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Seeing Green

Signaling the end of the VC drought, several industries have become fertile ground for investors. So what's the best way to find the right investor--even if you're not in one of those superstar sectors? Start with our 4th Annual VC 100.

This story appears in the July 2004 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Now that the level of investing has stabilized, how should entrepreneurs approach venture capitalists? With sleeves rolled up and potential customers in hand. According to the "MoneyTree Survey" from PricewaterhouseCoopers, Thomson Venture and the (NVCA), total VC in 2003 was $18.2 billion, reflecting a steady pattern of investing of $4.2 billion to $4.9 billion every quarter. A special analysis prepared exclusively for Entrepreneur shows that of a total of 2,200 companies getting VC funding, 515 startup and early stage companies got their first round of funding in 2003-a marginal decline from 2002. On average, these companies received $4.3 million each.

These figures are reason enough for first-time entrepreneurs to be optimistic, but only if they're serious. Tom Siegel, general partner of Shepherd Ventures, a San Diego firm with $50 million under management, lays out the ideal criteria for first-time financing: "What we look for is a completed product, customers or revenue, or the imminence of them." Those are high hurdles, but at the same time, the field has widened.

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