What is Venture Capital? What It Is & How VC Works

Image by Freepik

Venture capital (VC) is a key source of investment for software startups and other high-growth enterprises that need capital but may not be able to acquire traditional financing, such as a bank loan. However, not all businesses are suitable for this sort of investment, and it comes at a cost to equity and, in some cases, a loss of company control.

So, what exactly is venture capital, and is it good for your small business? This article will teach you everything you need to know about this type of funding, including where it comes from and who it helps.

What is Venture Capital?

Venture capital (VC) is a type of private equity that invests in startups and early-stage growing enterprises that have little to no operating history but high growth potential. Startups offer ownership holdings to venture capital funds in exchange for finance, technical assistance, and managerial skills.

VC investors generally participate in management and assist young firm executives in making growth-oriented decisions. While startup founders have strong experience in their chosen sector of business, they may lack the skills and knowledge required to foster a growing company, whereas venture capitalists specialise in leading new enterprises.

Other benefits of venture capital are available to entrepreneurs. Portfolio firms gain access to the VC fund’s partner and expert network. Furthermore, they can rely on the VC firm to help them raise further funds in the future.

Venture capital is a type of alternative investment that is often restricted to institutional and accredited investors. VC funds are often invested in by pension funds, large financial institutions, high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs), and wealth managers.

How Does Venture Capital Work?

Venture capital firms invest in innovative businesses in their early phases of development.

In the venture capital industry, there are four sorts of players:

  • Entrepreneurs who are starting businesses and require finance to realise their concept.
  • Investors prepared to take on great risk in order to get large returns.
  • Investment bankers who help businesses sell or go public.
  • Venture capitalists earn from the creation of markets for entrepreneurs, investors, and bankers.

Entrepreneurs seeking capital submit company proposals to venture capital firms in the hopes of receiving finance. If the VC company believes the business plan is promising, it will do due diligence, which includes a thorough examination of the business model, product, management, operating history, and other factors relevant to determining the quality of the business and idea.

A VC firm looks closely at the principals, regardless of how far the business has progressed—everything from their education and professional expertise to pertinent personal characteristics. Extensive due diligence is required in order to make sound investing selections.

If the due diligence process goes well and the business’s growth prospects look promising, the VC firm will give capital in exchange for an equity ownership. The VC firm will take an active part in assisting the portfolio company’s management and capital is frequently supplied in multiple rounds.

Why Do Businesses Seek VC Funding?

Because banks and other traditional sources of finance are too risk-averse to participate in tiny businesses or pre-revenue startups, entrepreneurs frequently turn to venture capitalists. Many successful VC-funded companies have developed rapidly scalable technologies, while an investment in any ambitious startup could be labelled VC.

Unlike other types of financing, where entrepreneurs are only obligated to repay the loan amount plus interest, venture capital money is typically granted in exchange for equity in the company. This assures that if the company succeeds, the venture capital firms profit in proportion to the risk they took. VCs may acquire a board seat in exchange for their investment, giving them a say in the company’s future path.

Venture Capital’s History

Private equity includes venture capital. The primary source of VC funding is venture capital firms. These firms are typically made up of professional investors who understand the complexities of financing and creating new businesses.

Private and public pension funds, endowment funds, foundations, businesses, and rich individuals (both domestic and foreign) are among the sources of capital for venture capital firms.

Limited partners are those who invest in venture capital funds, whereas venture capitalists are the general partners in charge of administering the fund and dealing with individual companies. The general partners play an active role in collaborating with the company’s founders and executives to ensure profitable growth.

VCs demand a high return on their investment in exchange for their capital, which is often provided in the form of a stake in the company. The two parties’ relationship can last a long time. Instead than working immediately to repay the loan, VCs often work with the company for five to ten years before any money is reimbursed.

In the hope of receiving much more than their initial investment, venture capitalists sell their shares in the company at the end of the investment, generally when the company is purchased or goes public.

Types of Venture Capital

Venture capital can be generally classified based on the stage of development of the company receiving the investment. In general, the younger a firm is, the higher the risk for investors.

The stages of VC investment are as follows:

  • Pre-Seed: The first stage of business creation in which the founders attempt to turn an idea into a solid business plan. They might join a business accelerator to have access to early finance and guidance.
  • Seed funding: This is the stage at which a new company aims to market its first product. Because there are no income sources presently, the company will require venture capital to fund all of its activities.
  • Early-Stage Funding: After a company has produced a product, it will require extra capital to ramp up manufacturing and sales before becoming self-sufficient. The company will then require one or more investment rounds, which are commonly marked progressively as Series A, Series B, and so on.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Venture Capital

Venture capital funds new enterprises that do not have access to stock exchanges and do not have enough cash flow to incur debt. This arrangement can be mutually beneficial because firms obtain the capital they need to get started, and investors get shares in promising enterprises.

A VC investment has additional advantages. In addition to investment capital, venture capitalists frequently give mentoring services to help fledgling businesses establish themselves and networking services to help them acquire talent and advisors. A significant VC support might be used to fund additional investments.

A company that takes VC funding, on the other hand, may lose creative control over its future course. VC investors are likely to seek a big share of the company’s stock, and they may also begin to make demands on the company’s management. Many VCs are merely looking for a rapid, high-return payday and may put pressure on the company to quit quickly.


  • Provides capital for early-stage enterprises to boost operations.
  • Companies do not need cash flow or assets to get venture capital funding.
  • Mentoring and networking services supported by venture capital assist emerging businesses gain talent and growth.


  • Demand a big portion of the company’s equity.
  • Companies may lose creative autonomy as investors expect rapid returns.
  • Venture capitalists may put pressure on companies to exit investments rather than pursue long-term growth.

Examples of Venture Capital

You must first determine the type of capital you require before approaching a venture investor. Here are some examples of capital funding:

#1. Start-up capital

This is the investment capital required to do market research and begin the formation of a firm prior to the debut of a business. It also includes the cost of developing a sample product as well as administrative expenses.

#2. Early-stage capital and startups

This is the capital used to hire key management, do extra research, and sell a product or service. Following launch, early-stage capital can assist the company in increasing sales to achieve the break-even point and increasing efficiency.

#3. Growth and late-stage capital

This is money used to grow your business into new items or areas. It might also be used to boost marketing efforts for new items. Capital is invested in expanding a company’s manufacturing capacity, ramping up marketing, and increasing cash flow as it expands.

#4. Bridge financing

Bridge finance is capital provided to a company to help it accomplish a key milestone, such as an initial public offering or merger.

Venture Capital vs. Angel Investors

High-net-worth individuals (HNWIs), often known as angel investors and venture capital firms typically contribute venture capital to tiny enterprises or up-and-coming businesses in new industries. The National Venture Capital Association is an organisation made up of hundreds of venture capital firms that provide funding for creative businesses.16

Angel investors are often a broad set of people who have accumulated riches through a number of means. They are, however, mostly entrepreneurs or recently retired executives from company empires they have founded.

Entrepreneurial investors Several fundamental qualities are shared by most venture capitalists. The majority prefers to invest in well-managed businesses with a well-developed business plan and the potential for significant growth. These investors are also likely to offer to support enterprises in the same or related industries or business areas that they are familiar with. They may have gotten academic training in that field if they haven’t worked in it. Co-investing is another popular practise among angel investors, in which one angel investor invests a venture with a trusted friend or partner, often another angel investor.

The Venture Capital Process

The first step in obtaining venture capital is to submit a business plan to either a venture capital firm or an angel investor. If the firm or investor is interested in the proposal, it must then conduct due diligence, which includes a detailed analysis of the company’s business model, products, management, and operating history, among other things.

Because venture capital tends to spend larger sums in fewer companies, this background research is critical. Many venture capitalists have prior investment expertise, frequently as equity research analysts, while others hold a Master of Business Administration (MBA). VC professionals also tend to specialise in a specific industry. A healthcare venture capitalist, for example, may have previously worked as a healthcare sector analyst.

Following the completion of due diligence, the firm or investor will promise capital in exchange for shares in the company. This money may be donated entirely at once, although it is more common for the capital to be provided in rounds. Before releasing additional funds, the firm or investor takes an active role in the funded company, advising and monitoring its growth.

Following a period of time, often four to six years following the initial investment, the investor exits the company through a merger, acquisition, or initial public offering (IPO).

Why Is Venture Capital Important?

Entrepreneurship and innovation are the foundations of a capitalist economy. New enterprises, on the other hand, are frequently high-risk, high-cost endeavours. As a result, external capital is frequently sought to distribute failure risk. Investors in fledgling enterprises can receive shares and voting rights for pennies on the dollar in exchange for taking on this risk through investing. As a result, venture capital enables firms to get off the ground and founders to realise their idea.

What Percentage of a Company Do Venture Capitalists Take?

VCs often take between 25 and 50% of a new firm’s ownership, depending on the stage of the company, its prospects, the amount invested, and the relationship between the investors and the founders.

What Is the Difference Between Venture Capital and Private Equity?

Private equity includes venture capital. Private equity, in addition to venture capital, covers leveraged buyouts, mezzanine finance, and private placements.

What Does a Venture Capitalist Look for When Making an Investment?

The ultimate purpose of venture capital is to create wealth by investing in early-stage or start-up companies with high growth potential and an innovative, disruptive business model or product. Venture capital firms generally, but not exclusively, invest in companies in the technology sector.

Venture capital assists entrepreneurs in identifying and building a business model that will allow them to bring their product to market, meet a company or consumer need, and create true value. Because the enterprises are new, venture capitalists will take a methodical and comprehensive approach to assessing not only the viability of the business idea, but also the entrepreneur’s motivation and background. Finally, venture funders seek out bright ideas and even brighter entrepreneurs who have the ambition and motivation to see their project through to completion.

Why Are People Interested in VC?

Working in venture capital allows you to meet with founders/CEOs on a regular basis and watch how firms are born, from ideation to obtaining capital to becoming profitable (you also get to learn why startups fail).


Under the appropriate conditions, venture capital may be a potent accelerator for high-growth enterprises. Entrepreneurs that go this route, however, give up a percentage of their revenues and control. Accepting or rejecting venture capital is one of the most crucial decisions a founder or leadership team will make. While this type of finance may not be appropriate for every firm, it has the potential to accelerate growth for the right one.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *