How do I find potential investors?
Are you ready to stand in front of a panel and pitch for investment that will take your business to the next level?
Maybe you’ve invented a product that solves a day-to-day problem innovatively and you’re ready to take it to market.
Perhaps there’s a huge demand for your services, but you don’t have cash available to pay the salaries that will help you grow your team.
Or maybe you have an idea, and you need backers to monetize.
Whatever stage of business you’re at, chances are you’re probably thinking to yourself:
How do I find potential investors?
You’re in great company.
Every season, over 40,000 American entrepreneurs apply to appear on Shark Tank.
You may even have applied—or thought about applying—yourself.
But contrary to what you might think, there are more ways to connect with potential backers than applying to a TV show.
In this week’s video, I’ll reveal four places to find potential investors outside of a television studio
Watch it now!
Prefer to listen? Click here:
How do you find investors in your world?
One of the things that I hear so often from entrepreneurs is, "How do I even find investors to talk to?" If you watch Shark Tank of Dragon's Den, you may think that you need a screen test or an agent or a flight to New York for you to be able to even get a word in with a potential investor. Don't worry, that's actually not the case. Investors are in every community and they're active. It's still a really important milestone to just sit down and talk to an investor.
Where are they? How do you find them? What happens when you actually meet them?
I'm Kelly Keenan Trumpbour, angel investor and venture capitalist. In this video I'm going to talk about four ways you can find investors outside of a television studio.
Many investors like to have a presence online. They specialize in certain industries. You can look online to see if there are blogs, Twitter feeds, Facebook pages. Some investors, like me, like to have an online presence and they keep it updated. You can at least follow along with what they think and how they approach to just know if you're the right fit to even sit down and talk with them at all, and see if you can maybe find a connection through their social media presence.
Just like Facebook is a way to meet people socially, angels have social networks where they compare deals that they're looking at, analyze companies, and one of those platforms is called Angel List. You can find out about angels who are public about the companies they support, the industries they're in, and whether or not they're looking for more deal flow. Most people think of Silicon Valley or New York as the hot spots of angel investing and venture capitalism, and they certainly are.
In every city across the United States and worldwide, startups have been fueling the economy, and wherever they're active, investors are going to be active.
You can find investors helping out in the communities they want to support in a variety of ways. They'll be upfront as investors at university events where there's business competitions. They may serve as advisors or board members to incubators and accelerators. Just look around your community and any place that there is a nurturing of entrepreneurs, a chance for business to get support, usually there's a couple of investors who are lending their time, their energy, their money to see those programs succeed so that their community succeeds.
Many investors take an interest in their community beyond the startup world.
I know many investors like myself care about charities and nonprofits, and they're active as board members and philanthropists for these causes. If you volunteer for a nonprofit that you care about, see if you can find people on the board who are either investors themselves or know people. Typically these groups track people from financial institutions or successful business people in their own right. It's not uncommon for investors to be active in a philanthropic way as well as a profitable investing way.
I know many investors who got into investing because they ran a successful startup, and now they want to give back. They're still expecting a profit, it's not charity, but having gone through the slog of pitching and getting funding for themselves, they now want to help fuel the next generation of startups. If you know people who have created a business and scaled it using investor money, it's often the case that they turn around and become investors themselves.
Don't rule out the people you know and who are in your own networks.
Somebody usually knows someone in the financial field, the startup field business, and it just takes a couple of questions. You don't have to go straight for the hit of, "Do you know anyone who wants to invest in my company?" You can start slow. Build up by asking things like, "Do we know anyone who works in financial institutions, banks, works on Wall Street, deals with any kind of investible asset?" Then see if they're willing to just talk to you for a little bit and get more specific about what you're really after. Is it angel money? Is it venture capital?
It takes some leads and it'll take a little fishing around, but eventually you might find some hot leads that'll take you to people who are willing to help your company.
I've also noticed that startups can be great assets to each other. As long as you're not a direct competitor, many startups are willing to talk about who were great investors for them, who helped, what networks really made a difference in their game strategy, who are the investors who are willing to sit down and just talk to you, and who are the people who might actually fund you. If you just have friends or colleagues who have started their own companies and you think you're just a few steps behind or nearing where they have been, ask them. Just ask them what their experience has been. The worst they can say is they can't really talk about it, but most times they will. They'll share what they went through and give you their experience.
When you're looking for any kind of investor, whether it's for advice or their money, just remember, they're multifaceted people and you don't have to just look for them in the places that you think an investor lives and works.
These people care about their communities. They do many different things, so think outside the box and imagine these people in all the different roles where you might find them. Then use your networks, use opportunities to go to events that are hosted by universities, accelerators, and just see who you can meet. Ask questions, see if people are willing to introduce you to people. The worst that can happen is you just hear some nos.
If you're persistent, eventually you'll find somebody who can link you to an investor, and hopefully that leads to at least a conversation.
Just make sure that once you find yourself linked to an investor that you do research on who this person is and if they're the right fit for your company. They may not invest in your space, and that's okay. They still might be great to talk to. They might have a great perspective and they may have people who they can link you to. Don't go into a meeting or even a casual conversation with no clue who the person is. Even a little bit of background information will help you in the long run.
If you come up with a strategic plan for meeting and networking with investors, you'll succeed, but it takes some effort and energy to really think outside the box and find the people who are investors, but may not be in the typical places you think they exist in.
Wish there was a step-by-step guide to networking with investors?
Now there is!
Head on over to www.seejaneinvest.com/ultimatenetworkingguide to download your free copy now, or click the link below this video.
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Until next week