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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I recommend this book to my students
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...
Published on 12 Dec. 2010 by G. H. Fraser-sampson

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
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 disasters of recent times. He has watched an incompetent management destroy shareholder value while enriching themselves, and as Chairman of their Rumuneration Committee he aided & abetted this...
Published 23 months ago by Electronica


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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
By 
G. H. Fraser-sampson (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Angels, Dragons & Vultures (Paperback)
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
This review is from: Angels, Dragons & Vultures (Paperback)
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.

Recommended.

Nick
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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
By 
An Historian (London, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Angels, Dragons & Vultures (Paperback)
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
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-read for entrepreneurs, 20 Feb. 2011
This review is from: Angels, Dragons & Vultures (Paperback)
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding, 12 Dec. 2010
This review is from: Angels, Dragons & Vultures (Paperback)
I have been an entrepreneur for over 20 years and have participated in raising Angel and Venture money on both sides of the pond.

Simon's book has allowed me to understand the dynamics from the investors perspective in a way that I never have done before. Prior to reading this book, I have always focused on my own reasons for raising money (market opportunity, growth, etc) vs. clearly understanding the rationale and motivations of the investors. The insights in this book have changed that dynamic for me.

This book also contains incredibly solid good business advice. The chapter on remuneration, shares, options and bonuses is worth the cost of the book just on its own.

Read this book is you are serious about growing your business - either organically, through Angel investors or by jumping in with the Vultures.

Oh, and by the way - this book is also very entertaining!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Witty, knowing guide to venture capital for first-time entrepreneurs, 23 Mar. 2011
By 
Rolf Dobelli "getAbstract" (Switzerland) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Angels, Dragons & Vultures (Paperback)
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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5.0 out of 5 stars Seeing it from the other side, 16 Feb. 2011
This review is from: Angels, Dragons & Vultures (Paperback)
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 would be an interesting read.

To summarise, its a valuable guide on seeing things from the point of view of VC's. Having met a few and soaked in the attitudes of business people towards them, this was refeshingly clear and balanced. Despite the general positive spin you hear from VCs about their focus on your business, it good to understand what makes them tick (their raison d'être). Which is to make money for themselves, their firm, their fund investors, to advance their own personal careers and to impress potential future fund investors (a virtuous circle indeed)

Now thats not something you really see from the 'brochures' from VC's so to say. But actually you can understand the pressures on them, and therefore their expectations of entrepreneurs and the businesses they invest in.

Personally, the style of the book was entertaining and to the point, and it was refreshing to hear a VC encouraging entrepreneurs to really think about whether they want external investment. The book also highlighted the importance of a good independent Chairperson, in terms of navigating your way down the road of business. A good check on the the sometimes allseeing ego of the entrepreneur. The book covers much ground so a glance through the contents page is your best bet to see what is covered.

Overall a great read, and if anyone has or is thinking of the getting external investment (i.e. you are on Dragons Den soon), the examples on company share ownership are enlightening (in particular if you think you may need to go further than one round of funding).

One final thought, although the title refers to taming your dragons. I think the book has greater use in terms of 'managing' all parties with stakes in your business and how it is vital for the entrepreneur to have a good grip on the business (where it is and where it is going).
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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
By 
Avril Millar (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Angels, Dragons & Vultures (Paperback)
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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5.0 out of 5 stars Very informative book, 3 April 2011
This review is from: Angels, Dragons & Vultures (Paperback)
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.

The author does a great job of explaining how VC firms work and what they need to get from an investment. The various clauses in term sheets are talked through in detail (while remaining very easy to understand) and the advantages/disadvantages to both the investor and the entrepreneur. There is also advice on how to write a business plan for investment, how to approach investors and how much to ask for.

Not only does the book contain great advice about getting investment, but also on running a company. Including tips on managing your board, incentivising staff and the valuable role a chairman can play.

I'd thoroughly recommend this book for any entrepreneur, even if they aren't considering investment. The first reason is because of the excellent advice contained around running a business that I haven't read elsewhere, the second because it will mean you'll understand how to build your business so it's attractive for investment should you requite it in the future.

For anyone looking for investment then it's an essential purchase. It will help you understand the complexities of the terms, avoid you falling into traps and make you question whether taking an offer is the right thing to do.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Venture capital the good, the bad and the ugly, 5 Nov. 2012
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This review is from: Angels, Dragons & Vultures (Paperback)
As a entrepreneur who has started the long search for an investor, I found this book extremely relevant. This book really gets under the skin of a Venture Capitalist explaining in an undiluted manner his primary motives, objectives, thoughts and feelings.

Although, I would agree that the book is easy to read many of the calculations and descriptions on how VC's structure deals will turn your head in a spin the first time you read them. Nevertheless, this is usually the case when you are learning something that is completely new and the information is invaluable.

Another great point to highlight is the issue of equity share, Simon reveals that although Vultures encourage the entrepreneur to give up equity they rigidly hold on to theirs. The derogatory name given to a VC firm, which is not completely owned by their managing partners is know as a 'captive'.

All in all a great book on the subject, written with depth, panache and humour. I can not say this clearly enough if you 'dare' being the operative word, to start a business using venture capital, this must be your first port of call.
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Angels, Dragons & Vultures
Angels, Dragons & Vultures by Simon Acland (Paperback - 21 Oct. 2010)
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