The investment process begins with the venture capitalist conducting an initial review of the proposal
to determine if it fits with the firm's investment criteria. If so, a meeting will be arranged with the entrepreneur/management team to discuss the business plan.
The initial meeting provides an opportunity for the venture capitalist to meet with the entrepreneur and key members of the management team to review the business plan and conduct initial due diligence on the project. It is an important time for the management team to demonstrate their understanding of their business and ability to achieve the strategies outlined in the plan. The venture capitalist will look carefully at the team's functional skills and backgrounds.
This involves an agreement between the venture capitalist and management of the terms of the term sheet, often called memorandum of understanding (MoU). The venture capitalist will then proceed to study the viability of the market to estimate its potential. Often they use market forecasts which have been independently prepared by industry experts who specialise in estimating the size and growth rates of markets and market segments.
The venture capitalist also studies the industry carefully to obtain information about competitors, entry barriers, potential to exploit substantial niches, product life cycles, and distribution channels. The due diligence may continue with reports from other consultants.
The process involves due diligence and disclosure of all relevant business information. Final terms can then be negotiated and an investment proposal is typically submitted to the venture capital fund’s board of directors. If approved, legal documents are prepared.
The investment process can take up to two months, and sometimes longer. It is important therefore not to expect a speedy response. It is advisable to plan the business financial needs early on to allow appropriate time to secure the required funding.