It is not always easy to break into the VC/angel investor network. Founders often ask how they can develop the right network of contacts to help them raise a seed round, which is crucial at this stage. During our recent QuickLaunch University webinar, Jere Doyle of Sigma Prime Ventures made it clear that as an investor, it’s all about who you know:
“Get introduced to the people writing checks in your space … I very rarely will answer a cold email—because I figure if you’re not good enough to get someone to introduce you to me, then you probably are not my kind of entrepreneur.”
It is important to know your audience. Do your research on the angels, the seed funds or the accelerator that you’re thinking of approaching. Make sure that they play in your space and understand your business.
It is also important to understand who is investing in companies that are in a similar stage of development. You may find yourself talking to people who invest in your space, like your company and technology, but are not focused on early-stage companies. Do your diligence to determine which investor groups are best for you and rely on your network to gather additional intelligence. Your lawyers, accountants, bankers and other advisors can also help you to build a list of the most promising potential investors.
Above all, you have to put yourself out there—start attending networking events and meetups (and there are many!) and have conversations with others in the startup ecosystem. The entrepreneurial communities in most major hubs are extremely well organized and full of interesting network multipliers and potentially game-changing introductions. Be sure to make an impression with the right people who are either investing in your space or can make introductions. Nothing ventured, nothing gained!