Resources for those interested in venture capital and private equity

PE and VC resources

Jason Heltzer
Mar 31, 2019 · 14 min read
Photo by Brigitte Tohm on Unsplash

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:

PE

VC

  • 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”.

Twitter

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

  • PE Resources (various news resources covering PE)
  • PE Firms (official twitter feeds for esteemed PE firms)

VC

  • 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.

Podcasts

  • 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.

Fund Strategy

Due Diligence

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
  • Bloomberg
  • 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.
  • VentureSource

Background Reading and Videos:

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:

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.

Business Models:

Books:

Anecdotes/War Stories:

History/Industry Emergence/Decline:

Reference/Textbooks:

Novels:

Documentaries:

Recruiting Advice:

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.

Fundraising/LPs:

Fund Operations:

Reporting:

  • 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.

Geographic-specific Resources:

Chicago:

NYC:

  • 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

San Francisco:

Los Angeles:

Venture Evolved

Jason is a venture capitalist, business school professor…

Venture Evolved

Jason is a venture capitalist, business school professor and former software engineer. Jason is a Partner at Origin Ventures and he has been in the venture business since 2001. He also teaches the venture capital and private equity lab class at Chicago Booth.

Jason Heltzer

Written by

Dad, venture capitalist at @OriginVentures, @chicagobooth professor, Chicagoan. I was a nerd before it was cool to be a nerd.

Venture Evolved

Jason is a venture capitalist, business school professor and former software engineer. Jason is a Partner at Origin Ventures and he has been in the venture business since 2001. He also teaches the venture capital and private equity lab class at Chicago Booth.