1. With a record amount of uninvested capital, private equity firms are increasingly investing in early and seed-stage startups. This inaugural list of 50 "founder-friendly" private equity firms evaluates them for past deals with founder-led businesses, as well as entrepreneurs' experiences. Those firms include Accel-KKR, which focuses on software and IT-enabled businesses; software and service-focused Alpine Investors; and Berkshire Partners out of Massachusetts, which invests across a variety of sectors, including health care and consumer products. Tom Stewart, executive director of the National Center for the Middle Market, says such firms are doing business with much younger firms than they would have in the past, and are willing to take minority stakes because "they've got to put the money to work." — INC.