Resources for those interested in venture capital and private equity
This list of resources that was originally composed for my students in Chicago Booth’s Private Equity and Venture Capital lab as an augmentation to the class. I’ve assembled it since 2001 when I started in venture and continue to add when I find interesting resources in my work at Origin Ventures. It was designed to assist less experienced students learn more about the industry and for advanced students the ability to go deeper on topics of interest. Over the years, it’s grown to the point I decided to make it public to help others interested in the business. I hope you find it useful.
Email Newsletters and Blogs:
PE and VC:
- Dealbook (NY Times)
- Axios Pro Rata
- Termsheet (Fortune)
- Daily Pitch (Pitchbook): Choose from daily newsletters focused on PE or VC or both
- Buyouts (Reuters)
- PE Hub (occassionally mixes in VC news)
- Private Equity News (Dow Jones)
- The Deal: M&A in general, includes private equity
- Private Equity International
- A VC: Blog of Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures in NYC.
- StrictlyVC: Regular newsletter covering VC industry and deals.
- Kauffman Fellows Journal: Content from Kauffman Fellows. Has a tilt toward LP content packaged for VCs.
- Feld’s Thoughts: Brad Feld of Foundry Group and Techstars. One of the authors of Venture Deals, so if you like that style, you’ll like this blog.
- Venture Evolved: Professor Heltzer’s blog on touching on getting a job in VC and the VC business and startups from the perspective of a former software engineer. And guides to hiking national parks.
- Accelerated: Newsletter produced by twins who are recent Stanford grads and invest at CRV.
- Oper8r: micro-VC and early VC fund Substack from LPs’ perspective.
- Mattermark: Good digest of posts around the VC/entrepreneurial ecosystem.
- Techcrunch: Covers technology companies, including startups and venture firms.
- Crunchbase Daily: Daily roundup of VC deals.
- Both sides of the table: Blog by LA-based entrepreneur turned VC, Mark Suster (Booth grad).
- Startup Digest. Published by the Kauffman Foundation. Good event calendars in major entrepreneurial hubs. Regular newsletter on startups based on geography.
- Ensemble VC: This newsletter, written by one of the former authors of the Kauffman Startup Digest, unpacks interesting data and stories on VC and tech markets
- Venturebeat: Similar to Techcrunch.
- Venture Capital Journal (Thompson Reuters).
- Pando Daily. Paid site. Self-proclaimed “the site of record for Silicon Valley”.
I put together these curated Twitter lists so you can get up to the minute information on the industry. They are by no means comprehensive but is a great place to start. Consider using Tweetdeck to separate these from your normal feed.
- PE Resources (various news resources covering PE)
- PE Firms (official twitter feeds for esteemed PE firms)
- VC Resources (various news resources covering VC and emerging technology)
- VC People (personal twitter accounts for esteemed VC’s)
- VC Firms (official twitter feeds for esteemed VC firms)
- Entrepreneurs (personal twitter accounts of esteemed entrepreneurs)
Many of these lists include folks on RepIQ’s list, but not all.
- Startup: Podcast about an entrepreneur starting a podcast company (so meta). Totally behind the scenes and unfiltered. It’s fabulous and a must for entrepreneurs and those interested in VC.
- Masters of Scale: Podcast by Reid Hoffman, Linkedin Co-founder and partner at Greylock. Interviews Silicon Valley founders/execs.
- How I Built This: Podcast that features founders walking through the history of their high-profile companies.
- 20 Minute VC: Host Harry Stebbings interviews prominent VCs and founders.
- Acquired: Features prominent startup founders/CEOs and investors.
- The Pitch: A realistic Shark Tank format with real companies and real VCs.
- This Week in Startups: Hosted by Jason Calacanis, Founder and CEO of Mahalo and former EIR at Sequoia. Longer format.
- A16z:Published by Andreessen Horowitz. Covers wide range of topics mostly focused on various industry trends
- Private Equity Funcast: one of the rare podcasts focused on later stage investing, it’s hosted by the PE firm Parker Gale.
- Origins: A rare podcast from the LPs’ perspective.
- Running Through Walls: Venrock’s podcast.
- Starting Greatness: From Floodgate’s Mike Maples, Jr.
- Stratechery: Longer form blog content on various tech companies/topics.
- The Full Ratchet: Devoted to angel and VC investing, with interviews with prominent VCs, tech companies on how deals got put together, why companies started, etc.
- How to Start a Startup: Series of lectures (videos) from CS 183b at Stanford. Includes luminaries like Peter Thiel, Sam Altman, Ben Horowitz and others. Useful advice for entrepreneurs and VCs who want to better understand how to build a company.
- Recode Decode: Podcast hosted by Kara Swisher, a fixture in tech journalism for the last several decades. Not 100% tech, includes politics, Hollywood and other topics.
- 52 Founders: Interviews with founders with host Crissy Costa (former Booth student)
- Invest Like the Best: Covers a very broad range of investors and CEOs, including VC and PE
Real Time Audio Chat
- Clubhouse: Clubhouse is a mobile app that allows candid conversations to be conducted real time. You can drop in and listen, ask questions, or host talks yourself. Clubhouse is teeming with VCs and founders who host interesting (and sometimes not interesting) discussions. With all the activity, it’s like attending the world’s largest conference. You’ll need an invite to join and it’s only available for iOS phones (as of 3/2021).
Trade Associations/Industry Data
These two trade associations are great sources of industry news, statistics and listing of member firms. Both also provide industry background publications, although from a biased point of view.
- American Investment Council. Industry association for PE.
- National Venture Capital Association. Industry association for VC. Publishes VERY helpful yearbook each year.
- Prequin. Company focused on data and intelligence for the alternatives assets industry. Tends to focus on PE and not VC. Frequently publishes useful free data/reports as marketing pieces.
- Moneytree Survey. Reports on VC investing and fundraising each quarter.
- Pitchbook. Company also focused on PE data. Free reports in the Library (most done with McGladrey) can be useful.
- Hamilton Lane. Consulting firm advising large investors regarding investment in alternatives.
Get Started on Your Own as an Angel
- Angelist is the most prolific platform for angel investments. It’s pushed the envelope on democratizing angel investing and bringing down the cost and complexity of building a fund/track record.
- Republic is another angel investing platform that generally has lower minimum investments.
- Ourcrowd is yet another that also has its own committed funds and a network of scouts around the world that screen investments.
- 83 data-driven VC firms: As startup data becomes cheaper and democratized, we’ve seen a rise in data-driven VCs.
Due Diligence Resources:
- Crunchbase: crowdsourced database of venture backed companies, venture financings and VC firms.
- Wayback Machine: shows websites as of a given time in the past. Great to see how management team, messaging, customers, and a lot more has changed over time.
- Patent Search: USPTO Patent search.
- HireRight: Inexpensive, pay as you go, background checks.
Internet Traffic/Mobile App Download Tools:
- Quantcast: Best tool available for estimating traffic to a specific site. Note that the site uses a statistical extrapolation and often is off significantly, but can give you a good sense.
- Alexa: Similar to Quantcast but less accurate.
- Google Adwords Volume Estimator: This tool will estimate how many monthly searches are performed on keywords you specify. Dividing by Google 60% marketshare will estimate total monthly searches on the Internet. Helpful for judging marketshare.
- AppAnnie: mobile app analytics
- SensorTower: Data for mobile app ecosystem
- AppFollow: Data on mobile app stores
Paid Databases/Reports (many available through Booth):
- Capital IQ. Great for information about funds and their portfolios.
- Prequin. Includes information about LPs.
- Pitchbook. Good for information about portfolio companies and funds’ portfolios. One of the few that has valuation data/estimates.
- Mattermark. Tailored to venture firms
- Datafox. Newer company focused on intelligence and data on businesses, primarily for prospecting
- D&B Hoovers. Good to get competitors and industry financial data.
- Investment bank research. Usually requires that you get to know analysts and show some credibility in the industry. Great for comps and competitive data.
Background Reading and Videos:
- Private Equity Primer. Very good overview of industry told from an institutional LP perspective (via State of Nevada)
- Venture Capital Glossary. Good reference on industry lingo (via CB Insights)
- Capital Structure of an LBO. Good high-level overview of the various tranches/flavors of debt and their role in an LBO.
- Raising venture capital for a startup. Excellent overview of the mechanics of a venture deal for those with little or no experience (video via Khan Academy).
- Getting a seed round from a VC. Excellent overview of the mechanics of a seed deal for those with little or no experience (video via Khan Academy)
- Board of Directors: Roles and Responsibilities. Thoughtful post from Fred Wilson that is helpful for those who have not held a board seat.
- VC Firm Genealogy. An interactive history of how venture funds are related, starting from the 1940s
- Startup resources compendium. An extensive list of useful resources geared for entrepreneurs curated by former Belly founder and Techstars Chicago leader, Logan LaHive.
How to Raise Venture Capital:
- How to Raise Money. Incredibly detailed and sage advice for entrepreneurs on how to raise venture money by super angel Paul Graham. However it is also extremely useful for aspiring VCs as it points out what makes a VC attractive or unattractive. It exposes some venture capitalists’ strategies on negotiation and getting into deals. Long post but worth the time to read it.
How to Raise a Fund:
- Angelist announcement of rolling funds and a competing opinion by LP Winter Mead.
- How to Raise a Venture Capital Fund: The Essential Guide on Fundraising and Understanding Limited Partners: There are few resources to guide GPs raising a VC fund. Thankfully, Winter Mead has written a book that is a step-by-step guide.
- Super interesting survey of prevalent terms found in SPVs.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion:
- AllRaise: Aims to increase the amount of startup funding going to women. Includes a large number of female VCs.
- BLCK VC: Aims to increase the number of Black VC investors.
- Chicago:Blend: Aims to increase diversity in the Chicago VC and tech ecosystem. It also has a list of great resources related to DEI in this sweet Airtable.
- First Close Partners: Fund of funds LP backing underrepresented VC fund managers.
- HBCU.vc: An effort from historically Black colleges and universities to provide fellowships and mentorship to increase the number of Black venture capital investors.
- The Board List: List of diverse talent prepared to serve on boards of directors.
- Techrise: A Chicago-based fund that invests in the earliest stages in companies with underrepresented founders.
- LatinX VC: An association of LatinX venture investors.
- Venture Inclusion Network: Venture Inclusion Network provides a list of service providers that can assist companies or funds in building out their own D&I strategies, as well as retaining and growing diverse talent.
- Dear Investors: So You Want to Take Diversity Seriously: A series of blog posts by the Kapor Institute about how to take diversity seriously as VCs.
- PEWIN: Private Equity Women’s Investor Network is for women in senior positions in private equity.
- WAVE: Women’s Association of Venture and Equity was founded in 2003 and is focused on the advancement of women in VC and PE careers.
- How an Internet/SaaS business works. Exceptional overview of the metrics that drive an Internet business (via For Entrepreneurs blog). You can also read the original post.
- SaaS Survey. Knowing what a SaaS metric means is the first step. This post goes further to help understand what numbers are good and which are bad so can better calibrate the health of a SaaS business. One word of caution– the survey includes successful and not successful companies, so use with a grain of salt.
- a16z’s startup metrics vol 1 and vol 2
- 10 Factors to Consider when Evaluating Digital Marketplaces: classic post from Bill Gurley of Benchmark
- Marketplace Calculator. A template to evaluate marketplace business models.
- Famous startup pitch decks: actual decks from successful companies
- Conversion Rate Optimization. Good (and humorous) flowchart for optimizing online conversion. Includes list of software tools for each step (via SEOgadget).
- Eight ways to go Viral. Distilled hierarchy of how to make a product viral from Uzi Shmilovici (’11) (via Techcrunch).
- 10 Laws of e-Commerce. Composed by Bessemer Venture Partners, which has a stellar record in Internet retail investments.
- What’s the shrewdest, smartest maneuver you’ve seen in business? Ridiculously enjoyable and insightful responses to this question on Quora.
- The Masters of Private Equity and Venture Capital. Series of anecdotes/profiles covering deals and building PE/VC firms from respected investors.
- Done Deals. A little dated, but a series of deal anecdotes from some esteemed VCs.
- The New Financial Capitalists: Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and the Creation of Corporate Value
- Creative Capital: Georges Doriot and the Birth of Venture Capital. Historical account of Georges Doriot, the French immigrant who became an American General in the army and later is credited with starting modern VC business. His firm was eventually shut down by the SEC.
- King of Capital: The Remarkable Rise, Fall and Rise Again of Steve Schwartzman and Blackstone. Blackstone was one of the first PE funds to go public.
- VC: An American History: From Whaling to Silicon Valley.
- Venture Deals. Written for entrepreneurs, this is a good guide to provide a basic understanding of the various terms in an early stage termsheet and how early stage deals get negotiated.
- Venture Capital and Private Equity: A Casebook. Very good introductory (and brief) history of VC and PE by Josh Lerner. Includes “Notes” we use in class and many other cases.
- Valuation:Measuring and Managing the Value of Companies. The “McKinsey Valuation Book”, espouses an valuation approach of isolating sources of value creation within a company. Becoming more important as leverage and structure are commoditized and not sources of value creation anymore.
- Investment Banking: Valuation, Leveraged Buyouts, and Mergers & Acquisitions: Includes several sections on LBOs. A good reference textbook.
- Secrets of Sandhill Road: Written by Scott Kupor, a managing partner of a16z. Walks through how VCs select an nurture startups.
- Structuring Venture Capital Transactions: Seminal legal volume on legal structuring of BOTH PE and VC transactions. Reads more interesting than you might suspect. By U of C law professor and Kirkland & Ellis partner Jack Levin. Make sure to read his bio in the book for a good laugh.
- Barbarians at the Gate. Novel about KKR’s buyout of RJR Nabisco, considered the epitome of the mega buyout boom of the 1980s. Believe it or not, also a movie with James Garner.
- Bad Blood: An in-depth account of the startup Theranos, which raised a lot of VC and was a spectacular failure.
- Super Pumped: The history and battle for Uber.
- Billion Dollar Loser: The Epic Rise and Spectacular Fall of Adam Neumann and WeWork. The name says it all.
- General Magic. Chronicles the startup General Magic, started by the Apple Macintosh team which conceived of the smart phone in the early 1990s.
- Something Ventured. Stories from the original VCs in Silicon Valley.
- The Inventor: Out For Blood In Silicon Valley. Documents the trials and tribulations of the biotech startup Theranos, which is accused of a wide-scale fraud.
- Fyre. Follows the development and catastrophic launch of an ambitious music festival.
- Startup.com. A look into the dot-com era by following a startup’s progress.
- The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley: Chronicles the rise and fall of the startup Theranos. A due diligence cautionary tale.
- John Gannon’s blog includes collect of VC jobs and resources, including his email list.
- GRP Excited to add Sam Rosen to Its Ranks. How Did He Get the Role? Hustle. Here’s the Story. (Mark Suster, Booth grad). Great post on what it takes to break into VC.
- Venture Evolved: Category of VC posts from Professor Heltzer, many of which on getting a job in venture capital.
- Negotiating the Terms: A product of Going VC focused on women have made the transition to VC.
- @venturerecruiting on Twitter
- PE and VC recruiting process (video via Jason Heltzer. Password=catapult)
- How to get a job in VC Part I: Mostly good advice here (via Seth Levine).
- How to get a job in VC Part II. These are the most common methods, but does not preclude others.
- How to get a PE job in 2550 words. We do not agree with the “recruiters only” approach, but otherwise useful content.
- How to break into PE. Identifies the prominent recruiting firms in PE.
- 2019 Compensation Survey from Heidrick & Struggles. Includes cash and equity comp. PE and VC combined.
- Venture University: An accelerator for VC, PE and angel investing.
- Going VC: Paid program to learn how to transition to VC careers.
Deals and Terms:
- Example deal memos: Bessemer has made public its internal investment memos on Pinterest, Shopify, Yelp and others. They give insight on how to build an argument to an investment committee and how Bessemer weighed upside and downside.
- Venture Dealr Dilution Illustrated: A great visual example of the effect of dilution over time
- Cooley deal trends: an interactive graph of current deal terms. Excellent resource to know “what’s market”
- Fenwick and West VC Terms market survey: also a good source for “Market” for venture terms.
- Y-Combinator Startup documents. More founder-friendly and “lighter” and more common in seed deals.
- NVCA model legal documents. If you are familiar with termsheets, consider reading through these legal documents to see how termsheets get fleshed out and get a deep understanding of mechanics of deals and capital structures. Updated Feb 2018.
- Letter of Intent Series. Series of blog entries that go into depth on various terms in an LOI. Told from the seller’s perspective but very useful for buyers.
- A16Z’s response to WSJ article suggesting A16Z’s performance was trailing. This is an excellent explanation about the inherent imprecision of valuing a VC portfolio and difficulties benchmarking.
- Prequin Investor Outlook: Private Equity Outlook: The opinions of 100 leading LPs on the Market and their plans for the next 12 months
- Cambridge Associates PE and VC benchmarks: Published quarterly by Cambridge Associates, a respected gatekeeper to many institutional LPs.
- ABCs of non-listed BDCs: Regulations and structure of business development corporations, funds that can raise capital from the public
- Example Private Placement Memoranda (PPMs) for VC funds: PPMs are essentially business plans for funds. Here’s a google search that finds PPMs mistakenly exposed on the Internet!
- Institutional Limited Partners Association (ILPA): Industry association for large LPs.
- ILPA “principles”: This is a set of terms suggested by LPs for GPs to consider for their funds.
- Template fund fundraising deck: This was assembled by Carta and Kauffman.
- This survey of VC tech stacks is super helpful if you ever want to start your own fund or you wind up at a fund that needs more infrastructure.
- This list of VC tech stack tools is rather comprehensive.
- ILPA reporting guidelines. Consider this a wish list from LPs. Also includes several helpful templates.
- FAS 157 (as ammended). Full rules regarding Financial Accounting Standard 157: Fair Value Measurements. Not for the faint of heart.
- SBIC form 468. Annual report form which must be submitted by SBICs to the SBA each year.
- Form ADV. SEC form required for exempt funds and those funds subject to full reporting requirements.
- Form PF. SEC form required for larger funds.
- Built in Chicago: Social network/blog platform/event listing aggregator for the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Chicago.
- Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center: CEC runs 1871, the large and successful co-working space in the Merchandise Mart. The CEC promotes and helps grow Chicago companies, mostly startups.
- Bizjournals: Chicago Inno: Covers startup scene in Chicago (and also city-specific publishing in other cities)
- Association for Corporate Growth (ACG) (also in other cities): Focused on conferences and events for middle-market growth companies and investors
- Crains Chicago: Local business newspaper published weekly.
- Illinois Venture Capital Association: The professional association for VC and PE in Illinois.
- Built in NYC: Job platform and event listing aggregator for the entrepreneurial ecosystem in New York
- AlleyWatch: newspaper that publishes mostly New York specific startup funding news and interviews with VC along with a daily newsletter
- This is going to be Big: weekly newsletter of NYC tech events and commentary
- SiliconANGLE: news website focused on enterprise and emerging tech
- SF Tech Chronicle: Silicon Valley tech focused newsletter sent out 3x a week
- Techstars Los Angeles: The Techstars affiliate in LA.
- Techstars Music Accelerator: The music- and entertainment-focused Techstars affiliate in LA.
- Techstars Starburst Accelerator: The space-focused Techstars affiliate in LA.
- Los Angeles Venture Capital Directory: An extensive directory of VC funds, angel investors in LA and Orange County.
- Los Angeles Venture Association (LAVA): The professional association of venture investors in LA.