Skip to main content

Venture Capital Resources

Know What You Need

Before you attempt to enter the high profile venture capital financial world, you need to know what you expect from the experience. Do you want money, marketing expertise, and/or management or legal help? What stage of your business plan have you reached? More importantly, which upcoming stages of your business plan do you expect venture capital support to help you realize?

For additional guidance, see resources tagged with entrepreneurship.

 

Overviews of Venture Capital

"Many entrepreneurs mistakenly believe venture capitalists are looking for good ideas when, in fact, they are looking for good managers in particular industry segments." - Paul Gibson, "The Art of Getting Funded"

  • The opening chapters of Pratt's Guide to Private Equity Sources cover such topics as:  the background of venture capital; "characteristics of a successful entrepreneurial management team"; how to "choose and approach a venture capitalist", et cetera.
  • The Growth Company Guide to Investors, Deal Structures, and Legal Strategies is a large reference text freely available online.  It provides short descriptions of key topics such as joint ventures, windows, incubators, and venture capital.

Venture Capital Firms - Whom Do They Fund?

If you have an idea for a stellar "everyone will buy this" kitchen gizmo gadget, you aren't going to want to pitch your idea to a VC firm that backs only wireless technology solutions.  It's imperative that you know which firms are interested in your type of project and geographic location.r

American Venture Capital Firms
  • PriceWaterhouseCoopers' MoneyTree Survey VC Funds database -- Provides Q2 1999 information arranged by state/region, industry, or in an alphabetical list of investees.
International Venture Capital Firms
  • The European Venture Capital Association maintains a searchable database which allows sophisticated searches by industry, country, stage of enterprise, estimation of financial needs, etc.
  • Venture Capital Marketplace, an Australian company, maintains a list of international VC firms.   However, sometimes only a firm's name and country is provided.
  • Investor Links maintains a large, alphabetical list with direct links to a firm's website.

 

Business Incubators and Angel Investors

Business Incubators - For entrepreneurs who need lower cost office space, research equipment, and mentoring as their company grows. There are many state-administered incubators, as well as ones associated with universities.

Angel Investors - "Angels" are individuals with substantial equity who choose to invest large sums of money in particular endeavors. Some angels will be found via business incubators, keeping track of new startups.

Business Incubators
Angel Investors
  • Garage.com - Launched in 1998, the company seeks to partner hot projects with either angels, select venture capitalists, or corporate venture-capital divisions. 
  • "Highway to Heaven" is a June 1999 Entrepreneur Magazine article that covers both angel investing and business incubation.

Government Funding for Small Businesses

Government Funding for Small Businesses

Investment Conferences and Fairs

Venture capital fairs or entrepreneurial conferences are sponsored by VC firms, small business associations, or related financial organizations, and give attendees a chance to gain valuable exposure to the industry players. Interactions are more informal than official "pitch" meetings, in part because it's usually not the firm's partners who attend, rather their analysts, who are junior members of staff.

Investment Conferences and Fairs

Selected conferences and fairs:

  • Early Stage East - Primarily for East Coast ventures.
  • Entrepreneur America's Bootcamp - "The Boot Camp in Montana is a major opportunity for selected entrepreneurs to obtain first hand
    coaching on the key areas of their high-tech start-up businesses.
  • Springboard - The "first ever venture capital forum to showcase women entrepreneurs."
  • FASTech, hosted by the editors of Dow Jones's VentureWire, targets segments like online commerce, web apps, security, energy efficiency, et cetera.

Selected Articles, Recommended Periodicals and More

Gathering tips from other entrepreneurs' experiences, without living through their actual highs and lows, is an excellent way to gauge what you specifically need to do in your equity search. Most of the resources below are case studies or contain information about particular companies.

Selected Articles
  • "Soul Proprietor" -- "The saga of SmartRay Network Inc offers a powerful reminder of what real entrepreneurship is all about." An August 2000 Fast Company article.
  • "Capital Questions" from Entrepreneur Magazine (March 1997) helps you determine if "you stand a chance of getting venture capital". Take their test and see how you fare. If you couldn't answer the "Capital Questions" effectively, you're likely not ready to contact VC firms for backing.
  • For inspiration, read, "Got Money?", an overview of Ed Palmer's equity success story with his company SolarAttic Inc.
Selected Periodicals
  • Business 2.0 covers technological innovations and considers itself the "magazine of business in the Internet Age".
  • Entrepreneur Magazine, as its title suggests, targets entrepreneurs. It's available via Business Source Complete and on the first floor of the library.
  • Fast Company strives " to provide a big picture of the New Economy."
  • Red Herring covers the "business of technology" and provides good coverage of startups, venture capital, and entrepreneurial activities.