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Absorptive Capacity

Absorptive capacity is a firm’s ability to identify, assimilate, transform, and apply valuable external knowledge. Put another way, absorptive capacity is a limit to the rate or quantity of scientific or technological information that a firm can absorb. Conceptually, it is similar to information processing theory, but at the firm level rather than the individual level. Absorptive capacity was introduced by Cohen and Levinthal in 1990. [Source: theorizeit.org]


Accelerators are institutions that “accelerate” the growth of new ventures. The prerequisite to enter an (usually time-limited) acceleration program is a working prototype and initial traction on the market. By providing specific services, resources and contacts and accelerator enables the new venture to grow its business (i.e. increase its users/customer base, generate more profits) and to professionalize its organization in order to lay the foundation for scaling of the business. [Source]

Acceptance Testing

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Advisory Board

A group of external advisors to a private equity group or portfolio company. Advice provided varies from overall strategy to portfolio valuation. Less formal than a Board of Directors. [Source: FundingSage]

Angel Fund/Group

A formal or informal assemblage of active angel investors who cooperate in some part of the investment process. Key characteristics of an angel group are: control by member angels (who manage the entity or have control over the entity’s managers), and collaboration by member angels in the investment process. [Source: FundingSage]

Angel Investors

Angel investors invest in small startups or entrepreneurs. Often, angel investors are among an entrepreneur’s family and friends. The capital angel investors provide may be a one-time investment to help the business propel or an ongoing injection of money to support and carry the company through its difficult early stages.

Angel investors provide more favorable terms compared to other lenders, since they usually invest in the entrepreneur starting the business rather than the viability of the business. Angel investors are focused on helping startups take their first steps, rather than the possible profit they may get from the business. Essentially, angel investors are the opposite of venture capitalists.

Angel investors must meet the Securities Exchange Commission’s (SEC) standards for accredited investors. To become an angel investor, one must have a minimum net worth of $1 million and an annual income of $200,000. [Source: Investopedia]

Associates & Analysts

These individuals generally take on a wide range of supportive functions at a venture firm. Many Associates are hired out of top MBA programs, but some firms prefer to hire individuals before they’ve gone to business school. Associates generally stay at a firm for 2–3 years and then go on either work at a portfolio company, start a business, get their MBA, or in some cases get promoted inside the firm. [Source]