Standing outside of the Mercy Virtual facility in St. Louis on an unusually cold fall day, I was on the phone with two founders who were pitching me on a new blockchain startup. They had a few customers and some early traction, but nothing to indicate product-market fit. And yet, they had raised $3.5 million from crypto investors in an Initial Exchange Offering (IEO) to grow the team and build product. Remarkably, the $3.5 million they raised was non-dilutive, meaning they didn’t have to give up equity in their business the same way you would have to through traditional venture capital. “We’re planning on raising traditional venture because it’s a great time to do so,” said one of the founders. “Our friends have raised at $45 million and $50 million valuations on Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs), and the money’s there.” “Yeah, OK. I get that. Good strategy,” I responded. “But, do you actually need the money to grow the company? What is the use of proceeds?” “If it’s there, let’s take it,” was the founder’s thinking. This anecote exemplifes how, over the past decade, venture capitalists have plowed more than $500 billion into startups, and accelerator programs have proliferated as entrepreneurs from around the nation started looking to take advantage of healthy capital markets. If you wanted to build a startup, many founders believed the first step was to raise venture capital. Unfortunately, the data does not support this contention. Only 1 percent of entrepreneurs are able to raise any form of venture capital. Even more disconcerting, of those that do, only 42 percent are able to raise Series A financing and beyond. Put simply: You do not need to raise venture capital to build a great business. In fact, many entrepreneurs are now refraining from raising venture investment because of both the pressure it places on founders, as well as issues centered on dilution of ownership. Fortunately, there are some clear signals you will encounter indicating as much. Chief amongst these is asking yourself the question as to whether the type of business you are building is “venture backable” or not. Second, you should ask yourself: Just because capital is available, does your business need it? And third, you should look to understand how much dilution of ownership and control you are willing to accept.