The venture capital market gets a lot of publicity. Despite this, it is also clear that a certain amount of mystery surrounds the industry. In this article, we look at a very simple question – what are venture capital funds looking for in prospective businesses?
The first thing a fund manager looks for is a potential home run. They are willing to invest a lot of money, but only if the potential return on investment is huge. If you aren’t thinking big, don’t bother seeking out this type of funding.
Along this line of thinking, the fund managers are also looking for a product in a growing market. You might have the greatest idea for movie DVD technology in the world, but you are probably going to get little or no VC interest. Why? The market is moving past DVDs to direct streaming solutions, to wit, your idea is antiquated and in a slowing market.
The third element is the ability to quickly recover the capital investment. What does this mean? It simply means the ability to take the company public or sell it in a reasonable time of say no longer than 5 years. Fund managers are in the game to make as much money as possible. Any talk of “growing” a company should only be taken in reference to their desire to get it to the payoff stage as soon as possible.
The fourth characteristic looked for is experienced management. Would you give a couple million dollars to someone who has never done something before? Maybe, but you would feel a lot better giving it to a company with management that has a history of having successfully brought companies to market. If you don’t have strong management, an easy solution is to consider hiring it. It could be the difference between getting funding or not.
Every venture capitalist is different and so are the things the look for in an investment opportunity. That being said, you will be ahead of the game if you nail down the above factors before seeking out your funding.