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Overview Page

Preparing for your Journey
Figuring out where you are, where you're going and how to get there.

The Long Haul from

Roadmap and travel guide to the each of the four stages of growth.

The Short Sprint from
Zero-to-Asset Sale

Building a company to sell for a profit.

The Slippery Slope to Shutdown
Understanding how a cash crisis develops, how to raise funds, cut costs and avoid bankruptcy.

Valuing the Company
Figuring out what the company is worth.

Negotiating the Deal
Getting what you want through negotiation.

The Fundraising Process
How to raise funds from investors.

Selling the Company
The M&A Process: step-by-step guide to selling your company.

Every Journey Tells a Story
The various routes your journey could take.

Resource Guide
Directories of investors, advisors, agencies & other resources.

Introduction watch movie | read endorsements

Warning & Disclaimer

This book may change the way you think about business. By reading these pages, you may well become a social outcast – don’t be surprised when your ideas and proposals encounter wide eyes and gaping mouths in the boardroom. I offer no guarantees or warranties -- read on at your own risk!

"So, you have a new technology, invention or idea that’s going to change the world. You’re going to start a company, hire a team, bring in investors, dominate your market and everyone involved will become rich beyond their wildest dreams. Realists may accuse you of being a deluded fool, however the Nasdaq and other stock markets list plenty of companies that started out with no more than a couple of hippies, a dream, a garage and a credit card. Unfortunately, for every company that succeeds in reaching the Nasdaq there are many more that fail somewhere en-route.

When describing the story of Apple Computer, Steve Jobs used to use the immortal lines ‘the journey is the reward’. I’m sure the journey was rewarding enough for Mr. Jobs but he and his merry band of pirates also became gazillionaires when their stock options hit pay dirt and Apple became the first technology IPO of the modern era. The journey that started out with a couple of barefooted hippies working from a garage and went on to form a profitable corporation that put PC’s on desktops all over the world has inspired a whole new generation of hippies to set out on journeys of their own.

Taking your company from Zero-to-IPO is one of the most challenging, exciting and rewarding journeys you’re ever likely to undertake. After a few minutes flicking through the pages of this book, shrewd readers will realize that IPO is not the holy grail it’s made out to be, avoid getting involved in any form of technology startup, take a sensible job and live happily ever after. If you’re one of the poor souls stricken with the entrepreneurial disease, you relish working long hours and you’re attracted to almost unimaginable levels of stress and risk, this book could help you avoid taking your company off in the wrong direction. When you finish this book, you should be able to plot your own route from Zero-to-IPO with a comprehensive travel plan detailing precisely how to get from here to there. You’ll be armed and prepared to deal with most of the obstacles that you’re likely to encounter on the way and you’ll have a list of virtually all the resources you’re going to need.

The route for the journey from Zero-to-IPO for high-tech entrepreneurs is surprisingly uncharted today, however there is a well trodden path from Zero-to-IPO that an elite group of venture investors have been guiding their companies along for years. It took me twenty years as a high technology entrepreneur to discover the route – I’ve spent the last few years plotting it out so that you and other travelers don’t have to spend twenty years figuring this out for yourselves.

Entrepreneurs have traditionally looked to venture investors to guide them through the early part of the journey and then introduce them to investment banks to guide the company through the later IPO-preparation stage. This model works well when the lead venture investor knows the route and has the time to provide continuous guidance to management, however venture investors don’t always make good guides and they’ve allowed many a good company to veer off track.

The focus of this book is the journey from Zero-to-IPO, however we also look at the best way of reaching other destinations such as selling the company and how to survive some of the difficult terrain that we’re likely to encounter en-route.

Dreams of the land of milk and honey attract many adventurers. If you can make it through the IPO and the subsequent restrictions on selling your stock, there’s a good chance that you can cash out and live the rest of your life in luxurious ignorance of the financial worries of the rest of the world. This is one of the reasons that it’s unusual to find people making the whole Zero-to-IPO journey for a second or third time around. Some successful travelers move on to drive their public corporations and endeavor to take over the world but many prefer to spend time on their yachts, the golf course or hanging out in one of their beachfront homes. The point is that once someone has successfully completed the journey from Zero-to-IPO, they rarely come back to Zero to start all over again, unless it’s as an outside investor. So, many entrepreneurs that start the journey are doing it for the first time -- they’re heading out across new terrain and they need as much help and guidance as they can get.

Of course, you’ll find all the resources you need to complete the journey in Silicon Valley, however other high-technology hubs have sprung up in recent years with their own venture capital and professional service organizations. If you’re living with the hillbillies you’re going to have a real struggle attracting investors and bringing together the resources that you’re going to need – it could be time to relocate! If you’re near one of the top technology schools in the country and your office (or garage) is within walking distance of a good sushi bar, Indian restaurant and Starbucks coffee shop, then you’re probably in a high-tech hub and it may not be necessary to take a one way ticket to San Jose, California..."

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