In their first years of existence, successful startups follow a well-trodden path, burning through cash reserves to develop a product and capture market-share, before rocketing up to and beyond the point of breaking even. The “J-curve” is a bumpy ride that few conventional lenders or banks have the stomach for. Instead, it is venture capital (VC)—from angel investors to venture funds, and even equity crowdfunding—that provides the kindling.

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