The Essential Guide to Startup Boards

The first time many founders see the inside of a board room is when they step in to lead their board. But how do boards work? How should they be structured, managed, and leveraged so that startups can grow, avoid pitfalls, and get the best out of their boards?

If you’re looking for answers to those questions and more, you’ll be pleased to know that one of the most essential books for startup founders has been updated in a second edition that launches today.

Startup Boards: A Field Guide to Building and Leading an Effective Board of Directors is a comprehensive guide on creating, growing, and leveraging a board of directors written for CEOs, board members, and people seeking board roles.

For this edition, Brad Feld and Mahendra Ramsinghani have enlisted the support of a third co-author, serial entrepreneur and long-time Techstars mentor, Matt Blumberg. They’ve also added a number of new voices to the book, including Jocelyn Mangan who wrote the foreword.

Brad Feld is, of course, a cofounder of Tecshtars and for the past three years he’s also been my co-host on the Give First podcast. I’ve also been fortunate enough to sit on a few startup boards with Brad and know how effective his “less is more” approach to board meetings can be. He truly knows how to keep the process efficient and focused on strategy. 

A lot has changed since the original book was published at the end of 2013, including the emphasis on independent board members, diversity at the board level, and openness to first-time or non-traditional board members. And that makes this new edition more vital than ever.

Why Do You Need to Read “Startup Boards”? 

This is a book that provides seasoned advice and guidance to CEOs, board members, investors, and anyone aspiring to serve on a board covering a wide range of topics with relevant tips, tactics, and best practices, including:

  • Board fundamentals such as the board’s purpose, legal characteristics, and roles and functions of board members
  • Creating a board including size, composition, roles of VCs and independent directors, what to look for in a director, and how to recruit directors
  • Compensating, onboarding, removing directors, and suggestions on building a diverse board
  • Preparing for and running board meetings
  • The board’s role in transactions including selling a company, buying a company, going public, and going out of business
  • Advice for independent and aspiring directors.

The Authors have collectively served on hundreds of startup and scaleup boards over the past 30 years, attended thousands of board meetings, encountered multiple personalities and situations, and seen the good, bad, and ugly of boards. This new edition of Startup Boards draws on the authors’ experience and includes stories from board members, startup founders, executives, and investors.

Any CEO, board member, investor, or executive interested in creating an active, involved, and engaged board should read this book now—and keep it handy for reference. I guarantee that you’ll get far more satisfaction from your future interactions.

Get your copy here and share with CEOs, board members, and aspiring board members.

file under: Startups