The phenomenal success of the initial public offerings (IPOs) of many new internet companies obscures the fact that fewer than six out of 1 million business plans submitted to venture capital firms will ever reach the IPO stage. Many fail, according to start-up expert John Nesheim, because the entrepreneurs did not have access to the invaluable lessons that come from studying the real-world venture experiences of successful companies. Now they do. This revised and updated edition of Nesheim's underground Silicon Valley bestseller incorporates twenty-three case studies of successful start-ups, including tables of wealth showing how much money founders and investors realized from each venture. Acclaimed by entrepreneurs the world over, this practical handbook is filled with hard-to-find information and guidance covering every key phase of a start-up, from idea to IPO: how to create a winning business plan, how to value the firm, how venture capitalists work, how they make their money, where to find alternative sources of funding, how to select a good lawyer, and how to protect intellectual property. Nesheim aims to improve the odds of success for first-time high-tech entrepreneurs, and offers an insider's perspective from firsthand experience on one of the toughest challenges they face -- convincing venture capitalists or investment banks to provide financing. This complete, classic reference tool is essential reading for first-time high-tech entrepreneurs, and entrepreneurs already involved in a start-up who want to increase their chances of success to rise to the top.