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October 14, 2012

How to Build a List of Venture Capitalists

In this tough environment for new business funding, you need to cast a wide net – and you also need to cast it in the right direction. Not only do you need to be able to make a compelling case for your business, you need to know who to make your pitch to. One of the best things to do before you begin your search for financing is to develop a list of venture capital firms who are the most likely to be interested. You can either buy a list of venture capital firms or write your own if you’re willing to do your own research.

The internet is the best place to begin your search, since virtually every venture capital firm in the US can be found online. Once you have a list, it’s time to narrow it down to the most likely prospects.

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Begin with finding which venture capital firms are located in your area (within a few hundred miles) and then narrow it down by which industries these firms tend to invest in. If you contact firms which invest in your sector, you’re much more likely to receive the funding you need.

Next, look at which stage of business these firms usually invest in. Some specialize in investing at the very beginning stages, others at the pre-revenue stage, others only once the company is operating in the black. Keep the stage of your company’s development in mind and edit your list accordingly.

When you’ve gotten your list down to venture capital firms which seem like a good fit, the next step is to research the partners in these firms. Look for information on the backgrounds of firm partners; if you see individuals with experience in your industry or backgrounds which are similar to your own, these firms are likely to be good prospects.

Also look at the portfolio of each VC firm you’re interested in. If they’ve already invested in companies in your industry, there’s a good chance that they’ll do so in the future. Especially if your business complements one in their portfolio, this is a good sign. If the firm tends to invest in larger companies, they may not be interested in a smaller company like your own. Similarly, if you’re in search of C or D round funding and need a larger investment, a smaller VC firm might not be a good fit.

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If you want funding, you need to begin by finding potential sources of financing. Do some research to find the VC firms which are the most likely to back your company. You may not find a 100% perfect match, but the better prepared you are, the better your chances are of getting the financing your company needs.

Peter

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