If you've avoided turning to venture capitalists because you thought they only look at high-tech firms, a finding by The Entrepreneurial Advisory Service of Coopers & Lybrand LLP may make you reconsider.
"We're seeing more venture capital funds that go after low-tech or no-tech businesses, such as manufacturing companies that specialize in certain products," says Sidney R. Andrews, a partner in the Houston office of Coopers & Lybrand. According to Andrews, the increasing number of investors who have significant amounts to spend are leading venture capitalists to seek new, less saturated investment opportunities.
One thing that hasn't changed is investment standards, cautions Andrews. "It all boils down to whether the deal makes sense," he says. "Does it have a concept that applies to a large market share? Will it be difficult for competitors to reproduce? How far ahead of the marketplace is the product? Is there a good management team, and do they know what they're doing?'
To find venture capital funds, Andrews suggests checking Pratt's Guide to Venture Capital (Venture Economics). Also investigate local capital networks, which can be located by calling a nearby university or your state or local economic development department.