10 Ways For Entrepreneurs To Find Investors And Raise Millions


10 Ways to Find Investors For Your Startup

Need to find investors to launch a startup or scale your business? There’s more than one way to approach fundraising and to get noticed by those with the capital you need to get to the next level.

It’s hard to believe, but locating investors is not the hard part of getting funded – in fact, through the process of trying to raise money, an entrepreneur might have opportunities to talk to upwards of 40 to 50 investors, depending on their idea and location.

However, just as it takes a quality idea and pitch to find success, it also requires a quality investor – one who works in the same field as the company, one who is able to shed wisdom throughout the development of the company, one who can come to a reasonable financial agreement that suits all parties involved. And that doesn’t come without due diligence, a well-crafted pitch with a realistic business plan, and a lot of research.

When you’re looking to start raising for your company, consider these five ways to find angel investors, and five ways to find venture capitalists.

Wealth Money Success

No matter how great your product or business idea, how lean you can operate, and how big you’ve grown already, more capital and financial leverage will almost inevitably be a necessity. Even the best funded and hyper-successful billion dollar startups have been engaging in more fundraising rounds than ever before.

Of course, the chances of receiving a random call from some super-sized venture capital firm or the producers of Shark Tank are pretty small. Especially, if you haven’t already attracted some well connected investors. Thankfully, for today’s entrepreneurs, I’ve seen an increasing number of ways startups are getting noticed, found and are connecting with potential investors.

If you haven’t landed the money you want for your next series yet, consider these options and then share a great pitch deck with interested parties to convince them of the potential of your business.

1. Through top-tier business schools

Call the closest university with a strong business or entrepreneurial program. They generally have a strong network of investors and successful entrepreneurs from their faculty, alumni, and guest speakers. Ask them if they might be able to point you in the direction resources.

2. Online Fundraising Platforms

The past five years have given birth to virtually countless online fundraising platforms. They have become highly popular with sophisticated and accredited individual investors, angels, and even banks and funds looking for new ways to deploy capital.

The major platforms run from peer-to-peer lending sites which offer business loans to donation based, debt and equity crowdfunding portals.

For donations you can try Kickstarter or Indiegogo. For equity crowdfunding platforms the most popular platforms are the following:

Even if you don’t use online platforms to raise all the money you want, they can be powerful for getting noticed. The key is finding the right match in a platform for your venture and needs, as well as being realistic about what it will take to make a campaign work.

3. Events

Success in business and fundraising is all about visibility, getting noticed by the right investors, who you know, and who knows you. Attending events is a great way to achieve this. Try to find out who is attending the event ahead of time and schedule meetings to be productive.

This can be pitch nights for presenting your own opportunity and meeting active investors who are there, engaging in coding marathons, or simply getting out to organized networking functions and industry trade shows.

If you are operating an early stage company, you may want to consider attending any of the following events:

To get ahead of the competition and take a more passive route, consider attending other events where your investors are likely to be. Think sporting events, charity fundraisers, film festival and yacht shows.

4. Social Media

Social media can be your best friend as a lean startup or solo entrepreneur looking to test the market, gain traction, and attract investors. It makes it easy to be discovered, and is still one of the most cost effective methods of reaching others.

You can take an inbound approach with your own posts and updates, or take a more active approach with collaborations and leveraging sponsored posts or influencers.

Direct messaging can be powerful too. If you can get the social profile handles of well fitting investors, it might only take one great message to connect with the capital your startup needs. If this sounds like a fit for you, check out this Forbes article with the LinkedIn contact information for the top 50 angel investors based on investment volume.

In the event you need VCs you can always go to Crunchbase and research for those investors that are actively investing in your industry. 

When it comes to social media, here are the most popular channels and how to use them:

  • LinkedIn for cold messages or to seek quality introductions to pass the social proof with guarded investors such as Venture Capital investors. In my opinion, LinkedIn Premium is totally worth for unlocking certain features. 
  • Facebook for meaningful relationships after you have been able to meet with an investor once or twice. It is critical to build the relationship to generate trust. 
  • Twitter for thoughtful conversations and engagement with relevant information shared by the investor

5. Blog

Blogging is one of the most underestimated methods of attracting inbound attention, telling your story, progressing potential investors through the thought process of wanting to invest in you, and remaining visible through each series of fundraising. Even without a website or blog of your own yet, you can publish via Medium or LinkedIn.

Moreover, another good option is to go to the blogs of the investors that you are looking to target. They all read their comments and often engage with responses. Leave a thoughtful comment to get noticed and start building the relationship from there.

Investors that are probably the most active right now on blogs include:

6. Email

Simple emails have proven to be able to get the attention of notable angel investors and VCs. They’ve even be responsible for the launch of some very important and notable startups.

7. Start Sharing Your Product

Fundraising and growth needs to be strategic to be successful. Yet, far too many entrepreneurs and startups aren’t focusing enough on just getting their product or service out there in the hands of customers, influencers, and in turn, in front of investors.

If you can acquire real customers, you will be under less pressure to seek outside money. When you do, you can achieve better terms, from better investors.

If sales are tough, then there are freemium and hybrid business models that can help get your product in the market, and starting to generate some buzz.

8. Crowd funding

With all the crowdfunding platforms available, some with targeted industries such as arts, science, business, startups, and others with angles like
equity investments, loans, and venture networks, those who want to get seed funded have plenty of opportunities to try their hand.

Ideal for companies who are either active participants in their industry (say, a new indie production company who has close ties within the film industry), or founders who don’t mind the bare minimum of guidance, or people who are extraordinarily good at social media and customer outreach, crowdfunding is a viable option to maximize the number of potential views by investors in one go.

9. Your city’s entrepreneurial community 

Perhaps the first thing you should do when you’re ready to take your project out of the garage is to get involved with the other founders around you. Join regional tech and startup groups on Facebook and LinkedIn, attend events, help out with an organizing committee, and meet as many people as you can. And be a human being, not just a pitching machine – ask for advice, but also give advice when you can; talk about struggles in the life of an entrepreneur, and get to know some of the other founders, investors, and the tech community around you.
When you connect with the members of your community as a human first, then you can build stronger relationships and work together to help each others’ companies cross the finish line.

10. Through your industry friends

If you know of other founders of companies similar to you in your industry who have found investors, ask them for their recommendations. As many investors specialize in specific markets, like biotech, retail, travel, or mobile app developing, they tend to find companies through networks. So secure yourself within those networks, do your research on angel investors who work in your field, and try to get an introduction.

11.  Angel investor networks 

Angel investor networks are member-based networks that tend to service by location. They are often operating from a fund that has been set aside by an investment firm to source deals for the network. Applications are prescreened, the angels can retain their anonymity, and founders can find themselves getting offers from up to a hundred investors for one venture (as opposed to going from angel to angel individually).

12. Online 

AngelList, Microventures, LinkedIn, and even Quora can be effective sources to find angel investors. With online resources, be sure that you can establish some sort of credibility. The easiest way is by looking specifically for investors in your own market (so, AngelList makes it easier, as it sorts investors by region or industry).

13. Prove you are market ready

When you’re at the stage to start pitching to VC, you should be established in some way. You could have major name recognition, or your company could have a huge social media presence; your prototype should be working and showing signs of traction.

You should prove that there is a market for your product. Scan your business model and associated numbers through a calculator, and make sure that you can defend your model when you (inevitably) get asked for it. The more risk that a potential investor can see in your company, the less they’ll want to invest in it.

14. Do your research and compile a list

Take an inventory of your immediate network of industry people, and compile a list of investors they suggest that will align with your vision and goals. With thousands of venture capitalists across the country, all you need is a solid list of 30 to 50 who can give you at the attention and capital investment that you’re looking for – and the best come recommended.

Tap into investors in your network, reach out to them in a low-stakes environment, lay out your ideas, ask for feedback, and always incorporate their advice into your next pitch. 

15. Through your mentors

If you don’t have industry mentors, you should consider connecting with a few before you start shopping around for investors. Your mentors see you through significant parts of your journey; they get to know your company, and you as a founder, and also have the experience to offer their guidance to help you navigate the industry.

They could be successful entrepreneurs themselves, or investment experts, or leading influencers in your field. Likely, they will help you to understand what investors are looking for, or even introduce you to some who could be potentially compatible with your vision.

16. Apply to Accelerator programs

Offered by investment firms, seed funds, universities and other large established entities, accelerator programs are found pretty much all across North America. Some of the top accelerator programs are hugely competitive, like YCombinator and Techstars, but the payoffs are big. Basically weeks-or months-long boot camps for the sole purpose of launching a company with classes and talks by highly regarded entrepreneurs,

Accelerator programs are a great way to meet other founders, get real-world guidance from industry mentors, and smooth out some rough edges. Some accelerators offer a seed investment in return for equity, and they usually culminate in a Demo Day presentation in front of an audience of investors.

Looking for funding for your start up can be overwhelming, but these 16 strategies are the ideal place to start.