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Secrets of Sand Hill Road: Venture Capital and How to Get It

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  888 ratings  ·  99 reviews
A Wall Street Journal Bestseller!

What are venture capitalists saying about your startup behind closed doors? And what can you do to influence that conversation?

If Silicon Valley is the greatest wealth-generating machine in the world, Sand Hill Road is its humming engine. That's where you'll find the biggest names in venture capital, including famed VC firm Andreessen
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published June 4th 2019 by Portfolio (first published 2019)
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Ben Horowitz
May 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a fantastic book if you want to learn about Venture Capital!!
Wendy Liu
Sep 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Decent primer on an industry that needs to be abolished
Manik Patil
Sep 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Sand Hill Road is for Silicon Valley in the same way as Hollywood is for Actors, Wall Street is for investment bankers, Music Row is for country music artists. The name of the book is catchy. The book was a recommended read by a fellow angel investor.

Secrets of Sand Hill Road: Venture Capital and How to Get It hardly has any secrets . Scott Kupor's stated intent to write the book seems noble. He wanted to level the playing field for entrepreneur vis-a-vis their VC counterparts to avoid
Jun 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business, finance
Thoughtfully laid out and fairly comprehensive, though probably not necessary if one has already read Feld's "Venture Deals" which covers much the same subject matter.
Bartosz Majewski
Oct 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: business
Since I advise startups on strategy I need a ton of context to everything connected to it. Fundraising, finance, law, corporate governance are sometimes part of it. Since I'm no expert in those topics I often refer founders to lawyers, accountants, and VCs to help. But sometimes that's not possible and therefore I need to educate myself to serve my clients better.

That was my purpose to read this book. It's clearly a part of a "We are a media company monetizing through venture capital" approach
Sep 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good comprehensive overview of how venture capital works. Would recommend for any participant in early-stage universe.

One area that jumped out as not covered in the book was how VC firms function day to day on sourcing and deciding on deals. Would have been interested to hear Scott’s view of the typical interaction between entrepreneur and VC in fundraising process - e.g. number of meetings, number of people at the firm that you meet, deal approval process, role of junior / mid-level people, how
Vanessa Princessa
I read this book thanks to Blinkist.

I learned so much from this. It’s a process that start-ups go through that I didn’t even know existed! Very unique book for me.

The key message in these blinks:

With the advent of countless new tech start-ups in the early 2000s, the relationship between venture capitalists (VCs) and entrepreneurs changed significantly. Nowadays, one of the main characteristics VCs look for in companies is a founder who has unique insight into the problem his product is trying to
Racha Gh
Jul 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
The challenge with this book was that I read Venture Deals by Brad Feld just a week before reading this book, so the first half felt super repetitive - but page 170 onwards brought in some fresh perspective and examples that added great insight.
Lincoln Wachira
Feb 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Very American but still enjoyed it, another one of those books that will make sense when your starting to build or building your company. Similar book would be Elad Gil book (High Growth Handbook)
Sim Xing
Dec 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
A great handbook book to understand the incentives and logic behind various parties in the venture capital world.
John Stepper
Aug 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
It could easily be a textbook for a course on venture capital, and yet it’s told in a very human, accessible, balanced way that I enjoyed it and learned oh so much.
Jan 11, 2020 rated it liked it
It was good to get into the incentives of a "typical" well known VC and how the lens on they view the world. A book written by a VC will of course be biased.
Navin Valrani
Jan 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is a lot more “technical” than the title suggests but just a must-have in the library for anyone seeking to be a VC or raise money from one. One word of caution: it is very US-centric!
Nicholas Stocks
Jun 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
A great intro into the VC world focused on founders/startup operators as it's audience, taking it further than Venture Deals with regards to VC structuring and slightly easier read than The Business of Venture Capital (which has more of an aspiring VC audience in mind I believe - and i highly recommend!)

Not really for anyone who is familiar with VC funds and how they operate though.
Philip Joubert
Jun 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Secrets of Sand Hill Road is an introduction to the world of venture capital, written specifically for first-time founders. Overall the content is fairly similar to Venture Deals, but with better structure and presented in a simpler manner. You are not going to be learning any secrets - this is the 101 of venture capital.

If you're looking for a step-by-step book on raising VC funding for your startup then look elsewhere. The book does covers all the key players, legal agreements and incentives
Marina Gurevich
Well, it’s a useful book. Especially for those who are new to VCs. But.... although useful, I found the style somewhat arrogant. And yes, a16z, can afford it, but it isn’t classy. Also found the comments about the wife somewhat chauvinistic and diminishing to smart women out there. Obviously a smart *wife* may know as much about working for a startup vs paycheck/mortgage/kid as a smart man (“I passed the IQ test”). Especially when a startup is a VC with two very established men. Survival bias + ...more
Jun 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book belongs along with "Zero to One", "Venture Deals" and "The Hard Thing About Hard Things" among the must read syllabus of anyone interested in startup investing and creation.
Oct 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: business

Key take aways for me:
1. There are Three important things VC look at when deciding which company to fund
a. People: What are the backgrounds of the founders? What evidence does their pitch provide that they’ll be able to bring their idea to market effectively? And, in particular, what makes their story stand out from the potentially dozens of other founders who’ve had the same or a similar idea?
b. Product: This usually depends on how revolutionary a product is. New products from small
Jan 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Secrets of Sand Hill Road is a great glimpse into the world of venture capital from the VC's perspective. For any executive that is negotiating funds, this is a great book to read.

The main insights are to truly understand the driving motivations from the VC/LP perspective, so you as the entrepreneur can understand where you'll find alignment, and risks for conflict. I read the audiobook, which was great for getting an overview. However, if I get to the point of raising a round of VC funding, I
Josh Cozens
Aug 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very good at laying the foundations and principles underpinning venture capitalism, how they aid and catalyse startups, where they add non-monetary value and dispelling misconceptions. Scott tactfully argues for both sides of the coin and stresses to take VC funding seriously and consider all possible avenues to ensure your startup reaches its potential down the correct path.
For me it lacked visuals to bring it to life. Scott included some examples, to bring home some concepts which helped, but
Ryan Lackey
Sep 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great overview of how VCs work the way they do, including their own LP dynamics, and how the venture capital system works. Some great focus on the duties of boards in private companies illustrated with the famous and precedent setting court cases which defined decision making standard of the Business Judgment Rule vs Entire Fairness (from the Trados case), the Revlon standards in acquisitions, etc.

Overall I slightly prefer Venture Hacks, but both books are good and probably worth reading if you
Ross Knap
Jan 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I got this book as a New Year gift from one of the my VCs who’s investing in our company (I have 5 VC firms, 1 PE). He said that it will structure my knowledge about VC ecosystem and VC type of work in general and its really did.

Books will provide you from history of the beginning of industry till the whole process for delivering company to IPO and working with LPs.

If you want to work in VC industry or get money from them it will be the best option to increase uou knowledge about the processes
Evgenia Trofimova
Jul 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loved the book.
It is an amazing ABC with some YZ for the first-time founders as myself.
It explains many details about how VCs operate that normally you wouldn't care to learn about - but that is quite important to understand.
I've listened to an audiobook, and although I liked it, I highly recommend the printed version as it has some tables and calculations that are essential and easier to be analyzed on paper.
The last chapter was an overkill for the book, cause it seemed to me that the whole
Seth Davis
Sep 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I'm a big fan of this book. It does a great job of walking through considerations around the tech and financing economy. I suppose you have to be the right type of person with a deep interest in the subject area to find it valuable as it delves in a pretty detailed manner into typical VC termsheets. I liked that the author highlighted detailed example specifics and then went into the reasoning, background, and example stories about the provisions. He does a good job of covering what the VC's ...more
Brian Gimlett
Perhaps you have a shark tank worthy idea but not enough dough to launch it, or if have you visions of investing in the next Facebook or Uber and looking for that 2500x return, but don't know the first thing about a proper term sheet, then this book is for you. I will say the title is a touch misleading as I don't know that many secrets are revealed, but as an intro to the VC world, it does a good job. Kupor is employee number three at Andreessen Horowitz, so he is qualified to speak on the ...more
Zulfiqar Khan
Oct 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is extremely useful for anyone looking to better understand the nuts and bolts of the venture capital industry and the lifecycle of VC investing. This could include aspiring entrepreneurs, board members, founders as well as other employees. Kupor's writing style is free flowing and while there is quite a but of technical content, the lucid nature in which he discusses a topic he clearly knows a great deal about, also allows this book to serve as a good refresher for existing VC ...more
Felipe CZ
Aug 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Venture Capital firms in Silicon Valley have funded some of the biggest companies today, and the author has worked with many of them. One of the main features nowadays that VCs look for in companies is a founder with insight into the solution or problem his project wants to attend, and mastering willingness to adapt while still being committed to their original ideas. But once you get the funding, you have to maintain good relationship with the VC via term sheets, in order to eventually make it ...more
John Glasgow
Dec 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Informative and fun read on startups, venture capital, and the relationship between them and the wider ecosystem involved.

If you might have a start idea, are interested in business, or want to read a few success and failure stories I recommend it. It reads fast as chapters aren't too long. The author, Scott Kupor, employee #3 and managing partner, at the Venture capital company, A16Z, is a good writer. Here's a podcast with him discussing some aspects of the book and beyond:
Aman Jain
Jan 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Pretty good book to understand how VC and startups works and what the different incentives are.

As somebody who lives and works in the Silicon Valley I hear a lot of stories and news related to funding, IPOs, down-round, term sheet, etc.

It was good to understand all of these terms holistically by reading this book.

Although I think details like how the term sheet is structured could be better understood by using some more interactive resources online with richer examples than reading this book.
Jul 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-19
Reads more like a dummies guide for entrepreneurs than giving away any secrets. It is very well written and easy to read, though this means that some details are skipped over in places. I've heard Scott Kupor on podcasts and feel he probably has a book inside him that really does tell us some secrets. I still feel the Dummies guide is probably a better primer overall, but the governance bits in here are better.
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