How to Maximize Startup Success, Get a Free Book, and Make the Most of VC65 on April 6

3/28/11Follow @bbuderi

Chance favors the prepared startup mind. Excuse the slight variation on an old saying. But with our VC65 conference set to take place on April 6, just 9 days from now, I find myself thinking more and more about what makes a successful startup—and how much of it you can control.

A lot, of course, if you have the right combination of team, attitude, and investors. But platitudes about hiring, vision, and venture capital partners are the easy part. How do you put those things together, what do you look for, how do you know when it’s time to shift gears? In short, how you do you go beyond lip service to really stack the odds in your favor, and put your company in a position to capitalize on opportunity?

Answering such questions is a big theme of our conference, which will take place the afternoon of April 6 in MIT’s Kresge auditorium. If you are ruminating on similar subjects, I hope you’ll come on down. To hold VC65, which celebrates the 65th anniversary of the birth of venture capital in the U.S., we’ve partnered with the National Venture Capital Association and the MIT Museum (which is hosting our networking reception in the MIT 150 Exhibit honoring the Institute’s 150th anniversary). In the audience will be hundreds of venture capitalists from around the country, along with hundreds of Xconomy readers. And taking center stage will be some of the world’s best investors and entrepreneurs to share their insights and lessons about building great companies.

Consider: Kicking things off will be Bob Metcalfe, a wildly successful entrepreneur (a founder of 3Com), inventor, investor, and now professor of innovation at the University of Texas. Then there is Greylock Partners’ chairman emeritus Henry McCance, who will be sharing his four cornerstones to building great companies. MIT inventor and entrepreneur extraordinaire Bob Langer will be taking the stage with Polaris Venture Partners’ Terry McGuire to talk about what they’ve learned launching 14 startups together. Mick Mountz, founder and CEO of Kiva Systems, will be teaming up with his lead investor Ajay Agarwal from Bain Capital Ventures. Howard Hartenbaum of August Capital will be here in person to share the Skype story-that’s one wild ride, I can tell you. And Scott Kupor of Andreessen Horowitz will be detailing his firm’s vision of a new way to stack the deck and clear the way for entrepreneurs through things like its Talent Agency that connects startups with computer programmers, developers, and the like.

And that just a few of the great speakers and stories we have lined up. MIT Sloan School of Management professor (himself an entrepreneur and investor) Ed Roberts will host a great panel focusing on the future of U.S. venture (think shrinkage, early stage deals, and competition with super angels and micro-VCs): the panelists are Theresia Gouw Ranzetta of Accel Partners; Jason Mendelson of The Foundry Group; Noubar Afeyan of Flagship Ventures; and Bryan Roberts of Venrock.

Bill Sahlman of Harvard Business School (we have balance here, despite being on MIT’s home court) will moderate a fantastic panel on investing in international markets. His group includes Peter Brooke, the pioneer in international venture capital, Linda Rottenberg of Endeavor Global in New York, and Tim Draper, founder of Draper Fisher Jurvetson and son of Bill Draper, and himself one of the most prominent venture capitalists in the country (Tim will be on hand during the break to sign copies of his father’s book, for which he wrote the afterword).

I can hardly wait for this show to begin. If you act fast, you can still snag one of 50 copies of The Startup Game: Inside the Partnership Between Venture Capitalists and Entrepreneurs, the new book from legendary investor Bill Draper. We’ve only got a few left. But don’t fret too much if you are late, as we also have 30 copies of A Vision for Venture Capital, a book by equally legendary investor Peter Brooke, founder of Advent International and TA Associates. They will go to the next 30 who buy a ticket after Draper’s book is gone. (One exception to these offers: those purchasing student tickets are not eligible, sorry.)

VC65 promises to be a great afternoon of insight-sharing and networking. I hope you can come. Get your tickets here.


Bob is Xconomy's founder and editor in chief. You can e-mail him at bbuderi@xconomy.com, call him at 617.500.5926. Follow @bbuderi

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