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What is the best way to get in front of an Angel investor?

Bryan Frey's Profile

If I have a company that needs a small, early stage investor, what is the best way to find and present to Angel investors?

Answers

Topic Expert
Bruce Schechter
Title: Principal
Company: The Schechter Company, LLC
LinkedIn Profile
(Principal, The Schechter Company, LLC) |

The answer to this question is absolutely simple, and takes three words: "Use Your Network".

Overwhelmingly, angel investors give preference to opportunities that come to them via trusted colleagues. And many angel investors will not even look at a deal unless it came in via their network - else straight to the delete key.

If it is not obvious to you that you have a connection one hop away (i.e., a friend of a friend), then you need to do some homework. Make phone calls to all your most trusted (and most networked) friends, advisors, former colleagues, etc. Ask them which of their connections are investors, or are connected to investors. Even better, start with LinkedIn, search for friend-of-a-friend connections to individual investors or angel groups via every form of search query you can devise. Fundraising is a result of persistence, as much as it is a result of a good story. Speaking of which...

Be sure that you have two basic armaments in place before you start:
1) A one paragraph, well rehearsed, well tested "elevator pitch". When I say tested, I mean to try it out on 20 trusted friends, and you are done when they say "I get it" and can repeat it back. Use this in the body of emails that your friends will use to introduce you to investors, and use this as your lead in phone calls asking for intros. Best not to tell long stories full of detail, as they wont likely remember the details anyway.
2) A one-page Executive Summary. Make sure you do not dwell on product description alone. That is only 25% of the story. Focus on market sizing, unique differentiation, "Go To Market" plans, and team qualifications. Did I say "Go to Market"!? Focus on that in particular. Investors know that the majority of the time, if a startup fails, it's due to inadequate sales/marketing strategy and execution, so you need to shine there.

Of course you'll need a solid PPT deck as well, but that won't matter until you get in front of investors. Please, please, keep it simple, and avoid unnecessary jargon and detail. As a starting point to preparing that deck, I recommend this classic from Guy Kawasaki:
http://blog.guykawasaki.com/2005/12/the_102030_rule.html

Best of Luck.

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