There are several definitions that can be used to characterize venture capitalists. A few definitions are given below:
Venture capitalists are professional investors who specialize in funding and building young, innovative enterprises. Venture capitalists are long-term investors who aim to take a hands-on approach with all of their investments and actively work with entrepreneurial management teams in order to build great companies.
A venture capitalist is a speculator who makes money available for innovative projects (especially in high technology).
A venture capitalist is a term used of an investor who provides capital to either start-up ventures or support small companies who wish to expand but do not have access to public funding.
Venture capitalists are a heterogeneous group. Some are former operators of businesses or successful entrepreneurs while others are career financiers. There is debate about what qualities and qualifications make for a successful venture capitalist but of course, there is no consensus on this.
The Princeton Review offers the following high level insight into the background of a venture capitalist. They contend that venture capitalists and investors need strong business backgrounds to be able to sort the golden investment opportunities from the chafe.