Valley of Death

The period between a startup’s initial funding and the end of its runway. If you get through here, you should be OK.

value proposition

A statement a company uses to express why customers should purchase their product or service, including the ways it adds more value than that of alternative offerings.

venture capital fund

An investment fund that puts money behind high-growth companies.

venture debt

A type of debt financing provided to venture-backed companies from specialized banks or non-bank lenders.


A concept applicable to both stock and options, which prevents the recipient from owning all stock or options outright and instead earn them over time. For stock, vesting typically refers to stock that’s earned over time and, therefore, not re-purchasable by the company. For options, vesting indicates the number of options that become exercisable.

How vesting protects companies and co-founders

vulture capitalist

A VC whose operating method is to deliberately take advantage of an entrepreneur’s troubles.