An insider's candid and informative report on the investment professionals who run big risks, in hopes of realizing megabuck rewards, by bankrolling start-up companies. As a consistently prescient backer of high-tech concerns, Kunze has firsthand knowledge of the varied talents it takes to succeed in an odds-against business. By no coincidence, then, his anecdotal account of how he and his fellow venture capitalists strive to separate commercial wheat from bust-out chaff, while keeping typically temperamental entrepreneurs in line until their exotic enterprises can either be taken public or merged into well-heeled corporations, makes a cautionary (if entertaining) tale. Touching on applied sciences that have produced venture capital's more visible triumphs (Apple Computer, Genentech, Intel, etc.), the author focuses on seven situations in which he was actively involved as an investor--and de facto executive. The fledgling firms Kunze chose as case studies all confirm that the venture capitalist's lot is an absorbing, if not always happy, one. By the numbers, the author's exhaustively screened selections included two outright failures, three outfits whose fates have yet to be determined, and a couple of reasonably lucrative winners. Further afield, Kunze offers frank commentaries on the high-stakes game's key players, the chaos that resulted when the supply of available dollars suddenly exceeded the census of investment-quality deals during the mid-1980's, and why Japan Inc., as well as Europe Ltd. continue to lag behind the US in creating wealth by effectively combining seed money with technical know-how. The bottom line: informative perspectives on venture capital and the consequential edge it gives American industry in global markets.