Board Of Technologists: Start-Up Your Engines!

It takes a discerning eye and a strong stomach to invest in new companies. Five veterans tell us what's ahead

Venture capitalists are the NASCAR racers of entrepreneurship, injecting fuel--private investment dollars--into new companies that are exciting but may come apart at high speeds. It's a high-risk profession. They have driven important new technologies to market, creating new jobs and new industries. Apple Computer, eBay, biotechnology pioneer Genentech, Federal Express and, most notable of late, Google, all grew out of daring private investments. In the 1990s "suddenly venture capitalists became rock stars," says Mark Heesen, president of the National Venture Capital Association. Since 1970 venture capitalists (VCs) have pumped $339 billion into start-ups; these companies have created 10.1 million jobs and...

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