ASK VENTURE CAPITALISTS WHAT they look for in a potential investment, and they'll say "a strong management team," or words to that effect. But to someone trying to raise venture money, that oftrepeated phrase rings hollow. Is a good team like pornography -- you know it when you see it -- or are there specific qualities to look for? How important are such qualities compared with potential rates of return?
A survey done by New York University's Center for Entrepreneurial Studies examined those issues that venture capitalists feel can make or break a deal.
% Who Think
Capable of sustained effort 64%
Thoroughly familiar with market 62
At least 10 times return in 5-10 years 50
Demonstrated leadership in the past 50
Evaluates and reacts to risk well 48
Investment can be made liquid 44
Significant market growth 43
Track record relevant to venture 37
Articultes venture well 31
Proprietary protection 29