Partner selection in virtual enterprises (VE) can be viewed as a multi-criteria decision making problem that involves assessing trade-offs between conflicting tangible and intangible criteria. In general, this is a very complex problem due to the dynamic topology of the network, the large number of alternatives and the different types of criteria. In this paper we propose an iterative and interactive exploratory process to help the decision maker identify the companies that best suit the needs of each particular project. This is achieved by using cluster analysis to distinguish companies according to some selected features. We present an example to illustrate this approach.