Founder Resources

 

I bookmark a lot of articles on various topics in the startup and emerging growth space.  I mean, a lot. Part of my job is to keep up on what is going on in my space, and that means I read and read and read.  I started to see patterns in what I was reading, and I could put the subject matter of the article into certain buckets in my head.  After a while, people would ask me questions and I’d remember certain articles I read and spend ridiculous amounts of time going back through my bookmarks and linking various articles in an email so someone else could benefit from the content.  It finally occurred to me that I should catalog these somewhere and then just point people to it.

For the record, these are articles I find interesting, thought-provoking and edgy even if in the end I may not agree with the premise or conclusion.  I do this based on my view that reading and considering opposing viewpoints on topics is key to critical thinking and the advancement of the industry.  So, take these for what they are worth.  I am hoping they get you thinking or provide some data that you find useful.

Where possible or relevant, I’ve dated the links.  Obviously for things like comp or funding data, aging information may not be as relevant (or it may be).  I’ll let you decide.

(I apologize for my Web 1.0 approach.  I’ll improve upon it later.  My goal here is to just get it started.)

Financing Forms

NVCA Model Legal Documents

Wilson Sonsini Term Sheet Generator

Wilson Sonsini Convertible Note Term Sheet Generator

Cooley Legal Forms

Orrick Legal Forms

KISS Forms

SAFE Forms

Fenwick & West Series Seed Forms

Salary/Compensation

2017 Global State of Tech Salaries by Hired (2/10/17)

How Much Should I Pay Myself at My Startup by Elizabeth Yin (12/18/16)

The Median Level of CEO Salaries at Exit by Sammy Abdullah (11/22/16)

Executive Compensation Archives by Clark Waterfall (3/4/16)

2015 Comp Study:  Executive Compensation & Team Composition by WilmerHale (2015)

Founder Compensation:  How Much Should You Pay Yourself? by Melody Peng (8/7/15)

How Much Should You Pay Your Engineers by Compass (3/10/15)

2014 Venture Capital Executive Compensation Survey:  Technology Sector Trend Report (9/14)

Most Startup Founders Pay Themselves This Totally Reasonable Salary by Alyson Shontell (5/29/14)

This is How Much Startup Founders Pay Themselves (and it’s Less Than you Think) by Julie Bort (4/20/14)

Startup CEO Salary:  What Wage Do Founders Get?  Probably Not a Very High One by Martin Bryant (1/14/14)

This Startup Just Published All Employee Salaries (and a Lot More) by Jeff Haden (12/23/13)

Executive Compensation:  Insights from the 2012 CompStudy Survey of Venture-Backed Companies by WilmerHale (10/11/12)

How Much Should a Startup Founder/CEO Pay Herself? by Dharmesh Shah (8/14/12)

2011 Annual Compensation Survey (Venture-Backed Technology & Life Sciences Companies in North Carolina) by Hutchinson Law Group (2011)

What are Typical Employment Contract Terms and Severance Benefits for a Startup? by Ask the VC (11/20/07)

What are Typical Compensation Numbers? by Ask the VC (6/4/07)

Equity Compensation Terms by Ask the VC (5/24/07)

A Counterintuitive System for Startup Compensation by First Round Review (no date)

Startup Founder Compensation:  The Good, The Bad and The Irrelevant by OnStartups.com (no date)

What to Pay Yourself When You’re CEO of a Startup by Ivy Exec (no date)

Equity Splits/Options

The Liquidity What If?  Our Alternative to Employee Options/Equity Grants by Jason Fried (12/7/16)

The Median Level of Founder Ownership at Exit by Sammy Abdullah (11/3/16)

How Big Should an Employee Option Pool Be? by Adley Bowden (10/31/16)

How Startup Options (and Ownership) Works by Scott Kupor (8/24/16)

Equity 101 – Definitions, Distribution Methods, and Potential Issues by Andrew Nakkache (3/21/16)

The Very First Mistake Most Startup Founders Make by Noam Wasserman and Thomas Hellmann (2/23/16)

How to Split Equity Among Co-Founders by Michael Seibel (12/2/15)

Splitting Equity Among Founder by Alain Raynaud (11/1/15)

How to Split Equity with Cofounders by Jonathan Greechan (9/3/15)

How to Divide Founder Equity:  4 Criteria to Discuss by Lee Hower (12/4/14)

Getting Your Fair Share of Founder Equity by Leigh Buchanan (10/14)

Founder’s Dilemmas:  Equity Splits by Eric Ries (4/24/12)

The Only Wrong Answer is 50/50:  Calculating the Co-Founder Equity Split by Dan Shapiro (4/28/11)

The Option Pool Shuffle by Venture Hacks (4/10/07)

The Great Divide:  Splitting Founder’s Equity by Nithya Das and John J. Egan III (no date)

Startup Equity Calculator (no date) (posted for shits and giggles – I have no clue what the black box is behind this)

Funding

General Wisdom

How to Reference Check Your Prospective Investor by Manu Kumar (3/20/17)

SaaS Funding Napkin, the 2017 Edition by Christoph Janz (1/10/17)

Deal Breakers, Part 2:  A Red Flag List from Top Vcs by Jason Shuman (1/24/17)

Deal Breakers, Part 1:  A Red Flag List from Top VCs by Jason Shuman (12/2/16)

Founders:  Answer These Important Questions Before Fundraising by Denali Tietjen (1/12/16)

What Traction do I Need to Raise Money? by Elizabeth Yin (12-4-16)

Overdosing on VC:  Lessons from 71 IPOs by Eric Paley and Joseph Flaherty (10/15/16)

Venture Capital is a Hell of a Drug by Eric Paley (9/16/16)

Planting the Seed:  Raising our First Round by Chris Maddox (9/15/16)

Raising Money Online – Advice for Startups by Jared Friedman (8/31/16)

The 8 Things Everyone Should Know About Startup Funding by Willy Braun (6/14/16)

Changes in the Venture Capital Funding Environment by Mark Suster (6/5/16)

What Does It Take to Raise Capital, in SaaS, in 2016? by Christoph Janz (5/31/16)

What to Do When Your Fundraising is Not Going Well by Alex Iskold (5/26/16)

Red Flags That an Investor May Not be a Fit for Your Startup by Rob McDonald (4/14/16)

Surviving Whatever Comes Next by Danielle Morrill (2/15/16)

Don’t Let Faux Unicorns Screw Up Your Financing by John Greathouse (1/25/16)

Revenue Multiple Demystified:  Tech Valuations 101 by Mike Puangmalai (12/15/15)

What I’ve Learned About Venture Funding by Mark Suster (8/21/15)

What is it Like to Negotiate a VC Round? by Mark Suster (6/5/15)

How to Raise Money by Paul Graham (9/13)

How to Raise Money as a First Time Founder by Wade Foster (8/13/13)

How to Convince Investors by Paul Graham (8/13)

Want to Raise a Million Bucks?  Here’s What You’ll Need by Greg Kumparak (4/22/13)

How Funding Rounds Differ:  Seed, Series A, Series B, and C . . . by Elad Gil (3/15/11)

Raising Venture Capital by Mark Suster (6/20/09)

The Option Pool Shuffle by Venture Hacks (4/10/07)

What Most People Don’t Understand About How Startup Companies are Valued by Mark Suster (no date)

What is the Difference Between “Friends and Family”, Seed and Series A Financings? by Miguel Vega (no date)

Understanding Startup Investments (Equity, Convertible Notes, and SAFEs) by Funders Club (no date)

Actual Data (Terms/Valuations)

After 20 Years:  Updating the Berkus Method of Valuation by Dave Berkus (11/16/16)

SaaS Funding Napkin, the Mobile-Friendly Edition by Christoph Janz (6/3/16)

Is Flat the New Up? by Ryan Lawler (11/3/16)

Q3 2016 Trends by Cooley (10/16)

Browse Startup Valuation Data by AngelList (10/16)

The State of Enterprise Technology:  An Analysis of 1,500 Fundings Over the Past 3 Years by Jonathan Lehr and Jessica Lin (8/23/16)

Corporate Adventures in Health Care Venture Capital by Health Evolution Summit (6/16)

US Venture Capital Investment Dollars Down 11% YTD, Late Stage Rounds Hit Hardest Followed by Series B by Danielle Morrill (5/8/16)

The State of U.S. Venture Valuations and Other Notable Trends in 10 Charts by PitchBook (4/12/16)

A Visual Summary of VC Activity Worldwide in Q1 2016 by PitchBook (4/6/16)

The Terms Behind Unicorn Valuations by Barry Kramer, Khang Tran and Nicole Harper (2/10/16)

2015 Angel HALO Annual Report by PitchBook (12/15)

Digital Health Funding:  2015 Year in Review by Teresa Wang, Emily King, Mara Perman and Halle Tecco (12/15)

Venture Outlook 2016 by Mark Suster (10/18/15)

Why the Public Stock Markets Will Affect Your Funding Round Even if You Can’t Perceive It by Mark Suster (8/25/15)

Average Series A Rounds Surpass $10M in Q2 2015 by Danielle Morrill (6/15/15)

US Tech Funding – What’s Going On? by Morgan Bender, Scott Kupor and Benedict Evans (6/15)

Angel

A Founder’s Guide to Working with Angel Investors by Eliot Peper (1/12/16)

How to Select Your Angel Round Valuation (aka “the $4m rule”) by Jason Calacanis (3/23/16)

How Many Angels is the Right Amount for a Startup to Have? by Mark Suster (7/7/15)

Understanding Different Types of Angel Investors by David Beisel (8/13/14)

Angel Funding Advice by Mark Suster (8/14/09)

Raising Angel Money by Mark Suster (7/20/09)

Seed

Ask Techstars:  Going From Seed to Series A by Ari Newman (11/15/16)

How Do Seed Investors Benchmark Startups by Elizabeth Yin (10/16/16)

VC Signaling Risk in Seed Rounds by Fred Destin (7/9/16)

The Trend Back Towards Smaller Seed Rounds by Rob Go (5/2/16)

15 Things I Wish I Knew Before Raising a Seed Round by Ryan Sheffer (3/23/16)

A Guide to Seed Funding by Geoff Ralston (1/7/16)

The Silliness of Recapping Seed Rounds by Brad Feld (7/14/15)

“Seed is the New Series A” – Making Sense of the Confusion by Rob Go (6/30/15)

Dissecting A Great Post on the Seed Stage by Semil Shah (6/6/15)

The Seeds Have Changed:  An Epilogue by Manu Kumar (6/5/15)

The Atomization of Seed Venture Capital Rounds by David Beisel (6/15)

Flowchart:  How a Seed VC Makes Investment Decisions by Rob Go (4/28/15)

How do the Sample Series Seed Financing Documents Differ from Typical Series A Financing Documents? by Yokum Taku (3/14/10)

Startup Seed Raising Skilzz by Travis Kalanick (3-19-09)

How Do We Set the Valuation for a Seed Round? by Venture Hacks (4/17/08)

Convertible Notes and SAFEs

Convertible and SAFE Notes by Fred Wilson (3/12/17)

Convertible Notes – An Angel Investor’s View by Will Herman (4/27/16)

An Insider’s Guide to Convertible Debt vs Equity by Jason Lemkin (6/1/15)

One Simple Paragraph Every Entrepreneur Should Add to Their Convertible Notes by Mark Suster (5/30/15)

Should I Raise Debt or Equity? by Venture Hacks (5/1/07)

Series A and Beyond

The Challenges of Raising Your Series B by Tomasz Tunguz (5-14-17)

A Step-by-Step-Guide to Prepare Your Series A Fundraising by Mathias Ockenfels (12-12-16)

Series C and Beyond:  How Growth Investing is Different by Sonya Mann (12-8-16)

Why Liquidation Preferences Can Make Your Startup Worse by Pawel Chudzinski (11/23/16)

Welcome to the Series B Crunch by Hyde Park Venture Partners (4/19/16)

What Size Series A Round Can You Expect to Raise? by Amit Mukherjee (4/12/16)

Return of the Classic A Round by Jay Zhao (4/11/16)

Raising Capital as a Private Biotech:  Insights From Unum Therapeutics’ Series B Round by Christiana Stamoulis (4/6/16)

“So, You Want to Raise Your Series A?” by Semil Shah (7/19/15)

The Fundraising Wisdom that Helped Our Founders Raise $18B in Follow-On Capital by First Round Review (no date)

Strategic Investors

Is Strategic Money an Oxymoron? by Mark Suster (12/3/09)

Venture Debt

Eyes Wide Shut:  Venture Debt’s Hidden Cost of Amortization by Spinta Capital (1/18/17)

Smart Financing:  The Value of Venture Debt Explained by Alex Erhart, David Erhart and Vibhor Garg (2016)

The Slowdown in Equity Financing is Changing Venture Debt Too by Boris Wertz (5/31/16)

Ten Questions Every Founder Should Ask Before Raising Venture Debt by Brian Feinstein, Craig Nettenfield and Allen Miller (no date)

PitchDecks and Pitching

Startup Pitch Decks by RRE Ventures (3/27/17)

Panda’s Series B Slide Deck by Todd Olson (1/12/17)

All the Public Startup Pitch Decks In One Place by Andy Sparks (1/11/16)

The Dirty Dozen:  12 KPIs You Must Know Before Pitching Your Startup by Phil Nadel (12/16/16)

What I’ve Learned from Seeing 20k Company Pitches by Elizabeth Yin (10/9/16)

The 7 (Pitching) Habits of Highly Effective Founders by Edith Yeung (8/10/16)

Front Series A Deck by Mathilde Collin (8/2/16)

VC Confessions:  I Don’t Really Care About Your Product Demo by John Greathouse (7/7/16)

A Slide by Slide Guide to a Killer Investor Pitch by Elizabeth Kraus (7/28/15)

Why We Politely Ask for a Deck First by Christoph Janz (6/16/15)

Lessons From a Study of Perfect Decks:  VCs Spend an Average of 3 Minutes, 44 Seconds on Them by Kim-Mai Cutler (6/8/15)

Pitch Decks for Raising Seed Capital by David Beisel (2/3/15)

Do You Need a Powerpoint Deck for a VC Meeting by Mark Suster (9/12/09)

A Tale of Two Pitches by Mark Suster (9/9/09)

Mark Suster’s Series on VC Meetings

The First VC Meeting (Part 1 of Many) (6/6/09)

The First VC Meeting (Part 2 of Many) (6/7/09)

The First VC Meeting (Part 3 of Many) (6/8/09)

The First VC Meeting (Part 4 of Many) (6/8/09)

Doing a Demo (VC Pitch or Otherwise) – Part 5 in VC Series (6/10/09)

Sorry Guys – It’s the Size of the Wave, Not the Motion of the Ocean – Part 6 in VC Series (6/16/09)

Pitfalls in Market Sizing (Part 6 Continued) (6/17/09)

Pitching a VC – Dealing with Competition (6/23/09)

The 10/20/30 Rule of Powerpoint by Guy Kawasaki (12/30/05)

The Startup Diagnostic by Bob Moul (no date)

Pitching Hacks by Venture Hacks (no date)

Five Ways to Nail Your Pitch and Win Over Investors by Josh Hannah (no date)

Financial Models/Projections

Breaking Down the Importance of Early-Stage Startup Revenue Projections by Harry O’Sullivan (1/23/17)

SaaS Financial Model:  Simple Template for Early-Stage Startups by Gary Gaspar (10/12/16)

Want to Raise a Seed or Series A?  Here’s a Tip:  Don’t Have Impossible Financial Projections by Blake Koriath (9/28/16)

Startup Financial Modeling, Part 1:  What is a Financial Model? by Will Little (9/15/16)

Startup Financial Modeling, Part 2:  Start With Your Assumptions by Will Little (9/22/16)

Startup Financial Modeling, Part 3:  The Income Statement and Custom Detail Tabs by Will Little (9/29/16)

Startup Financial Modeling, Part 4:  The Balance Sheet, Cash Flow and Unit Economics by Will Little (10/6/16)

How to Build a Basic Financial Model by Venture App (6/23/16)

The 10 Most Popular Startup Revenue Models by Joe Garza (4/18/16)

Control, or Be Controlled:  Sales Forecasting Done Right by Mark Cranney (4/15/16)

Pivot

Pivot Survival Tactics from Kabam’s 3 Near-Death Triumphs by First Round Review (no date)

Hiring

The Talent Playbook:  How to Source, Hire and Retain World Class Talent by Maria Palma (10/5/16)

Leadership

What’s the Second Job of a Startup CEO? by Ali Rowshani (11/29/16)

A Startup Advantage:  Knowing Your Leadership Style by Joanna Lord (11/28/16)

4 Leadership Lessons for Founders After Running a Startup for 5 Years by Josh Payne (10/25/16)

Radical Candor – The Surprising Secret to Being a Good Boss by First Round Review (no date)

Sales/Business Development

Building a Sales Team in Europe:  Lessons Learned by Greg Davidson (12/15/16)

Why Pipeline Meetings Fail (And How to Fix Them) by Derek Draper (9/29/16)

6 Ways to Win at Sales Calls by Derek Draper (9/20/16)

The Greatest Sales Deck I’ve Ever Seen by Andy Raskin (9/15/16)

How to Pick a Sales Model for Your Software Startup by John Doherty (9/6/16)

How to Align Your Sales Team Around Metrics by Bob Marsh (9/2/16)

How to Build Sales Operations Within Your Startup by Matt Cameron (7/27/16)

Small Deals at Large Companies.  Hooray!!  And 100% at Risk by Jason Lemkin (7/6/16)

B2B SaaS:  Evolving From Founder Selling to a Sales Team by April Dunford (7/6/16)

What American Startups Should Know Before Opening a European Sales Office by Seth De Hart (6/1/16)

Datastax’s Matthew Hollander on What Business Development Should Look Like at a Startup by John McCullough (12/7/15)

The Most Surefire Way I’ve Found to Win Enterprise Deals by First Round Review (no date)

The Guide to Business Development and Partnership by James Cohane (no date)

Exits

Meaningful VC Exits by Samuel Gil (12/18/16)

Understanding Acquihires by Mark MacLeod (11/18/16)

Going Public vs Being Acquired by The Mission (11/12/16)

Inside VC Funds

The Micro VCs are Coming by Nick Frost (12/8/15)

The Pursuit of Unicorns is Ripping the Soul Out of Entrepreneurship by Michael Eisenberg (6/17/15)

Micro VCs and Unicorn Hunting by Greg Beaufait (5/27/15)

Betting on the Ponies:  Non-Unicorn Investing by Jerry Neumann (7/3/14)

Boards (Director/Advisory)

Snag the Best Advisors for Your Startup, from Best-Selling Authors to Fortune 500 CEOS by First Round Review (1/23/17)

The Ideal Financial Reporting Tempo for A VC-Backed Company by Brad Feld (1/19/17)

Reviewing Go-To-Market Results at Board Meetings by Tae Hea Nahm (1/9/17)

Planning for Next Year by Fred Wilson (12/15/16)

What Startup Board Meetings Need and Don’t Need by Eric Stromberg (12/6/16)

What It Takes to Build the Best Board of Directors for Your Startup by Alida Miranda-Wolff (10/25/16)

How to Communicate with Your Board in Tough Times by Roger Lee (9/29/16)

Tiny Startups Need Tiny Boards by Fred Destin (5/5/16)

Board-Up! by Maia Heymann (4/29/16)

How Advisory Boards Can be Your Secret Weapon by Eli Portnoy (4/12/16)

Reflections on Scientific Advisory Board Construction by Kevin Pojasek (5/19/15)

How to Approach Your First Board Meeting After Raising Seed Capital by Lee Hower (5/5/15)

Save Time on Board Deck Design & Layout by Lee Hower (7/29/14)

Founder Vesting

Lesson #124:  Vesting of Founder’s Stock by George Deeb (10/15/12)

First Round Funding Terms and Founder Vesting by Mark Suster (8/17/09)

Metrics/KPIs

10 Marketplace KPIs That Matter by Andrei Brasoveanu (10/31/16)

2016 Pacific Crest SaaS Survey – Part I by David Skok (10/17/16)

SaaS Financial Model:  Simple Template for Early-Stage Startups by Gary Gaspar (10/12/16)

Addressing Churn in SaaS/Subscription Startups by Pedro Almeida (9/20/16)

How to Run Your Company Based on Metrics: What, Why, How, Who and When by David Teten (12/15/15)

The Metrics Every Entrepreneur Should Know by Heart by Elizabeth Kraus (5/28/15)

Key Revenue Metrics for SaaS Companies by Christoph Janz (4/24/15)

SaaS Metrics Framework by Updata Partners (no date)

SaaS Metrics 2.0 – A Guide to Measuring and Improving What Matters by David Skok (no date)

Excuses and The Myth of Near-Zero Churn by Lincoln Murphy (no date)

Founder Post-Mortems (Lessons Learned)

How I Burned 10 Million Dollars So You Don’t Have to by Matt Munson (11/23/16)

166 Startup Failure Post-Mortems by CB Insights (11/10/16)

An Honest Introspection of a Tech Startup Founder after Shutting Down his Company by Othman Rahmouni (10/10/16)

MOZ Returns to SEO by Rand Fishkin (9/15/16)

How We Debriefed When Our Startup Folded by Hampus Jakobsson (7/4/16)

3 Lessons From a Failed Startup by Philip Lester (5/2/16)

The Founder of Travel Startup Bucket Explains What Went Wrong and What She Learned Along the Way by Julia Lam (3/11/16)

Five Things I Will Do Different for My Next Startup by Jeff Haynie (2/10/16)

On the Rebound from Epic Failure by Jason Goldberg (6/20/15)

Postmortem of a Venture-backed Startup by Brett Martin (9/27/13)

A Postmortem Analysis of Standout Jobs by Ben Yoskovitz (10/5/10)

Why Wesabe Lost to Mint by Marc Hedlund (10/1/10)

Why We Shut NewsTilt Down by Paul Biggar (9/5/10)

Startup Advice Generally

The Illusion of Product/Market Fit for SAAS Companies by Tom Gorski (11/16/16)

Which Pricing Model is Best for Your Startup? by Ash Rust (11/3/16)

How to De-Risk a Startup by Leo Polovets (10/27/16)

The 11 Bad Habits Killing Innovation in Your Company by Steve Blank (10/13/16)

A Guide to Co-Founder Fit by Christopher Steiner (8/3/16)

How to Maintain Your Startup Culture as You Scale by Sabrina McGrail (7/7/16)

Disruption is Not a Strategy by Jerry Neumann (5/27/16)

Thoughts on Building Weatherproof Companies by Lars Dalgaard (3/25/16)

HubSpot’s Playbook for Going From Startup to Scale-Up by Brian Halligan (2/25/16)

The Top 10 Important Finance Mistakes First Time Founders Make by Jason Lemkin (1/11/16)

The Killer of Early Stage Startups by Josh Burwick (12/23/15)

Do Fewer Things, Better by Dharmesh Shah (11/24/15)

10 Surefire Ways to Increase Your Chance of Startup Failure by Charlie O’Donnell (8/13/15)

Product/Market Fit:  What it Really Means, How to Measure it, and Where to Find it by Eric Jorgensen (6/1/15)

An Open Letter to Demo Day Startups by Leo Polovets (3/17/15)

Square Defangs Difficult Decisions with this System – Here’s How by First Round Review (no date)

Not All Good Products Make Good Businesses by Des Trainer (no date)

Cap Tables

Cap Table Template by S3 (no date)

How to Read and Understand a Cap Table by Hyde Park Angels (9/15/15)

How-to-Cap Tables, Liquidation Preferences and Exit Proceeds by Taylor Davidson (8/24/15)

City Guides

Philly Tech Guide

City Guide San Francisco/Silicon Valley

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Boston Tech

New York City Startup Guide