This is the second of a series of conversations with local angel and early-stage investors. In December 2019, four investors spoke with the entrepreneurs in our GROW Accelerator, sharing their insights and advice on seeking and securing investment. To discover if angel investment fits your company’s needs, connect with our team.
For any startup seeking the support of experienced investors, conversations about receiving investment require strategic preparation to make the most of the limited face time you’ll have.
It’s not uncommon for entrepreneurs to spend months researching potential investors, practicing their pitches and receiving guidance from advisors before making it to the funding table.
But before your startup can pull up a seat, it has to get through the door.
Here are some best practices we learned from Southwestern Ontario’s top early-stage and angel investors about how to land the investment meeting.
Trust the process.
From the clearly-marked online application form to common courtesy, investor groups typically lay out their processes. With so many deals on their hands at a time, many simply cannot afford the time to stray from process. Don’t overcomplicate the outreach.
Give just enough.
“We’ll ask you for some—no need to give us more.” According to Dennis Ensing, Executive Director of SWO Angels, investors hear hundreds of pitches in a year. As a result, they’ve learned to anticipate the needs of a startup with key qualifying questions.
These questions are crafted to indicate an entrepreneur’s competencies and potential in a partnership, so provide concise, effective information.
Make good use of the resources provided to you. Even if it means finding the right opportunities to be the exception. When it comes to warm outreach, where an introduction or briefing has already been made, Ensing says this is an indicator that a startup deserves time for a meeting.
“If someone I trust emails me, that gets an entrepreneur a meeting with me.” Ensing asserts that entrepreneurs do not have to look far to find the right resources. “Find the contacts. Use TechAlliance. I find it hard to believe that in this community, you wouldn’t be able to get an introduction to us.”
Tap into your strengths and leverage them. Then, assess your weaknesses and leverage the skills of others on your team.
As mentioned in our previous post, the storytelling piece of the pitch is imperative. So don’t be afraid to put the best speaker on your team forward, even if they don’t hold the “Founder” title.
Give it time.
“It takes longer than you think. Twice as long, twice as much.” Davis advises that in meetings that are just as risky as they may be rewarding, entrepreneurs should be prepared for the investors at the table to err on the side of caution when it comes to their capital.
If you’re currently looking for or planning to seek investment for your business, connect with TechAlliance to learn how we can help you identify and secure the right funding.