Updated: Jun 23, 2019
Have you ever wondered where you should look to find investors to launch a start-up or scale your business? There’s more than one way to do this to get noticed by those with the “moolah” you need to get to the next level.
No matter how great your product or business idea is, how big you have grown or how much you already have in the bank, more capital and financial leverage will help to keep you going strong. Even the best funded and hyper-successful billion-dollar start-ups have been engaging in more fundraising rounds than ever before (ask Uber).
As we share with start-ups who are clients of MBTN Connect, where we help them with all aspects of their marketing and fundraising efforts, having enough working capital and runway to get to your next milestone is crucial to giving your business the chance to live to its full potential.
If you haven’t landed the money you want for your next fundraise yet, consider these options and then share a great pitch deck with interested parties to convince them of the potential of your business.
1) Online Fundraising Platforms
There are loads of online fundraising platforms which have become popular with investors looking for new ways to deploy capital.
These platforms range from peer-to-peer lending sites which offer business loans, to donation based, debt and equity crowdfunding portals.
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 for your venture, as well as being realistic about what it will take to make a campaign work.
Success in business and fundraising is all about visibility, and attending events is a great way to achieve this. Try to find out who is attending the event ahead of time and if possible, schedule meetings in advance to be productive.
The event types range from pitch nights for presenting your opportunity and meeting active investors who are there, to conferences, networking and investor field trips.
If you are an early stage start-up, you might want to consider attending any of the following events:
3) Angel Investment Networks and Groups.
You may also contact an angel investor, investment network, or angel investor group directly to pitch them your idea. This may seem like the simplest way to meet an angel investor, but it’s also the least effective. Angel investors usually screen ideas before even looking at them, and unless you have a connection or advocate with an individual or in a network, your contact request will probably be lost in the thousands received each day.
4) Social Media
Social media can be your best friend as a lean start-up 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 start-up needs.
If 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. As previously mentioned, cold outreach to investors is not a very effective way to get a response.
Twitter for thoughtful conversations and engagement with relevant information shared by the investor.
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 stage of fundraising. Even without a website or blog of your own, you can publish via Medium or LinkedIn.
Another good option is to go to the blogs of the investors that you are looking to target. They typically read their comments and often engage with responses. Leave a thoughtful comment to get noticed and start building the relationship from there.
6) Mutual Contacts
This is one of the most popular and most effective ways to meet new investors.
Some investors tend to avoid the spotlight, so it’s hard to meet them in person. Meeting them through a mutual contact is the only way to get an introduction. Others network like crazy, and even if you miss them at a networking event, it won’t be long before you meet someone who happens to know them.
Either way, meeting them through other people is the best way to get in contact. What types of people can introduce you to investors? It could be a colleague, neighbour, family member or even a stranger -- you just never know. Therefore, it’s in your best interest to use all the strategies here to meet as many people as possible and keep them in your network.
7) Apply to Accelerators
Popular start-up accelerator programs always have an open invitation for applications from serious entrepreneurs. If accepted, you’ll likely get introductions to investors, business advice and help in staging future fundraising rounds. Just make sure you know the terms and look for a good fit before you apply or accept the help.
Typically, accelerator programs include a demo day, where the start-ups attending the program pitch to a crowd of investors. MBTN Connect recently launched an accelerator program for Africa focused start-ups, which is a great place to start.
8) Start sharing your Product
Fundraising and growth need to be strategic to be successful. Yet, far too many entrepreneurs and start-ups 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.
Remember, MBTN Connect is committed to helping you scale your start-up, so if you’d like some advice or help with fundraising, attracting new customers, or growing your business in general, book a FREE appointment with us here.