Startup Boards: Getting the Most Out of Your Board of Directors

My company, LoginRadius, is in growth mode, we have more than doubled in the last twelve months and new investors were onboarded. As the CEO of the company, I’m always interested in managing the board better and also driving more value from our board. So first off, I wanted to read a good book on startup boards.

Startup Boards is written by Brad Feld and Mahendra Ramsinghani. I have known Mahendra Ramsinghani for a few years, and he was the second reason I picked the book.

The book is very well-structured and explains many complex concepts in simple language. At 179 pages long, it doesn’t require a big time commitment. I also liked how the authors added commentary from other successful individuals on various topics. The book is part of a series called Startup Revolution.

My thoughts on Startup Boards

This book wasn’t as valuable to me as it would be to CEOs of early-stage startups with less than 50 employees. For me, it was mainly a validation of how I have been managing the board.

A board works toward the common goal of making the company successful. However, there are multiple interests on the table: various types of investors have their own interests, founders have their interests, and CEOs and senior management have their own interests. Most of the time, these interests align well, but there are a good number of times when these interests conflict.

Brad and Mahindra come from a strong startup and investor background. However, they have never been in the shoes of a CEO or founder of a startup. So the book is quite skewed towards investors’ interests over Management’s and founders’ interests. They should have introduced a chapter on how a board can screw up a company — which often happens in the startup world since not all investors are experienced enough to navigate a company through dark days.

Who is Startup Boards for?

If you are a first-time CEO of an early-stage startup or if you are planning to start your own company, I highly recommend this book. Startup Boards could also be valuable for people in senior management who work closely with CEOs. Senior management needs to understand how the board functions so they can better align with their CEOs and boards. Overall, I’d say Startup Boards was worth the read.