Dear Advisor: how do I Meet investors?
I hear you! This is especially true for those of us who are first-time founders – and feel like we don’t have that investor network.
I’ll share the (free or relatively low-cost) ways that I’ve been meeting investors with the goal of building relationships, before offering to mentor their start-ups, sending them deal flow, or working together on AI due diligence.
I’ll assume you:
don’t want to go the precellerator/accelerator route to meet investors as part of the program – or you’ve gone through the program and are looking to expand the network; or are
starting from 0, and can't ask your existing investors for introductions.
Prerequisite: Decide Whom You’d Like to Meet
Do your research to really understand who do you want to meet:
Angel investors, institutional investors, private equity firms, etc.
What investment thesis you would fall under, e.g., B2B AI, CleanTech SaaS, etc.?
I highly recommend the "LA Venture Podcast" to get to know VCs in the area.
Bonus: Completing this prerequisite will also help you when you fundraise.
Meet VCs Who are Panelists or Judges
Pitch fest, whether that’s you or someone else pitching
(Pre)Accelerator Demo Days. Here’s a small selection in the LA area of those that don’t require you to be in the cohort to attend, and are open to the general public (though you may need to apply to get a ticket):
Techstars Demo Day
UCLA Venture Accelerator
AMAs with investors in the "hot seat" on panels, including those hosted by:
Meet VCs through Events Shared in their Newsletters
Newsletters by VCs (or associations), which from time to time will host events for their readers:
Jason Yeh’s newsletter on fundraising
Other newsletters that share events with the community, which may include events that VCs attend:
dot.LA (Please note: I’ll get a shout-out if 2+ people subscribe through my referral link)
Always add value! For example, you can ask investors what would make the event a success for them -- add see if you can help there!
Ask attendees about how they found out about the event and/or what other events they’d recommend :)
Sam Corcos’s advice for "How to Activate your Investor Network” for Lenny’s Newsletter
We've just solved your cold start problem; good luck!
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