If there were two words less likely to be found together, it would be venture and debt. Startups are not credit worthy enterprises. They have little to no assets and no cash flow. Equity is the appropriate way to finance startups.
However, there is a large, growing, and vibrant market for something called Venture Debt. It is indeed debt, largely provided by a number of banks and finance companies who specialize in this market. The terms are usually three years, interest only, balloon payment, with warrants for the equity kicker. Now that I've just thrown out a bunch of buzzwords, I'll explain each of them.
Fred Wilson has been a venture capitalist since 1987. He currently is a managing partner at Union Square Ventures and also founded Flatiron Partners. Fred has a Bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering from MIT and an MBA from The Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. Fred is married with three kids and lives in New York City.