Finance

The legendary Andreessen Horowitz partner who worked on its Facebook and Airbnb deals shares his best advice for entrepreneurs trying to strike it big in Silicon Valley

  • Scott Kupor, one of the earliest partners at Silicon Valley venture firm Andreessen Horowitz, wanted to address the questions he gets from entrepreneurs most often in a blog series that has turned into his latest book, “The Secrets of Sand Hill Road.”
  • Kupor told Business Insider that he wanted to let entrepreneurs in on what makes venture investors tick, from how limited partners come into play to his theories on evaluating pitches or addressing the prospect of the dreaded down round. 
  • Although Kupor emphasized that his book isn’t the one-size-fits-all guideline to raising money in Silicon Valley, the book is a comprehensive introduction to the world of venture capital for any entrepreneur considering a funding round.
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Just over two years ago on Sand Hill Road, a quiet tree-lined street in Menlo Park, one of the most influential men in Silicon Valley sat down to write a how-to guide for the area’s aspiring startup founders.

Having made some of the biggest deals of the decade at legendary venture firm Andreessen Horowitz, Scott Kupor is something of a venture capital legend in California’s Silicon Valley. He works out of the firm’s office in Menlo Park — a suburb just 33 miles south of San Francisco that’s home to much of the tech VC industry — but spends a good chunk of time traveling to other rising tech hubs like Austin to scout the next Facebook or Airbnb.

But in December 2017, Kupor started to realize that he had acquired a wealth of knowledge about the venture industry and the many industries in which his portfolio companies operate. But that contributed to a perceived power imbalance between VCs like himself and the founders sitting across the boardroom table during pitch meetings. He decided to write a blog post laying out exactly how the VC industry operates.

Kupor told Business Insider earlier this year he realized he was in need of some heavy-handed editing if the blog post was going to work. So instead he committed to writing a full-length book, which manifested as “The Secrets of Sand Hill Road,” a full-length book released earlier this year.

“If we can figure out a way to have everyone speak the same vocabulary, and not feel like people are getting taken advantage of because we’ve done this a thousand times and they’ve done it a few times, that was really the goal,” Kupor told Business Insider of his decision to publish the book.

The book reads like a how-to manual for starting a venture-backed company in Silicon Valley’s difficult to navigate and highly competitive ecosystem. Kupor relied on few anecdotes throughout the book, and so it reads more like a textbook than the blog series he had originally planned. 

“It’s certainly not the Bible because, obviously not every VC firm is the same and it’s obviously heavily influenced by our views here and what we’ve seen over the past 10 years,” Kupor said. “It’s generalizable, though, to a broader set of venture interactions that entrepreneurs will have.”

Here are some of the key secrets Kupor wanted to let entrepreneurs in on in “The Secrets of Sand Hill Road:”

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