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7 Tips to Score VC Cash Venture capitalists tell us what it takes to win funding in this environment.

By Carol Tice

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

7 Tips to Score VC Cash In the past year, the venture capital funding pipeline has gone from a gusher to more of a trickle. In the first half of 2009, just over 1,200 venture investment deals were made nationwide, involving about $6.8 billion, according to the quarterly PricewaterhouseCoopers/National Venture Capital Association MoneyTree report. That's compared to more than 2,000 deals in the first half of 2008, worth $15.2 billion.

With less venture money flowing--and fewer entrepreneurs scoring cash--what's it take to make the cut? We asked three venture-capital investors to name the key factors that get them excited about a young company. Alex Ferrara of Bessemer Venture Partners , Maneesh Sagar of CT Innovations and Jon Elton of Inovia Capital identify their gotta-have factors for a successful VC pitch.

One important question to ask before you begin pitching: Are you really ready?

Elton says many entrepreneurs don't understand the implications of taking on venture investors. These investors will have an equity stake in your business, have representatives on your board and influence company direction. VC investment also tends to drive the company toward either a sale or initial public offering within five years or so, in order to give the investors a substantial return on their money.

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