Venture Capital is investment capital provided to new or emerging ventures. It usually very risky because firms seeking such funding have very few tangible assets to provide security, and often have a short (if any) track record of earnings. Venture Capitalists (they call themselves "VCs") take a portion of the shares in your company, often a seat on your Board of Directors, and will try to advise you to prevent you from making preventable business mistakes. The deal is whatever you manage to negotiate/.
Some Venture Capitalists invest just pre-IPO (or "mezzanine") to help a company get a leg up shortly before going public. Others get involved at the "seed stage" to get a working business to grow quickly. Others invest at the "concept" stage, helping a business get their plan to a working prototype stage.
Most venture capitalists are in business to make a profit (aren't we all?), and are waiting for an "ideal" investment to show up before investing any money. They are typically looking for a well-thought out idea, an experienced (not necessarily formally educated) management, protectable ideas, and a solid pan to profitability. Some VCs take a more speculative role and are often called "angels".
For many mall businesses, though, the best source of financing is "friends and family," those who will put their faith in you and your ideas because they know you (and will know you a lot better and a lot longer than any VC usually has a chance to), and will back you with their hard-saved cash. This kind of money is very motivating money, because you hate to lose the investment in you, or you're going to have a lonely old age.
Here are a couple of ideas about Venture Capital sources of funding: Canadian Venture Capital Information: