“A compelling memoir revealing the heart and mind of a leading venture capitalist who shaped the industry. Chuck Newhall shares unflinching stories – both personal and professional – that shed light on how venture capitalists over the past half century have contributed to America’s ascendance as an entrepreneurial power.”

Marguerite Gong Hancock

Computer Museum

Why the venture capitalist is important

No one has ever explained how a venture capitalist plays an active role in creating world changing companies. Dare Disturb the Universe tells stories of the good, the bad, and the ugly of creating companies and explains how the venture capital industry created 80% of the American Economy and how the industry faces the chance of significant legislation which could severely damage it. Venture Capital is different from leverage buyouts and hedge funds – it needs to be regulated in an entirely different way.

Because they often hire the senior management, help develop the business model, introduce the company to its largest customers, and provide governance. It is a role akin to becoming an entrepreneur, not just an investor. 

“A lot of people think venture capital is a game of numbers. It’s not. It’s a game of courage. It’s about having the courage to put trust in others, and the conviction to do the right thing – even when it’s hard.”

Dick Kramlich

Founding Partner, NEA

Read excerpts from the book

NEA’s First Fundraising & Corporate Culture

NEA’s First Fundraising & Corporate Culture

The following are excerpts from Dare Disturb the Universe. NEA’s differentiating quality lay in our willingness to invest in many more industries than the typical California partnership then focused on (semiconductors and computers). I wrote a ten-page document at T....

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Frank Adams, Grotech

“Over my 35 years in venture capital, people have often told me how easy the business looks. You just invest in a company, take them public and everybody makes a lot of money. They say. The truth is that happens on occasion but there are way more gut wrenching challenges than victories. It is easy to celebrate magnificent wins in a portfolio, but successful venture capitalists know that the real satisfaction comes from doing the hard work and long hours helping struggling companies become successful. This part of our business is not visible from the outside looking in.”

Frank Adams

Bon French

“Dare Disturb the Universe is a fascinating description of the venture capital industry with a particularly human perspective. While many investors think about data rooms, investment gains and losses, deals per partner, pre- and post-money valuations, etc., the reality is that the venture and entrepreneurial ecosystem is all about people. Chuck Newhall, through the lens of NEA’s forty-year-plus history, relates the very personal and emotional highs and lows that are involved in creating new products, new companies, and new industries. It is a real-life story that is rarely documented.”

Bon French
Adams Street

Tom Nicholas, William J. Abernathy Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School and author of Venture Capital, An American History

“An amazing story of family ingenuity in the venture capital industry. Chuck Newhall writes a beautifully candid and compelling account that integrates personal triumph and tragedy into the history of New Enterprise Associates, and more.”

Tom Nicholas
William J. Abernathy Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School and author of Venture Capital, An American History

Jim Swartz, Founder, Accell

"Love the book... so rich, so authentic, so you. It was hard to put down. You have uniquely captured the great personalities while telling the deep-down story of our industry. It is a story that has never been told in this depth."

Jim Swartz
Founder, Accell

Phil Paul, Founder, Paul Capital

"I have had the privilege to serve on NEA's Board of Advisors for almost all of the forty years they've been in existence. Chuck does a wonderful job of explaining the longer history of venture capital, including NEA's founding and what venture capitalists struggle to do in starting and building companies. His insights are revealing and informative."

Phil Paul
Founder, Paul Capital

Dr. Arthur Daemmrich, Smithsonian Museum

"Considering that we benefit from an economy made - and remade - by venture capital, we know little of its inner-workings. Here, Chuck Newhall III, a pioneer of VC in the 20th century, offers deeper historical perspective and an insightful take of the industry's challenges and triumphs over the past five decades."

Dr. Arthur Daemmrich
Smithsonian Museum

Bobby Franklin, National Venture Capital Association

"The U.S. entrepreneurial ecosystem has made a significant positive impact on our economy, society, and innovation, by creating jobs, wealth, and life changing products and services. In his book, Chuck Newhall highlights the importance of patient, resilient, and long-term investors; strong, values-driven venture firms; and the starring role entrepreneurs play on the journey to success. The successes of venture-backed startups over the past fifty years—thanks in part to Chuck Newhall, his peers, and NEA—have helped make the U.S. venture industry the envy of the world."

Bobby Franklin
National Venture Capital Association

About the author

Charles Newhall

As an author, Vietnam Veteran, and Venture Capitalist, Chuck has had a life full of both great challenges and admirable successes. His books take readers on a journey through his life starting with Fearful Odds, which recounts his service in Vietnam for which he earned a Purple Heart along with other distinguished medals. As a result of the war, Chuck experienced post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that had a devastating impact on his life, further complicated when his first wife died by suicide. His second book, Brightside Gardens, is the story of building a formal garden with 54 garden rooms, over a 40-year period as a coping mechanism for dealing with PTSD. Chuck’s third book, Dare Disturb the Universe, tells the story of his career as a pioneer in venture capitalism and how his obsession with the New Enterprise Associates (NEA) was a defense mechanism for dealing with depression.