Looking for investment for your startup can be a daunting task. Many of the founders we work with despise ‘selling’ themselves and have also been intimidated by the world of the Venture Capitalist.
I’m here to tell you that it’s not that scary, nor is it the elitist arena that it is sometimes perceived to be.
In this blog post, I’m going to throw around a few ideas on how to get in contact with people that may want to invest in your company using two of the biggest social media platforms out there that you’re already very familiar with.
Love it or loathe it there is a lot of value that it brings. In the search function, simply type any of the following words/phrases:
- VC/Venture Capital
- Private Equity
- Family Office
- Seed Investor
You can then sort the people results by 1st, 2nd or 3rd-degree connection.
By limiting your search to only the 1st and 2nd-degree connections, you will either have direct contacts already, or someone in your network can introduce you, which will be the warmest way to get in touch with a potential investor, as opposed to a ‘cold’ approach.
Now you have your search results you can gather a definitive list of company names and individuals to approach with your investment opportunity.
Approaching investors on LinkedIn without an introduction will likely mean you join a long list of other companies simply looking for money.
We would always recommend spending time getting to know what business types these investors are interested in, and what types of people they are.
Explore their posts and articles on LinkedIn and engage with that content. Don’t just ‘like’ or ‘share’, but actively comment and have an opinion.
This is not about selling your idea to them on a public forum, this is more to allow the investor to see that you add value or are a domain expert in a space that they are enthusiastic about.
Once you’ve been doing this for a few weeks, simply send a connection request explaining who you are and what you do. (refrain from pitching for the time being).
Now you’re connected to the ones that have accepted, you have the ability to ask some sensible questions about them and their business, but please make sure you don’t immediately push your company on them.
Here are some questions that will help you understand if you will meet their criteria:
- Ask them about their existing portfolio
- What sectors are they focussing on
- Typical investment sizes
- What do they look for in founding teams
- How they like to receive information from companies looking to raise
- How best to submit that information for consideration
Much like selling, when you have the information about their wants and needs, you can fit the brief and follow the basic instructions they provide you with.
Once you have a relationship, it is much easier to be remembered and recommended too.
Investment groups and individuals are highly active on Twitter.
The great thing about Twitter is that you can categorise the people you follow by adding them to a curated list.
Simply create a list by giving it a name and a description (eg. Investors who invest in software companies). You can then opt to keep this list private to only you or allow other people to ‘follow’ your list. This is entirely up to you on which option to tick.
When using Twitter you are able to complete keyword searches. Just as you completed the searches above on LinkedIn, repeat those search criteria “Investor SaaS”. You can then use an Advanced Search feature to truly narrow down your audience.
This will take some trial and error, but be creative.
Once you have your results, simply click the ‘People’ tab to show a list of everyone that meets your search criteria. Pretty simple really.
So now you can go through each profile and add them to your list if they are the people you want to approach.
As your list expands, you can watch this list away from your main feed so you can get a feel for who the active profiles are.
Similar to LinkedIn, engage with content and offer opinions and feedback. Promote their ideas and tools, and do it all without the agenda of raising money, but with the agenda of getting noticed and adding value.
They are there to help. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
There are clearly many other ways of engaging an investment community or individuals, but most business professionals will be using LinkedIn and Twitter, and it is an activity that you can start immediately.
We support our clients in getting pitch-ready and can open the doors to our existing investor network too, but there is a lot that you can do for yourself.
Relying on a single source of introductions is never recommended by us, hence the reason we will never look for an exclusivity clause in our agreements with clients.
We are fighting your corner the whole way.
Get in touch with us if you’re looking to get ready for a raise and we can talk through your plans and point you in the right direction.