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Paying Your Dues

If you're looking for investor money, brace yourself for a rigorous due-diligence process.

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

On the road to building his telecom technology company, Ascendent Telecommunications, founder and president Stephen Forte thought that finding funding was going to be the easy part. It was February 2000, and Ascendent was riding high on the double wave of Internet mania and boundless telecom spending.

Ascendent's product, which marries wireless phones to traditional phone systems, had just been installed at the famous Beverly Hills Four Seasons Hotel. The company had managed to get through its first year in business with some seed capital still in the bank. Moreover, within hours of announcing a second round of fundraising, Forte received a lucrative term sheet from a large East Coast VC.

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