May. 07.

Buck’s of Woodside: the place for deals

Go to Buck’s of Woodside at dinnertime and you’ll find a quirkily decorated family restaurant. But go there for breakfast or lunch and you’ll find something completely different: a VC meeting spot, “where the money meets the entrepreneur.”

That description comes by way of Jamis MacNiven, the owner of Buck’s. He opened the place in 1991, and by ’92 it had already become the go-to place for deals between entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. It’s certainly convenient for the latter group, located one exit on I-280 away from Sand Hill Road, at 3062 Woodside Road.

MacNiven has seen plenty of deals brokered on napkins in Buck’s 21-year history, and offered the following advice for new entrepreneurs: “Know the basics…You have to have a real team, a real idea, and a way of projecting that idea into the marketplace. And read all of Guy Kawasaki’s books. You get one chance to make that impression on a VC.”

He also stressed the importance of waiting until an idea is ready to be pitched. “If someone in business can’t describe your idea in two sentences, something’s wrong,” MacNiven said.

And if your pitch bombs, at least you can entertain yourself by looking around at the museum of weirdness on the walls, including a buffalo head over the bar, a mini-Statue of Liberty wearing a sombrero and a Mona Lisa tie, and–our favorite–a framed “GOOGLE” license plate with the caption, “I was too dumb to buy the stock, but I bought the plate.”

As for MacNiven’s favorite decoration? “The cash register,” he said.

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