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Angels, Dragons & Vultures [Paperback]

Simon Acland
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
RRP: 24.99
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Book Description

21 Oct 2010
Are you an entrepreneur who's looking for funding, but daunted by the intricacies of venture capital? In this provocative and witty new book, learn about the inner workings of the venture capital industry and how its firms make their money. Discover how venture capitalists run their own businesses and the ways they can best help you run yours, as well as the alternatives to venture capital and how to make a successful exit.

Who are the different members of the venture capital industry?

An Angel invests his or her own money as venture capital in a business.

A Vulture hopes to earn enough out of making venture capital investments with other people's money to become as rich as an Angel.

A Dragon is an Angel with such a thirst for publicity that he or she enjoys exposing themselves on television.

Angels, Dragons and Vultures draws on a career's worth of experience of mistakes made by entrepreneurs – some of their own making, and some into which they were cajoled by their investors. Simon Acland shares the lessons of these mistakes and his personal expertise to help other entrepreneurs gain capital investment and professional assistance that is both lucrative and emotionally satisfactory.

Frequently Bought Together

Angels, Dragons & Vultures + Raising Venture Capital for the Serious Entrepreneur + The Lean Startup: How Constant Innovation Creates Radically Successful Businesses
Price For All Three: 56.29

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Beaufort Books (21 Oct 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1857885511
  • ISBN-13: 978-1857885514
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 15.3 x 22.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 22,005 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Simon Acland is the author of 'The Waste Land' and 'The Flowers of Evil', two historical adventure stories set at the turn of the 11th and 12th centuries. They feature Hugh de Verdon, a monk turned Crusader knight. Hugh joins the First Crusade in the retinue of Godfrey de Bouillon, the Duke of Lower Lorraine. In 'The Waste Land' he travels to Constantinople, Antioch and Jerusalem, falls in love, endures siege, plague and famine, encounters the Assassins and discovers the truth behind the Holy Grail. 'The Flowers of Evil' continues his story in the early years of the 12th century as he seeks revenge and fulfilment. In this second volume he meets the Knights Templar and the origins of some of the myths surrounding the mysterious military order are revealed.

Hugh's tale is retold by the bitchy old-fashioned dons of St Lazarus' College, Oxford. They find an ancient manuscript containing his autobiographical story in their library and craft it into these two best-selling novels to rescue their College's finances. This has unexpected and sinister consequences for them, and some of the edges between past and present seem to blur. The dons' story is humorous and provides light relief from the medieval adventure, while also providing a commentary on some of the historical events and some literary allusions in the books.

The Waste Land and The Flowers of Evil have been acclaimed by reviewers : 'Legendary entertainment indeed', 'Hugely enjoyable, engrossing and engaging from start to finish', 'Intelligently and perceptively written', 'This series may yet do for the Crusaders what the Twilight saga did for vampires and werewolves'.

Simon has also written a non-fiction book, 'Angels, Dragons and Vultures - how to tame your investors...and not lose your company.' It is a guide for entrepreneurs to the world of venture capital, in which he worked for over 20 years. He was managing director of Quester, one of the UK's most active early-stage technology investors with more than £250 million under management, and non-executive director of 25 companies in its portfolio. A long-standing member of the British Venture Capital Association's Technology Committee, he was also a Director of the British Business Angels' Association.


Product Description


'Down to earth, readable and often humorous...well worth a read'
Richard Branson

'A helpful, expert and practical guide for those risking the world of venture capital funding. Full of excellent advice.'
Tim Waterstone

An Insider's Guide to the opaque and much sought after world of venture capital… decodes the industry and offers sound advice for those who will engage with it.
Julie Meyer, Dragon on the BBC's Dragon's Den Online

'Anyone seeking outside investment from either an angel or venture capitalist should read this first…he'll have plenty of entrepreneur fans before long'
Director Magazine


About the Author

Simon Acland was a successful venture capitalist for 20 years. He was managing director of Quester, one of the UK's most active early-stage technology investors with more than £250 million under management, and non-executive director of more than 25 companies in its portfolio. He has been involved with many successful trade sales and flotations; he has also had failures and learned from them. A long-standing member of the British Venture Capital Association's Technology Committee, he was also Director of the British Business Angels' Association.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I recommend this book to my students 12 Dec 2010
I teach Private Equity modules at a leading business school, and recommend this book to my students as their set text on venture capital. In my view it gives all the practical details you need to understand this exciting area, but without getting unduly technical.

The author had a long career as a venture capitalist and it shows. However, for the purposes of the book he is a poacher turned gamekeeper as it is written very much for the entrepreneur, giving helpful tips on how to minimise the amount of equity and/or value which he or she will lose from their company as a result of choosing venture backing.

It also helps that Acland's writing style is so accomplished - a testament doubtless to his other life as a historical novelist (at which, incidentally, he is also very good). I read the whole book straight through from cover to cover when I first got it, and it really was a pleasure to read.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Investment in Early Stage companies 30 Nov 2010
I have been in the VC industry ten years and I have not seen an explanation of the issues and factors at play when a company takes on investment that is so easy to follow. What is interesting is not only the things that an aspiring entrepreneur needs to know but also a detailed expose of the financial model at the heart of the VC's own business which drives his or her behaviour.

The text is made more authoritative by the frequent table and charts that show the hard numbers that substantiate the assertions made.

The book is also, perhaps surprisingly given the above, very readable and engaging.


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Invaluable advice for entrepreneurs 10 Jan 2011
I recently read and enjoyed very much Simon Acland's novel and was therefore intrigued to see if someone who can write such an excellent 'entertainment' can also produce a serious business book. The answer is yes. Not only is this a well thought-through and practical guide, it is also amusingly written and very accessible.

No entrepreneur even considering talking to a VC let alone raising money should be without this book. It is packed with sensible and clearly explained advice.

As someone who has danced with the devil (or 'vultures' as Acland calls them) for more than two decades, it is my view that it is high time some of the myths were exploded. In contrast to their all too often inflated self image, I was intrigued to discover how lacklustre the returns are for many VCs. Apparently many have never achieved a 9X return on any single investment. There are, of course, some good ones around but the majority are vin ordinaire. A small minority are actually value-destroying buffoons. Many have remarkably little management experience.

For entrepreneurs raising money, Acland points out many of the tricks that VCs use to better their deal such as deploying interest bearing loan stock rather than equity. He is very good too on the role of the Chairman.

Two minor gripes: I could not find a mention of the excellent review site (thefunded) which rates VCs and no explanation as to why VCs who persecute their portfolio companies over every penny of cost choose always to inhabit Ritzy office palazzo themselves.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Rolf Dobelli TOP 500 REVIEWER
When looking for capital to grow your small business, remember that it's a jungle out there: "Vultures" and "Dragons" abound, so try to get an "Angel" on your side. That's what veteran venture capitalist Simon Acland recommends. In his breezy, occasionally irreverent, but always informative guide to the ways of venture capitalism, Acland portrays its characters in colorful terms. But don't mistake the book's insouciance for lack of substance. The stakes for both business owner and investor are high. Your investor could lose millions, and you could lose your company. Or you both could be creating the next Microsoft or Yahoo. getAbstract recommends this guide on how to approach venture capital to all entrepreneurs (or "Lions") looking to ascend to the next level. Just beware of the creatures that can eat your company - and your dreams.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and essential for any business owners 19 Mar 2011
Although the book is written to inform about the pitfalls and benefits of seeking investment, the content is much, much wider and more valuable than just that. The sections on teams,remuneration and the fundamentals of good business should be required reading for all business owners. Not only that but the book manages to give strong numerical explanations on investment scenarios whilst remaining an entertaining and engaging read. I've already told several of the companies with which we work to buy copies for the whole senior team.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-read for entrepreneurs 20 Feb 2011
I was recommended Angels, Dragons and Vultures by a colleague. I have worked in financial roles for VC-backed tech businesses for a number of years and have encountered a broad range of Angel investors and VCs ("Vultures").

Acland's book is an excellent read with simple tables illustrating his points in cold blood. The book is a clear exposition of the risks and rewards of taking on VC funding, and the tricks and treats in store for those who do. Acland manages, marvellously, to cover a huge amount of ground in 250 pages, the outcome being that the book is impressively comprehensive in its scope. His inclusion of illustrative tables means that the book is of practical use.

In short, it is one of the most directly relevant business books I have read and one I would recommend most heartily to any entrepreneurs raising money or, indeed, to anyone seeking to understand the intricacies of Venture Capital.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book
Great book for anyone entering into Angel or VC funding for their business for the first time. A good read.
Published 8 months ago by Will Stephens
1.0 out of 5 stars Walking The Walk - Not!
I've read this book recently & it all seems very plausible.

BUT, Simon Acland as a Non Executive Director of Elektron plc has presided over one of the worst AIM... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Electronica
5.0 out of 5 stars Venture capital the good, the bad and the ugly
As a entrepreneur who has started the long search for an investor, I found this book extremely relevant. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Lionel Fenton
5.0 out of 5 stars Unsurpassed Insights and Tactical Advice
As the manager of one of North America's largest angel groups I am constantly educating entrepreneurs about the nuances of VC funding. Read more
Published on 9 Oct 2011 by John O. Huston
5.0 out of 5 stars Very informative book
Excellent book that is full of useful information. It's easy to read, has lots of examples and is written in a very humorous tone. Read more
Published on 3 April 2011 by James Hind, founder of carwow
5.0 out of 5 stars If you are thinking about taking on investors/ment read this first.
Here is a book that all early stage business leaders should read; it took me about five hours cover to cover. Read more
Published on 11 Mar 2011 by PJ - UK
5.0 out of 5 stars Seeing it from the other side
I came across this book in a publication aimed at business folk (such as myself). Although i'm currently 'bootstrapping' a company in the early stages of growth, I thought this... Read more
Published on 16 Feb 2011 by D Singh
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding
I have been an entrepreneur for over 20 years and have participated in raising Angel and Venture money on both sides of the pond. Read more
Published on 12 Dec 2010 by barrie
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