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How do I actually meet investors?
Good question - well, if you are on this site, you're on the right path. Many investors can be found on the internet. But if you type in the word INVESTOR you get 5 million sites....
There are other ways as well. Go to an investor related event. There are plenty of them around, and new investor event companies are popping up every day - It seems to be the new trend. Some events are better than others, some are a complete waste of money. You should search for an event thats right for you. Events are a great way to be in the same room as an investor and get a chance to give your elevator pitch. I know of several financings that have come as a result of venture events (including the ones hosted by FundingPost)
There are other ways as well - there are Online listing services. Some people say they dont work, some say they do. I know I see a lot of introductions made through mine. (an average of 1 every single day)
You can also go the Broker Route. But you gotta be careful. There are a lot of brokers who charge hefty retainers - upwards of 10k a month!) and do nothing. If a broker wants a large monthly, and a large success fee, I suggest getting another quote....
Heres something not to do. Dont blanket fedex your business plan to 300 VCs you found on google. It doesnt work. They will just go in the trash. Same goes for email.
VCs and Angel Groups get thousands of plans a year - Most of them are unsolicited. None of them get funded. You need to be introduced through a qualified source. Does your law firm know of any VCs? Your accounting firm? These people are usually good referral sources. Another great referral is one from another VC! Remember, investors are often friends with other investors.
Sometimes at our events an entrepreneur comes up to me and says that the investors in the room arent interested in his idea. I usually send that person back to ask each VC what other firm he should contact that may be interested. Usually that entrepreneur goes home with a few really good leads.
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Remember, I may not always know the answer, but I always have an opinion.
The answers I give are my opinions only. You should consult a lawyer before doing anything.
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Responses to the above:
Your information is straightforward and down to earth... refreshingly so! - Leslie P.
I agree with everything you mention in this article. As one that works with both entrepreneurs and investors daily I also like to add a couple of point for the entrepreneur. First: Make sure that you have a single page summary about your company, and a complete business plan, with charts, graphs, and realistic financials in your briefcase. Second: PLEASE!!!! If you are selling stock make sure that you have ALL of your compliance documents with you. The 3 most common problem I have with entrepreneurs when I am representing investors are: A poorly written business plan (for example the business model doesn't make sense, the financial projections are unrealistic, huge management team gaps that have not been addressed, entering an industry where the management team has little or no experience, and the entrepreneur is not able to tell me exactly who is company is, what problem has the solution for, what is the result if nothing is one about the problem, and what is in it for the investor(liquidy strategy) Lack of compliance documentation. The general attitude of 'trust me, just give me the money and I will make you rich.' Okay so much for my two cents. I enjoyed your article, and will be back to read more. http://www.templarllc.us - David N.
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