Venture capital firms raise funds from limited partners and invest this capital into startups or growing companies to help them accelerate growth of the company to an exit that will provide a return on the firm’s investment. Venture firms vary in size of funds under management ($50MM to $1B), the focus of investing stage (Seed, Series A, Series B, etc.) and the targeted industry/markets (life sciences, technology, instruments, energy, etc.)
Similar to venture firms, private equity will invest in a business with the goal of increasing value, through growth, of the company/investment for a return on that investment. Unlike venture, the focus of private equity firms is normally more mature companies who have revenue, teams and defined markets and products.