Venture capitalists are investors who provide capital to startups and small businesses with long-term growth potential. Venture capitalists often charge a higher rate of interest than traditional banks, and may take on an ownership share in the company. Venture capital is a very important source of funding for startup businesses that are unable to raise money from banks or the capital market. Being a venture capitalist is a high risk proposition—startups have the highest chance of failing in the case of which the venture capitalist will suffer heavy losses. However, they also stand to gain a massive return in case these small companies become successful in future. The most successful venture capitalists are those who have the ability to accurately judge the long-term potential of a venture. They look for unique ideas that can be converted into a profitable business before investing their funds. They should have excellent business sense and considerable knowledge of finance and management to be able to judge prospective businesses accurately. Venture capitalists work in a high-pressure environment that often requires long working hours and frequent traveling. Read on to browse through a list of world famous venture capitalists and read their biographies and timelines.