Not all investment is equity investment.
The other responses are correct: for certain types of growth, and certain types of business plans, VCs and angels are the way to go. But in my experience, venture capital is suitable for a much smaller percentage of startups than is generally believed. Furthermore, as Ted pointed out, early stage investment is quite rare these days.
Let's assume for the moment that you've already exhausted the friends-and-family pool. You have a working product -- great! As the VCs used to say to me when I was going this route: "So what do you need us for? Just sell!" Gee, thanks. :)
As you and I know, you actually do often need money to change the trickle of customers into a flood. But if you have a working product and real customers, it is often best to look at other kinds of arrangements to enable you to raise capital in a non-dilutive manner:
- Licensing: Is there a strategic partner out there who would like to include your product in their offering? Often a partner will prepay for a certain number of licenses, giving you the cash flow you need to grow your business.
- Distribution: Is there a geographic region (say, Europe) or a vertical market (say, government) that somebody else could sell into more easily than you? Again, frequently you can get some cash up front in this type of arrangement.
- Customer pre-payment: Would one or more of your customers consider pre-paying their subscription or licensing or maintenance fees in exchange for a discount?
The point is, although venture capital is an important tool in many settings, usually there are other options as well. Make sure you've considered your alternatives before selling off pieces of your business.