Today I’m going to give you 3 ways to meet angel investors. Let’s get started:
First a few definitions:
Angel Investors are often the first or close to the first external money into your company after the founder’s money and after maybe some friends and family money.
After founders and friends and family come angel investors, and they’re called angels because they are a gift from God!
They are bringing money to your business when you have very little to show for yourself. Maybe you just have an idea, or you have one customer, or you don’t have a product. Angels are investors who believe in you and your business and fund you through the early stages of development until you can get to the point where maybe you’re profitable, or you’re ready to raise more money from venture investors, or other types of investors.
So, because they invest in companies at the very early stage, that’s why they’re called angels.
So with that definition out of the way, a very common question is, how do you meet these people? Where are they? and how do you meet them?
After raising millions of dollars from angel investors, I’m going to give you 3 ways to do that.
However one more thing first:
Some Essential Context:
Before I tell you how to meet angel investors, I’m going to give you two very important pieces of context. If you don’t have these two pieces of context, everything I say after this is going to be useless and you will not succeed in raising funds from angel investors:
The first piece of context is about your mindset.
It’s very important for you to frame what you’re offering as an opportunity. When raising money you must think about what you are offering as an opportunity.
The opportunity to invest in your company is valuable, because what you’re building is valuable, and therefore the return that the people who invest in your company will get is valuable.
It’s super critically important for you to remember that you are presenting an opportunity and that opportunity is attractive. As an investor someone looking for my money is not attractive, but someone offering me an opportunity is attractive.
So, as you go through this process, remember you have an opportunity and you are seeking partners to invest in that opportunity.
The second piece of context is the idea of warm introductions.
It’s really important to realize that the world of investors and investing in startups primarily runs on warm introductions. A warm introduction to somebody is an introduction to that person through somebody that that person trusts.
If you wanted an introduction to my wife, Kati, and you told me why and I was enrolled, and I made that introduction, that’s right there is a warm introduction. And Katie is very likely to take that meeting when I say, “Hey Katie, this person wants to meet you for this reason, I talked to them and they seem legit”. She’s very likely to take the meeting because it’s a warm introduction.
A cold intro would be if somebody that Katie barely knows emails her and says, “Hey, you should meet with this person”. She’s very unlikely to take that meeting.
In today’s world, we’re more unlikely than ever to take cold intros and cold meetings, and so it’s important to realize that the investor world runs on warm introductions and warm meetings.
So, the way you’re going to meet angel investors is through warm introductions.
And do you remember why you’re meeting Angel Investors? Because you have an opportunity. You have an opportunity that you’re presenting. So those are the two pieces of context.
Ok so now on to three ways to meet angel investors:
One: personal introductions through your own network.
It’s a great practice when you’re raising money and when you’re starting a company to meet with as many people in your network as possible and enroll them in your idea.
Do as many high value meetings as possible. Practice the art of pitching and telling your story and getting people excited about what you’re building. When you meet with somebody and you get them excited, they’re going to naturally say, “Oh, you should meet Bob” or “You should meet Mary” and they’re going to come up in their mind with people that you should meet where their social capital will go up.
If you’re effective at selling your story, these meetings are going to snowball, so you set up five meetings, those five meetings are going to turn into 10 more meetings. Those 10 meetings are going to turn into 20 more meetings. And it just snowballs from there.
It might seem low leverage at the beginning, but you will be amazed once you start doing these types of meetings. Your network will just snowball and you’ll start to get into people who you really want to meet.
You can augment this using LinkedIn by finding out who knows who and looking at first-degree connections. But the best place to start is people who know you and who trust you and just keep going. Just keep networking.
Now here’s an important point when you’re using your personal network to meet Angel Investors, as you do meetings with people, you want to keep them in the loop.
There’s this idea of a personal update or a company update. I advise the companies that I work with to send an update once a month or once a quarter, but have it be regular.
Every time you meet somebody, you put them on your update list and then every month or every quarter you’re going to send them an update and say, “Hey, this is what’s gone on in the business, here’s what we’re working on now, here’s what we’re needing, here’s the beautiful big vision, the thing that we’re creating that’s so exciting, etc”.
As you keep them on your update list, they’re going to continue to know you exist and have you top of mind, and they’re going to continue to potentially make new introductions to you.
As you go, when you launch the product for example, they might at that point feel ready to make an introduction. You might want to circle back around and do another coffee meeting, and if they have been tagging along and keeping up they’re keeping up with the updates that you’ve been sending, they will be more likely to engage.
So, you start to build your personal network, your personal snowball of connections. And you keep them updated. And that’s number one.
Two: Local Angel Groups
Almost every big city has either one angel group or multiple angel groups. Typically, these groups are run by successful business people and executives who want to invest in startups and want to see new companies that are being created in their area. They want to take a personal interest in companies that are created in their region.
This is a great way to meet a group of angel investors locally. And the way I suggest doing this is to find out who runs the group and to invite them out for coffee and start to build a personal relationship with the person who runs the group. Because the fact is that if the person who runs the group likes your company and that is investing, the group is likely to invest.
So build a relationship with the person that runs the group if you can, and eventually they’re going to invite you to pitch. And when you go and pitch, you’ll meet everybody in the room, and if you network with them they’ll introduce you to other people.
Angel groups can be a good way to meet investors. I met a bunch of investors who ended up investing in Kindara at local angel groups, and I’m still in contact with some of those people.
So have at your local angel groups.
If you don’t know AngeList, go to angelist.co and look for angels in your area. You can sort them by geographic location, then head over to LinkedIn and see who’s connected to whom and who you might know and start to network to those angels and start getting warm introductions to them.
On Angel List itself, there’s also a way to get introduced through people you know. So, start building your network on Angel List and then you can network your way to these angel investors in your area.
The thing you might notice is this does take time and it is annoying because it does rely on warm introductions so it will take weeks or months. But if you do it correctly, it will end up with people investing in your company. So, you just have to suck that up and put in the effort, put in the time. And if you do it correctly, it will turn into money in the bank.
So those are three ways to meet angel investors. And I’m going to do another post and give you four more ways to meet angel investors.
If you have any questions or comments or anything you want me to tackle in a future blog, let me know in the comments.
And if you want to go deeper and learn every step of the fundraising process from A to Z and quickly and efficiently raise money for your social impact startup, check out my GetFunded program, where I will teach you how to raise startup funding like a pro.