There is quite a variety of types of venture capital firms. They include:
Traditional partnerships -- which are often established by wealthy families to aggressively manage a portion of their funds by investing in small companies;
Professionally managed pools - which are made up of institutional money and which operate like the traditional partnerships;
Investment banking firms - which usually trade in more established securities, but occasionally form investor syndicates for venture proposals;
Insurance companies - which often have required a portion of equity as a condition of their loans to smaller companies as protection against inflation;
Manufacturing companies - which have sometimes looked upon investing in smaller companies as a means of supplementing their R & D programs (Some "Fortune 500" corporations have venture capital operations to help keep them abreast of technological innovations); and
Business Angels - Privates willing to invest in innovative products and services while they help in management issues.
In addition to these venture capital firms there are individual private investors and finders. Finders, which can be firms or individuals, often know the capital industry and may be able to help the small company seeking capital to locate it, though they are generally not sources of capital themselves. Care should be exercised so that a small business owner deals with reputable, professional finders whose fees are in line with industry practice. Further, it should be noted that venture capitalists generally prefer working directly with principals in making investments, though finders may provide useful introductions.
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