An entrepreneur's guide to the venture capital galaxy

Dirk De Clercq, Vance H. Fried, Oskari Lehtonen, Harry J. Sapienza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

144 Scopus citations


This article provides a foundation for an understanding of the dynamics of venture capital from the entrepreneur's point of view. An important aspect of understanding venture capital involves the different sources of risk capital for the entrepreneur, i.e., (classic) venture capitalists (VCs), business angels, and corporate venture capitalists. Furthermore, whatever source of risk capital entrepreneurs choose, they have to take into account the different phases of the investment cycle, i.e., the pre-investment, post-investment, and exit phases. We discuss some of the key issues of which entrepreneurs need to be aware when dealing with venture capitalists during each of these three investment phases. Furthermore, we provide hands-on advice to help entrepreneurs maximize the value of their relationship with VCs throughout the investment cycle, and we point to trouble spots which can endanger value creation. For instance, in the pre-investment phase, the challenges of finding an (adequate) investor, obtaining the right amount of money, and structuring a fair deal are paramount for entrepreneurs. During the post-investment phase, entrepreneurs must attend to managing the relationship with the VC via the creation of effective communication, mutual trust, and the establishment of objectivity and consideration towards the other party. For the exit phase, we discuss the importance of establishing a timely and harmonious exit for the VC. We begin with a brief comparison of venture capitalists in classic venture capital firms with business angels and corporate venture capitalists. The focus of the article, however, is on classic venture capital.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)90-112
Number of pages23
JournalAcademy of Management Perspectives
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2006


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