The Tech Entrepreneur's Survival Guide: How to Bootstrap Your Startup, Lead Through Tough Times, and Cash In for Success

The Tech Entrepreneur's Survival Guide: How to Bootstrap Your Startup, Lead Through Tough Times, and Cash In for Success

Bernd Schoner

Language: English

Pages: 217

ISBN: 2:00262836

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Most technology startups never make it to the funding stage, and only a small percentage of those that are venture-backed generate a positive return for their investors. An even smaller number of startup founders enjoy a truly prosperous exit.

Bernd Schoner cofounded his tech startup during the dot-com bust, navigated it through market crises and internal turmoil, brought it through the global financial meltdown intact, and eventually sold it to a multibillion-dollar, multinational public technology company.

In The Tech Entrepreneur's Survival Guide, Bernd shares what he learned and what he wished he knew at the time. He explains the major phases in a technology company's life cycle, helping entrepreneurs avoid common pitfalls and survive crises when they strike. He guides readers from the initial bootstrapping process through venture-capital financing and provides valuable advice on how to sell a technology company profitably—even in a challenging economic environment. Every chapter presents solutions to realworld issues that could otherwise have fatal consequences for a tech venture.

Aspiring tech entrepreneurs will learn to:

Set up shop: build the team, assemble necessary startup assets (including technology and intellectual property), get legal and financial affairs in order
Secure capital: ask for money, nail the term sheet, ask for more money
Get out: know when to sell, who to sell to, and how to make it a happy exit for all stakeholders, including the employees
Written with deep insight, refreshing candor, and a dash of humor, this comprehensive guide to the often harsh realities of startup life is indispensable for entrepreneurs at any stage.


"A genuine narrative from the field, with battle scars and self-reflection. Reading this book will help you avoid many pitfalls." — Nicholas Negroponte, professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab

"There's a lot of great insights and practical advice for the entrepreneur in this book, stuff you normally won't read or hear unless you buy some hard-bitten company founder a few drinks. If you are launching a technology startup, reading this book is the thing you should do first." — Mark Roberti, founder and editor in chief of RFID Journal

"I wish I had read Bernd's book when we founded The Echo Nest. Bernd touches on all the major issues in the initial formation stages of a tech company and many of the problems that come up when the company matures. If you are thinking of founding your own tech startup, read this book first." — Tristan Jehan, cofounder of The Echo Nest

"A visceral, behind-the-scenes guide to technology entrepreneurship. Bernd tells it like it is and presents a universe of solutions to tricky startup situations that can significantly improve the odds of success. Indispensable." — Larry Begley, cofounder and managing director at .406 Ventures

"The best-laid business plans never survive contact with reality. Bernd has provided a comprehensive guide to anticipating the unexpected in the life of a startup." — Neil Gershenfeld, professor and director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Center for Bits and Atoms

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attracting anyone’s attention for a market that is in the low-double-digit millions. However, the billion-dollar markets tend to be highly competitive, hard to enter, vetted by other entrepreneurs, and scrutinized by investors. A nice little niche market may be just the right place to get started. You can always expand from there. •   Is there even the slightest chance that I can get to my customers? The fact that a market for an idea exists doesn’t mean it is yours for the taking. High-tech

extremely hard to draft claims broad enough to cover as much ground as possible, yet narrow enough to not step on prior art. Fortunately, the patent examiners at the patent office are paid to figure this out for you, as long as you give them enough description and claim material to work with. You do have a duty to disclose any prior art you know about, which is the other ingredient into the lengthy negotiation between the inventors and the patent office. The very first office action from the

holders announce their IP broadly. They almost never state a particular reason why your product might be infringing. The likelihood that anything will come of the initial notification is very small. As a last resort and only if absolutely necessary, get your IP lawyer to draft an opinion of noninfringement. This costs money, but, statistically speaking, chances are good that you can argue for the invalidity of the patent or noninfringement of your product. Deteriorating Financial Situation. By

Entrepreneurial Activity, 1996–2012, April 2013, 5. Anthony K. Tjan, Richard J. Harrington, and Tsun-Yan Hsieh, Heart, Smarts, Guts, and Luck, Harvard Business Review Press, Boston, 2012, p. 21. 6. U.S. Census Bureau, Business Dynamics Statistics (BDS),, 2005. CHAPTER 3 1. David A. Vise and Mark Malseed, The Google Story: For Google’s 10th Birthday, updated ed., Bantam Dell, New York, 2005, 2008, p. 45. 2.

101 Government grants, 78–83 Small Business Innovative Research program, 78–83 Small Business Technology Transfer program, 79, 80, 82–83 and Valley of Death, 78–79 Graphic design skills, 58 Green cards, 65–66 Gross margin, 89 Growth margin, 235–236 Guaranteed payments (LLCs), 99 H1-B visas, 64–65 Hard/Easy decision matrix, 226–227 Health insurance, 132 Health savings accounts (HSAs), 135 Hurdle rate, 153 IAC, 190, 191 IBM, 23 Ideas, 30–32 evaluating, 30–32 investing in, 72–73

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