The Venture Hacks Bible
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The Venture Hacks Bible

About the Book

The Venture Hacks Blog: Good advice for startups. 31,000 subscribers and growing.

The Venture Hacks Bible: 1000 pages, and growing. PDF. Constantly updated. $19.

Some Reviews of Venture Hacks...

The Venture Hacks Bible “My feedback is that as a founder in the trenches, no question all 908 pages will get read, referenced, covered in tears, and slept on 1000 times over. Now i dont have to bust the laptop at SFO. Fired up on just about everything you guys have going on.” – Josh Vickers, Founder, Task Squid Venture Hacks

“Excellent stuff!” Evan Williams, Founder of Blogger andTwitter “A fantastic blog… I heartily suggest entrepreneurs thinking about taking venture money read it.” James Hong, Founder of Hot or Not “Smart entrepreneurs continuing to add to the demystification of the term sheet.” Brad Feld, Managing Director at Foundry Group

What Do You Get?

When you buy Babak Nivi and Naval Ravikant'sThe Venture Hacks Bible, you get a PDF of the entire Venture Hacks blog. It's currently 1000 pages, and it's growing since we're constantly updating the PDF. You can read all those posts freely online right now; however, it's more pleasant to read them as a PDF.

New PDF versions will be produced every month, and previous purchasers will automatically be sent download links when the book is updated...

Read the Venture Hacks Blog

The Venture Hacks Blog is the source of the material in The Venture Hacks Bible. You can go there and read the entire archive online, for free.

About the Venture Hacks Authors

We’re Nivi (bio) and Naval (bio). We’ve founded companies like Epinions; invested $20M in companies like Twitter; helped start companies backed by Sequoia, Benchmark, Kleiner Perkins, and Atlas; and advised many others.

We’re students of life and Venture Hacks shares the best startup advice we’ve got.


You can reach us at


Too many people to thank; you know who you are.

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    • Startups

About the Authors

Babak Nivi
Babak Nivi

I'm Babak "Nivi" Nivi — currently a founder of Venture Hacks and an advisor to startups backed by Sequoia, Benchmark, Bessemer, etc. My full bio is at LinkedIn.

You can contact me at nivi at alum dot mit dot edu.

You can find recent info about me at:

Venture Hacks (my company and blog)Venture Hacks TwitterLinkedIn (my bio)Facebook

Naval Ravikant
Naval Ravikant

I am an entrepreneur and angel investor, a co-author of Venture Hacks, and a co-maintainer of AngelList. Previously I was a co-founder at Genoa Corp (acquired by Finisar), (IPO via, and (largest white-label classifieds marketplace). I’ve also advised, iPivot, and XFire, among others, and invested in many companies, including Twitter, FourSquare, DocVerse (sold to Google), Mixer Labs (sold to Twitter), Jambool (Social Gold), SnapLogic, PlanCast, Stack Overflow, Heyzap, and Disqus.

If you would like to contact me about investing in your company, please use AngelList to reach me.

Table of Contents

  1. April 2007
  2. Term Sheet Hacks: Get a Great Deal
  3. Create a Board the Reflects the Ownership of the Company
  4. Make a New Board Seat for a New CEO
  5. Reactions to Venture Hacks
  6. The option pool shuffle: Beat the game and raise your valuation
  7. Focus on your share price, not your valuation
  8. Get vested for time served
  9. Accelerate your vesting upon termination
  10. Accelerate your vesting upon a sale
  11. We have the best readers in the world
  12. Supersize your versting with micro-hacks
  13. Term sheet hacks: the cheat sheet
  14. May 2007
  15. Should you raise debt or equity?
  16. Venture Hacks: The Mug
  17. Comment of the week, cherry edition
  18. Keep your options open if you raise debt
  19. Hack: the benefits of debt Vs equity in a seed round
  20. Hack: Make your debt attactive to investors
  21. Comments, the threaded edition
  22. Hack: supersize your debt with these micro-hacks
  23. June 2007
  24. Great fundraising advice from Dharmesh Shah
  25. Launch: Venture Hacks Office Hours
  26. Office Hours, technical error edition
  27. Ask VH: What are super pro rata rights?
  28. Hack: Build your own cap table
  29. We’re hiring: one man developer army
  30. July 2007
  31. A few hacks from our personal blogs
  32. Thoughts on the equity equation
  33. August 2007
  34. Hack: Understand why investors want protective provisions
  35. Why investors don’t always do the right thing
  36. Thoughts on Adam Smith’s letter to graduation Y Combinator companies
  37. September 2007
  38. Hack: Create a market for your shares
  39. Pop Quiz: How is raising money like buying a car?
  40. October 2007
  41. Ask Venture Hacks: What is the biggest mistake entrepreneurs make?
  42. Ask VH: Is the VC industry doomed?
  43. Ask VH: Sell my company or raise capital?
  44. Ask VH: Raise money from VCs or angels?
  45. mampampahacks
  46. Ask Venture Hacks
  47. Ask VH: What’s dumb money?
  48. November 2007
  49. What should I send investors part 1: the elevator pitch
  50. What should I send investor part 2, deck
  51. What should I send investors part 3: business plans and traction
  52. Grockit’s founder on raising money
  53. Topix founder on Spice Girls Vs VC
  54. How much diligence shoudl we do before signing a term sheet
  55. December 2007
  56. Should I shop around?
  57. Should I pay my investor’s legal fees?
  58. Is it safe to send my deck to investors?
  59. Venture Hacks on Twitter
  60. Should I give my lawyers equity?
  61. January 2008
  62. The top 3 hacks of the year
  63. Terminating Cisco’s founders
  64. How well do investors recruit?
  65. Tom Perkins of KPCB interviewed
  66. How do I find a lead investor, part 1
  67. How do I find a lead investor, part 2
  68. How do I find a lead investor, part 3
  69. Why do investors want control?
  70. February 2008
  71. Everything you ever wanted to know about advisors, part 1
  72. T-shirts for VCs
  73. The latest quotes from our Twitter feed
  74. Everything you ever wanted to know about advisors, part 2
  75. The latest comments on Venture Hacks, founder edition
  76. March 2008
  77. Half assed startup: how do I start my company and keep my day job?
  78. Getting recommended
  79. John Doerr of Kleiner Perkins on building business
  80. Marc Andreesen on Charlie Munger on cognitive bias
  81. Reactions to recommended
  82. April 2008
  83. Missionaries, not mercenaries
  84. Venture Hacks tweets - Kleiner edition
  85. Former VC helps entrepreneurs raise money
  86. New investors on Venture Hacks
  87. How do we set the valuation for a seed round?
  88. VH Twitters: Ball punching edition
  89. May 2008
  90. Lijit’s CEO on raising money from angels
  91. High concept pitches for startups
  92. From incoherent to high concept pitch
  93. O’Reilly Startup Camp
  94. Free ideas. Just add execution.
  95. Hollywood Pitch: Feedburner for iPhones
  96. June 2008
  97. Control is a one way street
  98. Mike Cassidy: Speed as THE primary business strategy
  99. VH Twitters: “It’s never been done before” Edition
  100. Lawyers are referees, not coaches
  101. A Hollywood for Startups
  102. Don’t follow our advice
  103. Daddy, what’s a soft circle?
  104. Do you know any idea investors?
  105. Ideas need not apply
  106. The Rocket Ship investment model
  107. The Monk and the Riddle
  108. July 2008
  109. Books for Entrepreneurs: Bargaining for Advantage
  110. I have a job offer at a startup, am I getting a good deal? Part 1.
  111. I have a job offer at a startup, am I getting a good deal? Part 2.
  112. September 2008
  113. VH Twitters: Extreme Edition
  114. Our top 10 term sheet hacks
  115. How common is accelerated vesting on change in control?
  116. (Not so) Scary terms in offer letters.
  117. What do investors look for in a startup?
  118. What does an employee offer letter look like?
  119. Who makes the best introductions to investors?
  120. October 2008
  121. Elevator Pitches avec Bullets
  122. The Laws of Productivity
  123. Startup Lessons Learned
  124. Get Venture Hacks via email
  125. What should I do before signing a term sheet?
  126. VH Twitters: Self Loving Edition
  127. Sequoia’s advice is good advice anytime
  128. Financings are blowing up
  129. “They blew an opportunity to remain optimistic”
  130. Vinod Khosla: “Big opportunities are changing the structure of society.”
  131. “If you want to improve your chances”
  132. How do I lay people off?
  133. How Steve Jobs pitches a startup
  134. Lean startups find their moment
  135. How should I format my deck?
  136. A quick and dirty guide to starting up
  137. How to deal with Machiavellian investors
  138. VH Twitters: Persistence Edition
  139. Why startup pitches fail
  140. November 2008
  141. Coming Soon: Pitching Hacks, The Book
  142. Books for Entrepreneurs: Agile Software Development
  143. How to develop your customers like you develop your product
  144. “Agile methods and startup companies… go perfectly together.”
  145. Our Sponsor: Charles River Ventures
  146. VH Twitters: “Write a blog, not a business plan.”
  147. Updated: Our top 10 term sheet hacks
  148. Updated: A quick and dirty guide to starting up
  149. Pivotal Tracker: The iPod of project management software
  150. Five whys, Part 1: The startup immune system
  151. “It ain’t about right, it’s about money.”
  152. Five whys, Part 2: How to get started
  153. Five whys, Part 3: Legacy startups
  154. The OODA Loop: Playing chess with half the pieces
  155. Robert Heinlein: “Specialization is for insects”
  156. December 2008
  157. Books for Entrepreneurs: Extreme Programming Explained
  158. Sponsor: Charles River Ventures
  159. Raising money is a black swan
  160. How to moderate (and write) comments
  161. Our new archives
  162. Steve Jobs: “Apple is only its ideas”
  163. Extraordinary Organizations: $170M company with no titles except “plant” manager
  164. January 2009
  165. My visit to American Apparel
  166. We don’t pay you to work here
  167. The spontaneous optimism that drives startups
  168. The Human Equation: How to organize people for profit
  169. Lowering the water level: Do bad economies spur innovation?
  170. Pitching Hacks is almost here / Calling all testers
  171. (A bit of) Decision-making for startups
  172. Pitching Hacks: Beta test update
  173. Paul Buchheit: “Consider spending less time talking, and more time prototyping”
  174. February 2009
  175. How IMVU learned its way to $10M a year
  176. Launch: Pitching Hacks, The Book
  177. March 2009
  178. Take a course from the king of customer development
  179. Mike Maples: “My opinion is interesting, but irrelevant.”
  180. The Venture Hacks Podcast
  181. How to be an angel investor, Part 2
  182. Don’t launch? But the New York Times is on the phone!
  183. The king of customer development starts a blog (and tweets too)
  184. What is the minimum viable product?
  185. Customer Development, Classes 3 and 4
  186. Opening board meetings to the entire company
  187. Sell it before you build it
  188. April 2009
  189. It’s very easy to underprice your product
  190. How we encourage word of mouth for Pitching Hacks
  191. We teach entrepreneurship like every vertical market has the same set of rules
  192. The Startup MBA
  193. Pitching Hacks at Stanford
  194. customerdevelopmentclass5imvu
  195. Customer Development, Class 5: IMVU
  196. How to close a term sheet quickly
  197. May 2009
  198. Hey, have you heard of Twitter?
  199. September 2009
  200. Steve Jobs does customer development
  201. Steve Jobs does customer development: No new features
  202. How do I refine my product’s positioning?
  203. Twitter updates
  204. Term sheet tune-up
  205. New York Meetup
  206. Customer Development Patterns
  207. October 2009
  208. New York Meetup was awesome
  209. Get drunk with VCs and help charity
  210. Take our Twitter Survey
  211. Put your tweets on your blog
  212. “Your next feature won’t save you”
  213. “Real wealth creation will take founding, seniority, or staggeringly large exits.”
  214. 10 examples of minimum viable products
  215. The problem with VC motivation
  216. Notes from Startup School 2009
  217. Our first online workshop: How to pitch investors
  218. November 2009
  219. Customer development by the book
  220. Lean startups aren’t Cheap Startups
  221. Best of the startup blogs
  222. Startup Boy is back
  223. The long tail of VC blogs
  224. The long tail of VC twitterers
  225. How to pick a co-founder
  226. Extrapolating computing
  227. The sultans of startup marketing
  228. The ignorant VC
  229. Weekend reading
  230. 3 customer development case studies
  231. Get the best of the startup blogs
  232. Venture Hacks Bookstore
  233. How to share secrets in a negotiation
  234. Thanking our supporters
  235. Interview: How to pick a co-founder
  236. Morale, distribution, profit, and games
  237. December 2009
  238. Just Say No: VC terms that can really hurt
  239. Home improvement
  240. Sometimes the feature is the product
  241. Startup News, the first 2 weeks
  242. 10 skills I look for before writing a check
  243. Just Say No: VC terms that can really hurt (Part 2)
  244. Pitching Hacks, in paperback
  245. How to bring a product to market / A very rare interview with Sean Ellis
  246. How to measure product/market fit with
  247. Take guidance from VCs, not orders
  248. “Angel investors are becoming the dominant force in consumer internet venture capital”
  249. Marketing science Q&A with Sean Ellis
  250. “NDAs up the wazoo”
  251. Get our interviews on the Venture Hacks Podcast
  252. When the cost of customer acquisition exceeds your ability to monetize them
  253. The Arrogant VC: Why VCs are disliked by entrepreneurs
  254. Our top 10 posts of 2009 — dominated by customer development
  255. Chris Dixon: How much seed money should I raise?
  256. The Billy Mays method of picking startups
  257. January 2010
  258. The Arrogant VC: Why VCs are disliked by entrepreneurs, Part 2
  259. How to re-negotiate with your customers — and not lose a single one
  260. Emotions at work
  261. 10 skills I look for before writing a check, Part 2: Perspiration and Appetite for Risk
  262. 5 New Year’s resolutions for closing deals in 2010
  263. No ocean boiling please
  264. How to bring a product to market, Part 2 — after product/market fit
  265. Top 10 reasons why entrepreneurs hate lawyers
  266. Bram Cohen: “Lawyers can’t tell you you can’t do something”
  267. I’m speaking at The Future of Funding
  268. A list of social startup lawyers
  269. Get Venture Hacks on Facebook
  270. How to raise money without lying to investors
  271. Launch: Sponsor Posts — ads that rule
  272. Comments of the week: Legal fees, financial projections, and fit
  273. 10 skills I look for before writing a check, Part 3: Detail Orientation, Competitiveness, Decisiveness
  274. When to fire your co-founders
  275. Most inspiring speech ever
  276. February 2010
  277. When you’re raising money, the competition isn’t the competition
  278. Launch: AngelList, a curated list of angel investors
  279. Launch: StartupList — a new way to reach angels
  280. StartupList: Day 1 — Thank You
  281. In a board room, somewhere in Silicon Valley…
  282. A brief history of your investors (and their investors)
  283. “He has no clue whether it will be another Google, yet he has to make promises that only hucksters can make.”
  284. My experiments in lean pricing
  285. How to optimize web apps with KISSmetrics
  286. How to not over-optimize your Series A term sheet
  287. StartupList: The first startup gets funded
  288. March 2010
  289. Startup Digest: “The best startup events in 27 cities”
  290. More diligence and less capital coming for startups (and their investors)
  291. It takes more than one intro to get a meeting
  292. Give tweet a chance
  293. I’m speaking at SXSW + Holding a SXSW MEETUP
  294. The only reason investors say ‘no’
  295. Solvate is simple outsourcing for startups
  296. How to schedule meetings with investors
  297. Our most popular links
  298. What happens at SXSW gets published right here
  299. Which angels have taken meetings from AngelList?
  300. What’s the vision?
  301. Where’s the demo?
  302. April 2010
  303. Postling gets funded with AngelList
  304. “Being open early worked well for us”
  305. Top heavy startups
  306. Can I send my pitch to just some of the angels on AngelList?
  307. Interview: How to close an angel round
  308. “AngelList is the real deal”
  309. Facebook acquires AngelList startup
  310. Who has time for meetings?
  311. Presentation Hacks
  312. May 2010
  313. How much traction do I need?
  314. Startup Lessons Learned: I wish this conference was around five years ago
  315. Our Inc. interview about angels
  316. One way to start a startup
  317. Two great talks from SLLConf
  318. Where to find the best startup advice
  319. The Wilson bump
  320. Hello
  321. VCs in seed clothing: Chris Dixon, Mark Suster, and Naval Ravikant interviewed
  322. NYC startup raises money with AngelList
  323. If this is your first time raising money…
  324. Naval on GigaOm TV
  325. Steve Ballmer from the Microsoft Corporation with an iPad review
  326. This week in Twitter
  327. Venture Hacks TV
  328. Why startups should train their people
  329. Angel Boot Camp coming to Cambridge
  330. John Doerr: The salesman for nerds
  331. Resiliency
  332. This Week in Venture Capital
  333. This fortnight in Twitter
  334. June 2010
  335. Ads for startups
  336. The Startup Game
  337. Local startup BlockChalk raises national money with AngelList
  338. The WSJ reports on AngelList
  339. A tale of 3 financings
  340. July 2010
  341. Where we office
  342. A conflict of interests
  343. If you’ve run out of ideas, buy gold
  344. Fred Wilson: “Angels love to share deals with each other”
  345. Thumbtack raises money with AngelList
  346. LearnBoost raises money with AngelList
  347. How to raise money with no lead
  348. August 2010
  349. Tracking testimonials — the lazy way
  350. 7 angel investing tips in 7 minutes
  351. Quora Marketing
  352. Xconomy covers AngelList
  353. How we’re recruiting a product designer for AngelList
  354. AngelList Scouts
  355. September 2010
  356. How Udemy got oversubscribed
  357. Blogging on Quora
  358. October 2010
  359. If only we could raise money
  360. Welcoming the Kauffman Foundation
  361. Vinod Khosla: “I was much more of a glorified recruiter.”
  362. The rise of the angels
  363. What you can learn from The Social Network
  364. The Venture Hacks Newsletter is back
  365. Which startups have been funded via AngelList?
  366. Free the Firehose
  367. Primo essay on team building
  368. The Venture Hacks Bible
  369. “Intros from AngelList were responsible for 54.5% of the $1M we raised”
  370. AngelList in real time
  371. How much money should I raise?
  372. November 2010
  373. Always assume competition
  374. Before you raise money
  375. December 2010
  376. Control which investors see your startup
  377. January 2011
  378. The Secret History of Venture Hacks
  379. Why would a seasoned entrepreneur use AngelList?
  380. Benefits, not features
  381. Sweat the details and corner cases
  382. Raise a Series A on AngelList
  383. How does AngelList work?
  384. Tour: Markets on AngelList
  385. AngelList Markets Tour, Part 2: The Details
  386. February 2011
  387. VCs are generalists, and other lies
  388. VCs (slightly) more active than angels on AngelList
  389. Venture Hacks sucks now, all you talk about is AngelList
  390. 4 types of scale
  391. Are founders really 1000x more valuable than employees?
  392. Fred Wilson’s 5 rules for market fit
  393. Taulia raises Series A from top performing VC fund of all time — via AngelList
  394. March 2011
  395. AngelList Goes Global
  396. Mark Suster interviews AngelList survivor TODAY (Wednesday 5pm Pacific)
  397. Thoughts on Investing
  398. The first 1000x in valuation is the easiest
  399. Launch: The AngelList Blog
  400. So who is actually investing on AngelList?
  401. May 2011
  402. Are you selling your startup’s shares door-to-door?
  403. AngelList startup wins TechCrunch Disrupt
  404. June 2011
  405. “A” players write the playbook
  406. Reading your legal docs
  407. Getting Leverage in Hostage Negotiations
  408. Anatomy of an (un)fundable startup
  409. July 2011
  410. But I don’t want to follow you on Twitter
  411. Before product-market fit, find passion-market fit
  412. 1.5 Years Of AngelList: 8000 Intros, 400 Investments And That’s Just The Data We Can Tell You About
  413. August 2011
  414. The problem with the Internet startup craze
  415. December 2011
  416. You can be so bad at so many things

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