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March 19, 2010

Book Interviews

I mentioned in my last post that I decided to write a book about venture capital and entrepreneurship, which is coming out next month (see http://bit.ly/mstrVC). In this post, I wanted to answer the question: "Who did you interview?"

Selecting interviewees was a tricky process.  The purpose of the book is to be a helpful guide for entrepreneurs as they navigate the process of building their companies in partnership with VCs, so I wanted to capture the voices and insights of both entrepreneurs and VCs.  In particular, I wanted to capture a diverse group - diversity in terms of geography, industry focus, gender and age.  Here's who I ended up with:

Entrepreneurs:

  • Tim Bucher (Zing, WebTV)
  • Jack Dorsey (Square, Twitter)
  • Gail Goodman (Constant Contact, Open Market)
  • Reid Hoffman (LinkedIn, PayPal)
  • Robert Langer (> 20 start-ups, including MicroCHIPs, T2, Predictive Bio)
  • Marsha Moses (Predictive BioSciences)
  • Eric Paley (Brontes)
  • Mark Pincus (Zynga, Tribe, SupportSoft)
  • Christoph Westphal (Sirtris, Alnylam, Momenta)

Venture Capitalists I interviewed were:

  • Tim Draper (DFJ)
  • Irena Goldenberg (Highland Europe)
  • David Hornik (August)
  • Terry McGuire (Polaris)
  • Howard Morgan (First Round)
  • Patricia Nakache (Trinity Ventures)
  • Henry Nguyen (IDG Ventures Vietnam)
  • Fred Wilson (Union Squrare)
  • Quan Zhou (IDG-Accel China)

Interestingly, three of these entrepreneurs became VCs after I completed the interviews (Hoffman/Greylock, Paley/Founder Collective, Westphal/Longwood).

So what do folks think?  I know I missed tens, if not hundreds, of other great people.  I emphasized people who were currently active in the business rather than historical figures, but tried to include folks with decades of tenure and perspective alongside younger voices.  I do regret not having more international entrepreneurs to compliment the three international VCs.  Perhaps next edition?!

In my next blog post, I'll talk about the outline of the material the book covers and the different approach I am taking (with the support of Penguin) to making the content broadly available.

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Glad to see the international mix of VCs- especially a few focusing on Asia. Interested to see their point of view/experience with venture deals/environment in Asian markets.

Yes. Henry and Quan both had fascinating perspectives.

Hi Jeff - looking forward to the book. Tangential question: I wonder if the recent spate of high profile quality/governance failures in large companies – like Mattel, Toyota - has affected the relationship between investors and entrepreneurs, especially in the emerging healthcare sector. Or is this a topic for the Trust but Verify blog. – Best, Tony.

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Good question.  Perhaps others have, but I
have not seen an impact, Tony.
 

Hey Jeff, I'm excited to read the book. I'm not familiar with every one of those businesses -- how many exits are there in that list, and what kind of exits were they?

Honestly, I'm more interested in hearing about the early phases of those businesses than the final phases before exit anyway, so to the degree the book and the interviews focus on the start, that's a plus for me.

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Stay tuned for more content, but, yes, I focus
on the early stages for each.  Constant Contact and Sirtris were IPOs, with
Sirtris then acquired by GSK.  Brontes was a successful sale to 3M and Zing a
successful sale to Dell.
 

I'll be looking forward to read your book. Keep up the good work..

Great list of both VCs and entrepreneurs. With tech innovation happening so fast right now I think you made a great call on including several folks who are extremely active today.

Always helpful to have a broad and diverse perspective as well though, so the balance provided from Asia-focused VCs, and experienced folks like Draper and McGuire can provide some excellent context.

Look forward to checking out the book!

Thanks, Bill!

Seems like a great book. You interviewed some well named personalities..

excellent list! looking forward to read those books. thanks

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