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Startup Boards

Cover of Startup Boards

Startup Boards

Getting the Most Out of Your Board of Directors
by Brad Feld
Borrow Borrow Borrow

An essential guide to understanding the dynamics of a startup's board of directors

Lets face it, as founders and entrepreneurs, you have a lot on your plate—getting to your minimum viable product, developing customer interaction, hiring team members, and managing the accounts/books. Sooner or later, you have a board of directors, three to five (or even seven) Type A personalities who seek your attention and at times will tell you what to do. While you might be hesitant to form a board, establishing an objective outside group is essential for startups, especially to keep you on track, call you out when you flail, and in some cases, save you from yourself.

In Startup Boards, Brad Feld—a Boulder, Colorado-based entrepreneur turned-venture capitalist—shares his experience in this area by talking about the importance of having the right board members on your team and how to manage them well. Along the way, he shares valuable insights on various aspects of the board, including how they can support you, help you understand your startup's milestones and get to them faster, and hold you accountable.

  • Details the process of choosing board members, including interviewing many people, checking references, and remembering that there should be no fear in rejecting a wrong fit
  • Explores the importance of running great meetings, mixing social time with business time, and much more
  • Recommends being a board member yourself at some other organization so you see the other side of the equation

    Engaging and informative, Startup Boards is a practical guide to one of the most important pieces of the startup puzzle.

  • An essential guide to understanding the dynamics of a startup's board of directors

    Lets face it, as founders and entrepreneurs, you have a lot on your plate—getting to your minimum viable product, developing customer interaction, hiring team members, and managing the accounts/books. Sooner or later, you have a board of directors, three to five (or even seven) Type A personalities who seek your attention and at times will tell you what to do. While you might be hesitant to form a board, establishing an objective outside group is essential for startups, especially to keep you on track, call you out when you flail, and in some cases, save you from yourself.

    In Startup Boards, Brad Feld—a Boulder, Colorado-based entrepreneur turned-venture capitalist—shares his experience in this area by talking about the importance of having the right board members on your team and how to manage them well. Along the way, he shares valuable insights on various aspects of the board, including how they can support you, help you understand your startup's milestones and get to them faster, and hold you accountable.

  • Details the process of choosing board members, including interviewing many people, checking references, and remembering that there should be no fear in rejecting a wrong fit
  • Explores the importance of running great meetings, mixing social time with business time, and much more
  • Recommends being a board member yourself at some other organization so you see the other side of the equation

    Engaging and informative, Startup Boards is a practical guide to one of the most important pieces of the startup puzzle.

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    About the Author-
    • Brad Feld has been an early-stage investor and entrepreneur for over twenty years. Prior to cofounding Foundry Group—a Boulder, Colorado–based early-stage venture capital fund that invests in information technology companies all over the United States—he cofounded Mobius Venture Capital and, prior to that, founded Intensity Ventures. Feld is also a cofounder of Techstars and has been active with several nonprofit organizations. He is a nationally recognized speaker on the topics of venture capital investing and entrepreneurship.

      Mahendra Ramsinghani has over fifteen years of investment and entrepreneurial experience and has led investments in over fifty seed stage companies. He helped draft the underlying legislation for a fund-of-funds for the state of Michigan. For his contributions, Ramsinghani's immigration to the United States was approved under "national interest." He is the author of The Business of Venture Capital (Wiley). His articles and blogs have been published in Forbes, MIT Technology Review, Thomson Reuters, and the Huffington Post. His educational background includes a BE in electronics and MBA in finance and marketing from the University of Pune, India.

    Table of Contents-
    • FOREWORD ix

      ACKNOWLEDGMENTS xiii

      PART ONE: OVERVIEW 1

      CHAPTER ONE
      Introduction 3

      CHAPTER TWO
      What Is a Board? 11

      PART TWO: BUILDING YOUR BOARD 23

      CHAPTER THREE
      Creating Your Board 25

      CHAPTER FOUR
      Recruiting Board Members 49

      CHAPTER FIVE
      The Formal Structure of the Board 63

      CHAPTER SIX
      Aligning Your Board 71

      CHAPTER SEVEN
      Is an Advisory Board Useful? 77

      PART THREE: THE BUSINESS OF THE BOARD MEETING 85

      CHAPTER EIGHT
      The Actual Board Meeting 87

      CHAPTER NINE
      Motions and Votes 101

      CHAPTER TEN
      Legal Challenges 111

      PART FOUR: COMMUNICATIONS 115

      CHAPTER ELEVEN
      Managing Ongoing Expectations 117

      CHAPTER TWELVE
      Trying New Things 131

      CHAPTER THIRTEEN
      Communication Confl icts 135

      CHAPTER FOURTEEN
      CEO Transitions 143

      PART FIVE: TRANSACTIONS 151

      CHAPTER FIFTEEN
      Financings 153

      CHAPTER SIXTEEN
      Selling a Company 157

      CHAPTER SEVENTEEN
      Going Public 167

      CHAPTER EIGHTEEN
      Going Out of Business 173

      CHAPTER NINTEEN
      Conclusion 179

      APPENDIX

      Checklist 1: Preparing Your Board Package 183

      Checklist 2: Conducting Your Board's Annual Assessment 185

      Checklist 3: Question for Your Legal Counsel 187

      Checklist 4: Should You Get Directors and Offi cers Insurance? 189

      Checklist 5: Stock Option Grants and 409A Valuation 191

      NOTES 195

      INTERVIEWS 199

      BIBLIOGRAPHY 201

      ABOUT THE AUTHORS 203

      INDEX 205

      Excerpt from Startup CEO 211

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