Increase Your Knowledge

Sometimes the best business strategy falls flat because of limited access to capital. Executives at small-to-medium sized firms have fewer options than those at large corporations. Insights on investors and their priorities clarifies the funding backdrop.

We have assembled a small collection of material relevant to this blog. Rather than list a random assortment of books, we offer insight on a narrow selection of hand-curated texts. Check back regularly for new titles.

► Corporate Investors

Masters of Corporate Venture Capital (Affiliate Link)
Collective Wisdom From 50 VCs
Andrew Romans

In our experience, entrepreneurs often view corporate venture capital as either opaque or inaccessible. And while it may not be the best channel for newly-minted startups to explore for capital; those enterprises with an established business framework should look aggressively for backers among large corporations. Among other benefits, the strategic requirements are clear; executives are not allocating their own money, but rather a designated cash reserve; the investing firm can quickly become a customer of the growth company; and corporate venture capital units are often overseen directly by the chairman or chief executive officer. Perhaps the biggest hurdle for entrepreneurs is that the approach to corporate venture capital tends to be more formal than elsewhere, demanding greater understanding of these groups’ operating framework. Masters of Corporate Venture Capital uproots the mystery.

► Islamic Finance

Intermediate Islamic Finance (Affiliate Link)
Theory and Practice
Nabil Maghrebi, Abbas Mirakhor, Zamar Iqbal

There are problems with most literature on Islamic finance. It is written by insiders for insiders; it is edited and organized poorly; and it is written as if the vastly larger conventional finance system does not exist. This book easily overcomes these issues. We commend the effort to offer an objective treatment of the relationship between Islamic finance and more traditional banking channels. That point is critical to the book’s success because most Western executives are skeptical, if not apprehensive, about digging deeper into the field. Never mind actually using Islamic finance to meet balance-sheet requirements. The text will resonate most directly with financial-market practitioners, but the editorial slant is rich enough that non-specialists can benefit from the even-keeled approach. If you have been disappointed by the depth of baseline works in the Islamic finance field, then this book will put meat on a skeletal understanding of the discipline.

► Sovereign Wealth Funds

Citizens’ Wealth (Affiliate Link)
Why (and How) Sovereign Funds Should Be Managed by the People
Angela Cummine

State piggy banks are not the sort of monolithic investors that the popular press makes them out to be. In truth, there are distinct flavors, with some being more accountable than others to democratic traditions. This book does a fine job of helping to make the distinction among the array of sovereign wealth funds, in part through the apt use of case studies. The problem with the text is that it errs on the side of populism. The author fails to make a convincing case that more direct public control of these institutions will also lead to better investment decisions, which presumably is the essential reason for their charters. But the work does a fine job of articulating the lingering debate among policymakers about the role of sovereign wealth funds in local economic development. The questions raised in this book should be explored, even if the answers are elusive. Those executives looking to raise capital will benefit from the insider perspective.

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