Where do I start?

Cash infusion is likely your primary goals to seek VC funding for your startup. However, you may also be looking for marketing expertise, and/or management or legal help.

  • National Venture Capital Association represents U.S. venture capital community. In addition to a wealth of data on the VC industry, the website provides a number of resources helpful to entrepreneurs. The website also offers free annual Venture Capital Yearbook.
  • Pratt's Guide to Private Equity & Venture Capital Sources the opening chapters of this guide 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.
  • A Beginner’s Guide to Venture Capital from MIT (Sloan School of Business) helps understand how the venture capital industry works and lists factors that entrepreneurs should consider before seeking venture funding.
  • 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 [hyperlink will need to be changed to the hard copy in the library.

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.

American Venture Capital Firms - Whom Do They Fund? What stage funding do I need?

Assessing at what stage of development your start up is—seed, early stage, expansion, and later stage—helps decide the kind of VC funding needed for a business. In 2014, venture capitalist dealt out around $33 billion to American entrepreneurs. The seed stage funding accounted for only 2% of the total investment while expansion stage for 41% in 2014.

Source: PricewaterhouseCoopers/National Venture Capital Association Money TreeTM Report, Data: Thomson Reuters

Government Funding for Small Businesses

U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is a great starting point for government funding opportunities. Allows you to choose a specific SBA office in your area and see what services it offers. U.S. Small Business Innovation Research Program targets entrepreneurs and includes selected grant opportunities.

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.

  • 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."
  • Cornell Technology Venture Forum An event organized by Cornell Center for Technology Enterprises and Commercialization (CCTEC) for inventors and business representatives to present their emerging technologies and startup companies to hundreds of alumni, entrepreneurs, investors, and industry members.

Recommended Periodicals and News Sources

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.

  • 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.

Selected Articles

  • Highway to Heaven is a June 1999 Entrepreneur Magazine article that covers both angel investing and business incubation.
  • If you’re trying to get a general sense of what is happening in the world of venture capital, you might want to consult with the National Venture Capital Association, especially the “For Entrepreneurs” tab. PwC’s MoneyTree site provides aggregate data on what is happening in VC as an industry, including firm and investee specific data, and an ability to search by industry and funding stage. Why do you need to know this? If you’re looking to start a company in a particular sector, it’s helpful to understand the funding trends taking place in your space.
  • “7 Traits That Will Have You Run With VCs and Soar With Angels” - Find out skills and personal characteristics investors prize in entrepreneurs.

Looking to do a more in-depth analysis? Thomson One (use Internet Explorer) allows you to compile funding data by geography, stage, and industry.  Go to Screening & Analytics > Private Equity > Companies & Investors Search > Entities Involved In > select All Venture Capital Deals, All MoneyTree Deals or VCReporter Deals.

Interested in learning more about finding firms or learning more about them?

  • CrunchBase will help to keep you up to date on who is funding what, as well as provide you with firm specific information on the VCs covered.  They also provide great profiles of VC firms. 
  • Entrepreneur magazine features their list of VC100
  • Forbes has a Top Ten list.

Keep up to date by following the news:

Try AngelList if you’re looking for funding. It’s a social networking site for funders and young businesses.You might also want to consider a start-up accelerator. Y Combinator is one well known accelerator. AlleyWatch covers 14 New York based accelerators.

Ready to pitch?

Entrepreneurship Pitch Workbook by Canaan Partners walks you through how to do it.