So you want to raise funding? Either an angel round or a Series A round, from the HOT investors. An angel or VC fund in either New York, Boston or Silicon Valley? Yes, there have been cases where entrepreneurs have gone to the “Send me your pitch” page, and emerge with bucket-loads of cash ready to build a global business. But I believe these are few and far between!
When we were building Clicks2Customers, Vin, Llew, and myself use to travel to the States often! We attended Affiliate Summit, PubCon, AdTech, Search Engine Strategies and plenty of other conferences. We became friends with people. And when we weren’t travelling, we were interacting – commenting on people’s blog posts. (and if Twitter had been around in those days, we’d have been using that as well)
By now you should have figured out, that when I say “only friends of Dave McClure raise funding”, I’m obviously not referring to…
…only building a relationship with Dave McClure. It could be Dave, or it could be one of the other hundreds if not thousands of angels and VC’s just like Dave.
But the best way of getting funding is to get to know people – if you can, get over to the events happening EVERY DAY in the hot hi-Tech spots. If you can’t travel, interact – don’t post stupid one line reply’s on their blog’s or meaningless twitter reply’s – REALLY think about what they are saying, and whether you agreed or disagree – ENGAGE MEANINGFULLY!
The key is to find 1 or 2 people who are influential, and build up a relationship with them, so that they’ll either fund you themselves, or intro you to the right people who can fund you. And these guys are ALL connected!
If you want to see HOW connected, take a look at http://angel.co (Brilliant Site if you want to see a tasting of how many hi-tech angels there are. Check it out)
It lists hundreds of influential angel investors, and their companies, blogs, twitter, linked and facebook accounts and WHO THEY LISTEN TO when they decide to invest. Look at Dave McClure’s profile on the angel.co site:
Entrepreneurs can get referred to me through these people (I listen to these people)
Jeff Lawson, Twilio
Hiten Shah, Kissmetrics
Rashmi Sinha, SlideShare
Dave Schappell, TeachStreet
Brian Phillips, Thread.com
Aaron Patzer, Mint.com
Lukas Biewald, Crowdflower
Leonard Speiser, Joonto
Rich White, UserVoice
Ken Lin, Credit Karma
Oren Michels, Mashery
So Dave is talking to all those guys to find out what they think both about your concept and about you. Thought facebook was a “six degrees of seperation”? Angels & VC’s in Silicon Valley are more a “2 degree of seperation”. And if you need funding you need to have an IN to those 2 degrees.
1. Get on the next flight to the States, and attend some conferences where the angel’s and VC’s hang out, and the restaurants they network at. (GET OVER TO BIN 38!)
2. If you can’t get over there, to meet them face to face, ENGAGE through SOCIAL MEDIA. (and remember to rather not engage if your interaction is not QUALITY!)
3. Don’t pitch your business idea – rather just INTERACT!
4. Don’t only READ their social media posts (blog postings, facebook postings, twitter postings etc), as you’ll see a 1 dimensional side to them. Try find video postings of them. Yesterday, I watched Dave McClure discussing & debating with David Hornik (who appears to be one of the NICEST guys in the space!) from August Capital in a TechCrunch.TV clip – “VC versus the Angel smackdown”. Want to know who butts in when they talk, and who swears a LOT? Watch the clip and you’ll get to see character traits.
Disclaimer: I haven’t discussed our “Crowdsourcing Social Network” Start-up venture with Dave yet, as I’ve just started taking my own advice and don’t want to pitch yet. So for others, other than Dave (who i’m building a relationship with first), check out evly.com
P.S.: I’m putting together a twitter list of people that you should be interacting with to “FOLLOW THE MONEY” – if you’ve got more names to add to the list, please tweet me at @EricEdelstein
UPDATE: ONLY ENTREPRENEURS – All the comments appear to be from ENTREPRENEURS. All the angels & VC’s I asked to comment declined. All I want to know is “What is the better way of pitching? Building a relationship via face-2-face at conferences / interacting with social media OR applying the traditional way via the company websites?”
UPDATE 2: DAVE VISITED – I’m honored that Dave himself checked out this posting (see pic below) BUT I’m upset you didn’t leave a comment, Dave? What did you think of the posting? When I mentioned Robert Scoble in a posting 3 years back, he made my day by commenting “And now I’m commenting on your blog! Funny how this all works, isn’t it?”
(left to right: Visitor x, Dave McClure, Visitor y)
UPDATE 3 – WHY DAVE? - I could have chosen any of the Silicon Valley Angels to discuss my point, but I picked Dave’s name out of the hat due to his energy, passion, and attitude displayed on the “Angel vs VC smackdown” show on TechCrunch.tv which I watched yesterday.