The Formula For Success

Although 34% of their investments are total or partial losses (see chart), venture capitalists still make money. How? By backing companies with the right ingredients for success, says Don Gooding, director of research at venture capital firm Accel Partners—and he’s talking about more than savvy science among the key ingredients. Last month, Gooding spoke to small business owners in a seminar on how to find venture capital at Federal High Tech ‘89, a government-sponsored conference on federal R&D held in Philadelphia. Venture capitalists seek good science, said Gooding, but “the key tends to be exceptional management.” Do entrepreneurial scientists realize this? “Some do. Some recognize that in order to build a successful business you need people who are good at business as well as research.” But, he added: very rare that you find a scientist who is good at both.”

Science Innovators: Uncle Sam Wants You...

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