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High Tech Start Up, Revised and Updated: The Complete Handbook For Creating Successful New High Tech Companies [Hardcover]

John L. Nesheim
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 16 2000
The phenomenal success of the initial public offerings (IPOs) of many new internet companies obscures the fact that fewer than six out of 1 million business plans submitted to venture capital firms will ever reach the IPO stage. Many fail, according to start-up expert John Nesheim, because the entrepreneurs did not have access to the invaluable lessons that come from studying the real-world venture experiences of successful companies. Now they do.
This revised and updated edition of Nesheim's underground Silicon Valley bestseller incorporates twenty-three case studies of successful start-ups, including tables of wealth showing how much money founders and investors realized from each venture. Acclaimed by entrepreneurs the world over, this practical handbook is filled with hard-to-find information and guidance covering every key phase of a start-up, from idea to IPO: how to create a winning business plan, how to value the firm, how venture capitalists work, how they make their money, where to find alternative sources of funding, how to select a good lawyer, and how to protect intellectual property. Nesheim aims to improve the odds of success for first-time high-tech entrepreneurs, and offers an insider's perspective from firsthand experience on one of the toughest challenges they face -- convincing venture capitalists or investment banks to provide financing.
This complete, classic reference tool is essential reading for first-time high-tech entrepreneurs, and entrepreneurs already involved in a start-up who want to increase their chances of success to rise to the top.

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You've got a hot idea for a new dot-com, and you're itching to join the folks who regularly show up on CNBC and at the Lexus dealerships in Silicon Valley. But you also know your odds of big-time success are about as long as Bill Gates's position in MSFT. What do you do? John Nesheim, an adjunct professor at Cornell's Johnson Graduate School of Management, who has personally structured over $300 million in new-venture deals, lays out the step-by-step skinny in High Tech Startup. Incorporating some two dozen case studies spanning the technology spectrum, he presents info specific to this industry that will help you get from concept to IPO. It begins with a 14-phase schedule itemizing time requirements, necessary assistance, typical participants, major costs, main risks, and desired results for each step. It then details all the critical stages (i.e., forming the company, preparing the business plan, assembling the team, dealing with venture capitalists and other funding sources). Nesheim focuses on practical strategies that should certainly improve your chances, but don't start prepping for that on-air interview with Mark Haines just yet: Only six out of 1 million high-tech ideas, he notes, ever become successful companies that go public. --Howard Rothman


Chih-Chao Lam founder, Acknowledge and ShoppingList.com This is the book I wish I'd taken to heart in my first start-up. ShoppingList.com is all the more well-grounded for my having read High Tech Start UP.

Ken Tidwell Vice President, Engineering, Clip2.com Next best thing after the founders to have at the kitchen table.

Thomas M. Uhlman President, New Ventures Group, Lucent Technologies Required reading for the next generation of corporate venture capitalists.

Donald T. Valentine General Partner, Sequoia Capital A must-read for all Internet era entrepreneurs.

Mario Rosati Partner, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati Great book for high-tech entrepreneurs.

George Gilder Gilder Group, author of Telecosm Super book by the start-up guru of Silicon Valley.

John C. Dean Chairman and CEO, Silicon Valley Bank From idea to IPO, Nesheim provides a virtual road map to start-up success.

David Ben Daniel Professor of Entrepreneurship, Cornell University An invaluable, practical guide for high-tech entrepreneurs.

Chong Huai Seng Publisher, Asian Entrepreneur A must-read for entrepreneurs, angels, and venture firms seeking the best practices.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
The research on which this book is based provided a lot of data about start-ups of all kinds that use technology, from semiconductors to Internet sites. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars A big disappointment July 14 2004
If the title was "Managing and Financing Your Startup", I would not have been disappointed. It seems that Nesheim's central message is to find an experienced CEO, and push constantly to get financing.
Nesheim is so insistent on this point that he basically ignores the critical, fundamental question of market assessment: how to determine whether the product is desirable and whether the company has a true "unfair advantage". It seems that Nesheim is more focused on a successful IPO and exit for the funders than on developing a viable business.
As I read the book, I thought of companies like Webvan. Webvan would be successful in Nesheim's view: experienced management, seasoned directors, and well financed. But history showed that they had a product that was too expensive for the marketplace, and they are gone. While Nesheim does not cite Webvan, he does offer other success stories that have fallen far from their initial valuations: DoubleClick, Netscape, and SGI.
Given that, I have a hard time trusting this book. The prettiest forecasts are meaningless unless they are based on a solid product and a solid competitive advantage. And here, Nesheim offers virtually no guidance.
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For neophyte Hi-Tech entrepreneurs this book lays out the areas that need to be dealt with in order to successfully move from the early idea stage to the functioning company stage.
There must be a lot of people who would start companies because they already have a great product idea, but don't know what is required in order to do so. For people like this without the desire or time to go get an updated business degree with a course or two in entrepreneurship this book fills a big need.
If you need to actually do some of the required steps in moving from idea to company you will want to get some of the specialist books that cover a single topic such as writing the business plan or those that deal with intellectual property.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Focused too much on the IPO Sept. 25 2003
By David
I'm giving it four stars because it really was a good and informative book, but it focused too much on raising money from venture capitalists and taking your company public. This is THE book if you've got the next hot electronic gizmo and will need millions to get it to market, but definately look elsewhere if you're a gal or a guy with an idea for a small internet-based business.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Focused too much on the IPO Sept. 23 2003
By A Customer
I'm giving it four stars because it really was a good and informative book, but it focused too much on raising money from venture capitalists and taking your company public. This is THE book if you've got the next hot electronic gizmo and will need millions to get it to market, but definately look elsewhere if you're a gal or a guy with an idea for a small internet-based business.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Think you have what it takes? March 15 2003
Thinking about starting a company? Read this book to find out what it really takes to create a successful high-tech company. This book covers just about every detail and sacrifice you will need to make. A lot of techies aspiring to be the next Bill Gates thought they could start a company based upon the merits of their idea alone, but the facts are it takes a lot more than a good idea to create a successful high tech company.
The book outlines the whole process from initial idea to IPO. The book tends to focus on the IPO-Venture model for startups, giving little ink to other methods. The only downside of this book is it was written during the height of the .CON boom, so don't expect to find the magic formula for developing a startup in today's business climate. The information dealing for personnel, legal, IP, and getting VC funding is worth the cover price alone. Overall, this is an extremely informative book and a must read for anyone thinking about starting a company or joining a startup.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Everything I should have known Sept. 22 2002
By J. West
This book changed the way I view the role of CEO in a start-up. Being a CEO of a start-up is a hard job. You raise money, you find good people, you raise money, you fight fires, you raise more money. This book provides an education for what you need to do to raise initial capital and how your world will change if/when your company reaches an IPO.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Read this book! Sept. 15 2001
This is a great book for anyone thinking about starting a company. It walks through all the essential steps of the process and drills down into details like how much in savings you should have before leaving your job. A real strength of this book is Nesheim's constant reminders of all the things that can go wrong. With all the hype that's been out there, this book is a great reality check. I wish I had read it five years ago.
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Having worked with dozens of entrepreneurs, I know that most of them ask the same questions during the very early stages; this book answers most of them.
"High Tech Start Up" provides a practical, real-world view at the complex process of forming the company (beyond just the simple incorporation process), preparing yourself legally, developing the business plan, assembling a team, and then raising the capital. This book is truly an "A-to-Z" reference guide that belongs on every entrepreneur's bookshelf.
Author Nesheim's only shortcoming with this work is that little time was dedicated to the very important process of answering key questions about any start-up: What problem do you solve? For whom? Will they pay to have it solved for them? How can you leverage that ability into a long-term business? And so forth...
My suggestion is that the true first-time, early-stage entrepreneur read "Entrepreneur America" before reading anything else. This book provides a "bigger picture" overview and causes the reader to critically assess the business model. Once all of the "assignments" from "Entrepreneur America" are complete, the reader can then move on to "High Tech Start Up" for a more detailed look at the business and capital formation processes.
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