There are good reasons why owners of young, emerging retail-oriented startups—especially those that need to raise a lot of money to realize their potential—seek venture capital investors. VC investors can offer more than new and growing companies are likely to get from using bank loans, money from friends and family, or maxing out their credit cards. VC investors not only can write bigger checks, they offer experience, connections and expertise that is hard to find elsewhere.

“If you are looking for and positioned for explosive growth, that’s what venture capitalists do for a living,” says Rich Stendardo, CEO of Yottaa Inc., a venture capital-funded e-commerce vendor that works to speed and optimize the performance of desktop and mobile websites. But getting ahold of those funds isn’t as easy as it used to be. The VC market looks very different than it did just a few years ago. While based on historical norms 2016 was a pretty good year for venture capital investments—both in e-commerce …

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