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

It Absolutely

Criterion Essential

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

EXPLORE MORE Private Equity COMPANIESRectangle