favorite TV show is the trailblazing Silicon Valley from HBO, now in its sixth season.
It’s fun and even cliché at times, but the research has been thorough, and many investors have said they see their own lives in it. It’s a must-see for startup founders and VC enthusiasts.
If some faces look familiar to you, it’s because most of the show’s actors have since become successful comedians in their own right.
You can buy the show’s seasons on Apple TV, Amazon Prime, and Google Play.
The market leader you can’t avoid is ABC’s Shark Tank, a program where founders pitch successful entrepreneurs who have become rich, and even billionaires in some cases.
If you look past the theatrics, you will learn useful lessons on how to pitch investors, what kind of questions they ask, how they see the world, and how they negotiate.
There is a difference between institutional VC firms and angel investors, but it’s a deep dive into the world of investing that is definitely worth your time.
The idea for Shark Tank originates in a Japanese show. It has since sprung up in many countries, including the UK, Canada, Germany, and will soon air in France (a program in which your TytchMe crew had a role: coaching startup candidates before they faced investors).
Another US TV program founders should watch is Entrepreneur.com’s Elevator Pitch, in which entrepreneurs have 60 seconds to pitch their idea before being allowed to meet investors and further discuss their business idea – unless they are sent back down.
They are literally standing in an elevator, which makes it stressful but also fun to watch. The focus on the elevator pitch, that first 30 to 60-second chance to get a subsequent meeting with an investor, is particularly helpful because many founders are not good at it.
As venture capital has progressively become a mature asset class, sources of information have multiplied, to the point it’s become difficult to read everything that is published every day.
On the one hand, the recent surge in liquidity has created opportunities both for founders looking for VC money to accelerate growth, and VC candidates who want to land the perfect job for them.
But these favorable market conditions have also created competition, and raised expectations from VCs. Unless you have a stellar track record, you must be razor-sharp and understand the ins and outs of how VC works to achieve your goal.
We hope this post helped you make sense of where to start. We wish fruitful reading/listening/viewing sessions across all these media.
Have we forgotten anything? Let us know by sharing this article on social media and adding your sources in your post!
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