Be profitable. Businesses that tend to be more profitable have lower levels of VC ownership. For instance, ecommerce and hardware, both of which are sectors which tend to generate cash, had median VC ownership levels of 40% and 42% respectively.
Tier 1 VC are real. Certain VC showed up on the list repeatedly. Frequent appearances were made by Benchmark, Sequoia, Greylock, Bessemer, and Khosla, among others. Indeed if you can raise capital from the names on this list, you’ll have someone in your corner that has shepherded companies to the promised land before. Arguably the odds of success (defined as going public/exiting) increase.
Where it the rest of the equity? If VC own on median 52%, that means the rest of the equity is owned by founders, employees via stock options, companies you’ve acquired along the way where part of the price was paid in stock, warrants to lenders, board members, consultants for their services, etc. Little grants of equity here and there add up. Be stingy.