VentureTrack:Bill Gate's Girlfriend

Spencer Kluesner spencer at
Wed Mar 18 19:35:29 EST 1998

found at:


March 16, 1998 

Inside info on venture capitalists released 

Entrepreneurs can tap database for ways to get VCs' attention 

Dennis Taylor Business Journal Staff Writer 

Entrepreneurs wondering how to get their foot in the doors of Silicon
Valley venture-capital firms now have a potentially powerful ally. 

Denver-based DataMerge Inc. has released a database called 
VentureTrack 2000, which profiles the equivalent of 10,000 pages
of inside information on VC firms.  VentureTrack's database contains
information on 500 venture companies in the United States and Canada,
including most of the larger firms in Silicon Valley. 

Nearly one-third of the $12.2 billion invested by venture firms in
the country flow into the valley, and nearly 70 percent of that finds
its way to the South Bay, according to accounting firm Coopers & 
Lybrand LLP's 1997 Money Tree report. 

DataMerge is marketing the software package for $495, but may
boost that introductory price later  this year.  

The VentureTrack database includes overviews of each firm, 
such as what type of industry it is investing in, how many companies
constitute its portfolios and how much money has gone into its
newest funds. 

It the profiles also contain tidbits that entrepreneurs likely couldn't 
get elsewhere. 

For example, if you want to get your business plan into the
hands of Michael Laufer, a physician and a partner at Menlo
Park-based Menlo Ventures, you might start by reading his personal
biography in VentureTrack. It goes back to his days at Stanford 
University, when as a graduate student he already showed signs
of being a brilliant entrepreneur. 

If you're a fan of TV shows "ER" or "Chicago Hope," you might
have noticed those clear shields worn by emergency room staff 
to protect themselves against toxic chemicals or biohazards. 

Dr. Laufer developed them while still studying medicine. 

The profile suggests that those trying to woo Menlo Ventures 
should "develop some connections with Stanford University. 
All six general partners, with the exception of founder H. Dubose
Montgomery, have at least one if not two or three degrees
from Stanford." 

In addition, VentureTrack will tell you that while the partners 
are "laid back," they are also pragmatists. 

"Laufer wants to get someone who, like himself, can be a good
public persona and a good salesman for the company," the 
profile advises. 

Dr. Laufer did not return phone calls to see what he thought 
of the profile, but DataMerge CEO Douglas Nurenberger said 
the feedback from venture firms has been positive. 

"We used venture capitalists in our focus group when we 
were developing VentureTrack, and they  liked the fact that 
entrepreneurs would be able to focus on the firms that are
best matched with their product," Mr. Nurenberger said. 

John Reher, general partner at Medicus Venture Partners
in Menlo Park, believes the data might  benefit both entrepreneurs
and venture firms, as long as it remains relevant to the firm 
and not veer too far into the partners' personalities. 

"We really get to know the background of companies 
under consideration," Mr. Reher said, adding that "we 
volunteer background on us as well." 

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