I've got nothing new to contribute, but Paul Graham's essay on how to fund a startup is so great I wanted to call it out. I spent months trying to figure this stuff out when I started my company. Very good introductory material on seed funding, VCs, capitalization tables, etc. Some good advice in there, too.
Venture funding works like gears. A typical startup goes through several rounds of funding, and at each round you want to take just enough money to reach the speed where you can shift into the next gear.