In an hour I'll be speaking on a panel at the Bitcoin & Ethereum Summit. The topic for the panel is ICO vs. VC. As a prelude to the talk, here's a table that compares venture capital (VC) investment with initial token offerings (ITO)/initial coin offerings (ICO) sales:

Rich investors who supply the VCs with capital A wide group of sophisticated members of the public
Costly and lengthy due diligence Very little or no diligence
Person making decision is accountable to other people Person making decision is putting their own money in
Companies pitch investors, usually with 1:1 meetings Companies put information online
Proprietary software and patents are key Open and public software is important
A business plan is essential Software development talent is essential
Investor decisions driven by: fear of losing money Decisions driven by: fear of missing out
Well-developed models and conventions Rapidly evolving models and approaches
Very illiquid investments, rarely results in public trading Liquidity is often fairly quick, (public) resale is common
Local investors, local companies Global everything
Sometimes government subsidized Never government subsidized
Financially and legally complicated Technically complicated
Financial projections are important Financial projects are rarely made
Terms favour investors Terms favour companies
Selling a company's future Selling a company's products

There's no one set course for ICOs and I think the easy acronym obscures important differences. There are variations in VCs, ICOs, and terms. There are obviously some VC-backed companies that develop open-source software, but it's not the bulk of portfolio companies.

All of that said, the above table is a good characterization of the majority of ICOs going on in 2017 (most of which don't involve Canadian companies) vs. the typical VC plan. This table was prepared in the context of a talk comparing ICOs and VCs. I think a more apt comparison would be crowdfunding (e.g. Kickstarter) vs. ICOs. Comparing ICOs and VC investment is like comparing bootstrapping and VC investment. Some founders combine both and they're not often substitutes.