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Hi, I’m Brad Feld, a managing director at the Foundry Group who lives in Boulder, Colorado. I invest in software and Internet companies around the US, run marathons and read a lot.

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Teaching Entrepreneurial Finance Using Venture Deals

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Over the past six years, Jason Mendelson and I have heard from over 100 professors who have used our Term Sheet Series of blog posts in college (undergraduate and graduate) programs on on entrepreneurship. Since the publication of Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist we’ve started hearing from professors who have used our book in their course.

Jason and Brad Bernthal have been teaching a class at CU Boulder Law School called VC 360. They’ve recently open sourced the syllabus and we’ve put up a page on AsktheVC for anyone teaching a course using Venture Deals.

If you are teaching a course using Venture Deals and want to be included, simply email me.  If you are looking for ideas on a course about entrepreneurial finance, take a look. And, if you’ve got suggestions, please offer them (yes – we are working on a teaching guide.)

Using Veri to Understand Term Sheets

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For some time Jason and I have felt that VC’s have had an unfair advantage when it comes to understanding term sheets. So a few years back we wrote a whole series of blog posts (the Term Sheet series) which became the basis for the book Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist. Our goal with all of this was to help put entrepreneurs on a more even footing in negotiating a deal with a VC.

In some ways, I’ve always seen writing (both books and this blog) as a form of personalized teaching. It let’s me efficiently share whatever knowledge I have. But a few months back while I was visiting TechStars NYC, I had the chance to meet the guys over at Veri and pretty quickly realized they have a really interesting format for teaching things like how a term sheet works in an even more personalized way.

The result is Veri’s Understanding Term Sheets. The experience works like it would if we were learning it together one on one, namely that I ask you a series of question to figure out what you do and don’t know. When you know the material you get to quickly prove you’re a champ. When you don’t know something, I help bring you to the exact snippet of information you need to know. In other words, we figure out what you know, and help you learn only what you don’t. And hopefully have some fun in the process.

Let me know you think about Understanding Term Sheets, especially if there are ways to improve it.

Venture Deals Book Event In Boulder on Thursday 10/27

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It’s not quite halloween, but our friends at SVB are hosting an event for me and Jason Mendelson in Boulder on Thursday night to discuss our new book Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist. We’ll be handing out signed copies of our book along with answering any questions about venture capital, startups, entrepreneurship, beer, or our upcoming halloween costumes. There might be halloween candy and I’m certain there will be some tricks as well as other treats.

The event is free but registration is required. It’s being held at the St. Julien from 6pm – 8pm on Thursday 10/27. We hope to see you there.

Brews and Views – Deciphering What The $@%@$ Entrepreneurs Really Need to Know About Investors

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Our friends at Dorsey & Whitney are hosting me and Jason Mendelson this Thursday, October 20th from 4pm to 6pm to drink beer together and discuss “what really matters” in a venture deal. While the event requires registration, I’ve been told that copies of Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist will be given to whomever shows up (until they run out) and that the beer will be a collection of yummy local microbrews provided by Devil’s Canyon Brewery Company in Belmont.

Jason and I will sign any copy of our book that appears at the event. We’ll also drink a few beers with you. Plus, who could resist a title of an event sponsored by a law firm that says “What The $@%@$” in the title.

Thursday 10/20
4pm – 6pm
Dorsey & Whitney
305 Lytton Ave.
Palo Alto, CA 94301

Register here!

How Convertible Debt Works

Comments (89)

Last night I gave a talk hosted by SVB at their Palo Alto office. It was part of the “Never Ending All Old Is New Again Venture Deals Book Tour.” I had a ton of fun talking to and answering questions from about 75 entrepreneurs who – at the minimum – enjoyed eating the great food and wine that SVB provided on a luscious evening in Palo Alto. Oh – and I signed a bunch of copies of Venture Deals.

Several questions came up about Convertible Debt. We touch on it in Venture Deals but realized that we didn’t cover it in enough depth so Jason recently wrote a Convertible Debt series on Ask the VC. The series is now complete – here are the links to the posts in order.

If you feel like we missed anything, or got anything wrong, or were confusing in our explanation, please chime in on the comments on the post. If you want to see an actual convertible debt term sheet or the actual legal documents, take a look at the TechStars Open Sourced Model Seed Financing Documents.

As a bonus to the evening, I got some direct, constructive feedback from one of the attendees via email later that night. While the “thank you” and “good job” notes are nice, I only learn when someone criticizes me (hopefully constructively, but I can handle it in any form.) The feedback was:

May I make a constructive criticism regarding your talk tonight? Your answers to audience questions tend to be overly long and rambling…..you “overanswer,” to invent a word.  You start strong and respond right to the essence, but then your focus blurs and you keep taking verbal baby steps away from the thought stream. If you trim a minute or two off each answer, you can call on more people and hear more questions, which sends more people home happy. I think if you self-critique a video of yourself in a Q&A session, you’ll arrive at the same conclusion. 

It’s a good suggestion. I often try to provide additional context to the question, but it sounds like – at least for one person – I went off on a few space jams that weren’t additive. I love the phrase “overanswer” – it’s a lesson from TV interviews 101 (e.g. just answer a question – any question – quickly). Something to ponder as I continue the Never Ending All Old Is New Again Venture Deals Book Tour.

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