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June 10, 2005

What wannabe VCs need to raise their first fund

Paul Kedrosky has some advise for wannabe VCs on how to raise their first fund:
(Have) some combination of the following:

1. Proprietary deal flow
2. A (good) investment track record, including at least two exits, ideally an M&A and an IPO
3. Previous successful deals on which you pulled the string
4. Namebrand CEOs & entrepreneurs who will vouch for your added value and usefulness
5. Relationships with capital providers
6. Presence & personality
7. A differentiated background
8. Board experience
9. Proposed venture investment market sector(s) in which people are interested
10. Other name VCs who have nice things to say about you
11. A team of similar people

...Finally, people need a reminder on what constitutes "proprietary deal flow". It is not that your Stanford friends will come to you first. There aren't that many of them, and most MBAs are, de facto, not entrepreneurs anyway (why would they waste two years in school?). Nor is it that you know some serial entrepreneurs who have promised you their next deal. You need more than that, whether reputationally-driven or relationship driven, so that you're not just another venture wannabe confusing aggression with what it takes to create a first-quartile IRR in an illiquid and unusual market.

Arun Natarajan is the Editor of TSJ Media, which tracks venture capital activity in India and Indian-founded companies worldwide. View sample issues of TSJ Media's Venture Intelligence India newsletters and reports.