One of the most common questions I’m asked as the Director of Community for thousands of entrepreneurs is: “How do I find investors?”
And, up until recently, my answer has been an honest “…I don’t know.”
Which is frankly kind of embarrassing.
But, I figured from the sheer amount of asks that I couldn’t be the only one who had no idea where to look, so I began to search for answers. I asked Next Gen members who have successfully raised funds where they found their investors and where they suggest hopeful others look:
1.Signal.nfx.com. Mackenzie Casey advises that there are more connections in your future network than you think, thanks to LinkedIn. The site signal.nfx.com shows you which investors you can be connected to via LinkedIn, utilizing profiles expressing their location, interests, and non-interests. On their homepage, you’ll find your options broken down into industry and types of startup so you can tailor your search.
2.Sign-up for pitch competitions, encourages Emily Levy. Not only do pitch competitions typically offer money as a prize in addition to a great chance to practice your pitch, they can also be an invaluable tool for networking as oftentimes, investors are in the audience. They can be the perfect chance to network with the right people, giving your startup and its opportunity the exposure it needs. [Check out Next Gen’s upcoming pitch competition with Capital One]
3.Kausthub Raj urges founders to take it a step further, and focus efforts at such competitions to networking with the judges. The judges are likely to be investors – or at least know some. They’re well-versed in the business space and trained to recognize a good opportunity when it’s in front of them.
4.Anytime you’re getting in front of new people and networking, you’re taking steps towards finding the right investor. Daniel Pasker shared that he found his first investors simply by making those in-person connections at conferences and events. From there, it was all referral. Remember, investors weigh the team almost as heavily as they weigh the business plan; flash that smile in front of new connections and let them hear the sincerity and warmth in your voice as you talk about your startup. It will lead you to an investor who can truly understand your worth.
5.Chat with other founders in your industry. Jordan Thibodeau advises to simply ask founders who are similar to you, “Who are your investors?” You know that their investors are interested in your industry, and a founder doesn’t lose anything by introducing another founder to their investor.
6.Tweet Tweet Tweet! Surprisingly, David Khandrius shared that VC’s and investors love using Twitter. It’s a great way to do research ahead of time on your investor, because someone’s Twitter profile says a lot about them. What type of projects are they following? Who are they retweeting? This can help you target your search specifically. David told us that VC’s email inboxes are getting hit all day; contacting them via Twitter is refreshing, and an entirely different medium. But, don’t have your first contact with them be an ask! Give, give, give, engage, and then ask. Think of Twitter as just another way to build relationships.
Bonus Tip: Got your first investor? Amazing! Flurin Jenal let us in on a secret; your investors themselves can provide additional introductions to other investors. They’re very likely to have others in their circles and can vouch for your startup with serious credibility.
The journey to raising a round is undoubtedly difficult, but finding investors is half the battle. With these tips, you’ll be pitching and raising in no time – we know your company is worth the investment! Go get ‘em!