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How many companies chasing outside capital actually raise any?

To me this is one of the most fascinating questions you can ask about startup financing. The figure I have been hearing regularly over the past 25 years is that venture capitalists invest in about one in ever 500 companies that approach them for funding.  It should be added that venture capitalists rarely invest in startups. They prefer later stage companies which have proven themselves in the market place.

The success rate for startups chasing angel investors is even more difficult to dig up. My best estimate is that with credible ventures the odds could be as good as one in 200 to as low as one in 400. I admit that I’m pulling numbers out of the air here but this estimate is also based on 25 years of experience with startups. Continue reading