Venture Capital Advice
Founders are a rare breed. You need perseverance, talent, and a high threshold for risk to create your own company. But then comes the big step- how do you finance your project? Founding a business is like learning the first time how to ride a bike. It may take a few falls to the pavement before you can eventually feel comfortable behind the handlebars.
If you need venture capital, some times people think that all you have to do is to contact one of the general partners at the VC, send a copy of your business plan, and you will be invited to the entire partnership. The truth is that partners at VC firms are inundated with business plans and wherever they go they are approached by want-to-be-entrepreneurs. As a result, they tune out a lot of this “noise” and listen instead to the relationships that they have cultivated over the years. You need to be able to tap into this network, and eventually chain your way to the right partner. First be sure that you might need venture capital at some point or if you know that you can not even launch your business without venture capital.
To help area entrepreneurs better navigate the twists, turns and bumps, there have been a set of blogs launched that provide insights into the world of startups and venture capital. Take a look at TechCrunch , ReadWriteWeb or VentureBeat. Still there are other pages like http://www.seattlepi.com, where features such as venture articles and “Layoff Tracker” can be found.
Here are some tips:
* Start spending time where the venture capital partners hang out. Its not a bad idea to start out a few venture capital websites for information gathering. Also, venture capital partners are typically members of many entrepreneur associations. So first find out what entrepreneur clubs make sense for you to join and attend their events regularly. Since venture capital firms typically focus on certain industries, you must do your research before deciding what organization to join.
* Volunteer for such groups. You will get an opportunity to work with venture capital firm employees on an equal level and it is a great way to develop friendships and connections.
* If you are capable of contributing in other ways, for example, by creating a presentation at a monthly meeting on an area that you know well, do not miss the opportunity.
* Many entrepreneur organizations offer opportunities for mentoring or organize business plan competitions. Make sure to participate in these.
After a couple of months you will be known by others in the industry- who can be a great resource and can also provide you with the right contacts. The key takeaway, its never too early to start planning for your eventual raise of VC money.