The Ultimate Guide on How to Find an Investor and Get a Meeting

Which is harder – finding an investor and getting a meeting or closing the investment? You might get different answers from different Founders. This guide was put together to give you tips and best practices for finding and approaching investors to increase your chances of getting a meeting. 

 

If you have any further questions or need help putting together any of the materials, talk to me!

 

Do your Homework First:

  • Research your Potential Investors  Before you start sending out messages or asking for intros, get to know them. Important things to find out:
  1. What vertical do they invest in?
  2. What stage do they invest in?
  3. What geographical region do they invest in? (No point reaching out to investor
  4. Who’s in their portfolio? (make sure there are no direct competitors)
  • Go to their LinkedIn, Blog and Website  Get to know the investor or firm. How do they ask to be pitched? Do they have a link you can submit to? Do they say no cold emails?
  • Make a Spreadsheet – Once you’ve narrowed it down, keep a spreadsheet to track all efforts to reach out and notes on any interactions so you can keep track now and for next round.
  • Know Who You’re Reaching Out to – Avoid faux pas – get the spelling of their name right, find out if it’s a man or a woman, know that they are still actively investing.
  • Have Your Investment Materials Primed and Ready! – Before you even start reaching out, have a great Investor Deck , a Send-Out or Teaser Deck – (5–8 ESSENTIAL slides to send out)  and a great intro blurb that briefly tells who you are and why they should meet you.

How To Reach Out to Investors? (From Worst to Best)

  1. Cold Emails – Some investors respond to every email they’re sent, some won’t even open an unsolicited mail. The good news is – it doesn’t hurt to try – because if they don’t even open the mail they won’t know who you are and you can try another way.
  2. Pitch Events/Competitions – There are often investors on the panels and in the audience so the exposure could be good, but most investors say it’s rare they invested in a company that they met this way.
  3. Demo Days – If you are in a reputable accelerator like YCombinator or Alchemist on the West Coast and ERA on the East, you have a good chance of investors not only coming to your Demo Day, but actually meeting you sooner to hear your pitch.
  4. Warm Intros – Investors often see connecting with them as part of the quest. How you get to them wins you points, and there are several ways to get warm intros:
    • A Trusted Advisor (lawyer, accountant, service provider, advisor) in their network
    • Another Investor in their network that you might not be a good fit for due to stage, sweet spot, competing portfolio company, etc.
    • A Founder they’ve already invested in. This is inarguably the best way! Try to seek out and create relationships with experienced Founders. Get advice, ask for mentoring, perhaps to join your company as an advisor and then, hopefully a referrer to their Investors. 

Look for people in your alumni network, intros through friends, through your LinkedIn connections. Yes, people are busy, but they were once in your shoes and probably got help from more experienced entrepreneurs. Hopefully you’ll find people with the “Pay it Forward” spirit.

Move Fast!

The minute you start fundraising, you’ve put an “expiration date” on yourself. If you’ve been raising for over 6 months, investors will start to wonder why it’s taking so long and this is not a good signal.

 

There are many factors to getting an Angel Investment – chemistry, timing, great team, great product, huge market and more. The more prepared you are for the process, the better your chances of landing a successful meeting are. If you want to make sure you have stellar investment materials – talk to me!

 

Clients Say

  • Donna is "the best" startup fundraising pitch coach I've worked with. Women Who Tech has retained her services for each of our Women Startup Challenges where she helps each of our startup cohorts prepare and hone their investor pitches. I highly recommend her!

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    Eva GagnonEva GagnonNudge
  • I worked with Donna last year. She is, simply put, one of the best at corporate storytelling out there. I recommend her regularly to those looking to raise capital, especially when they have a more challenging story to tell. If you want to take your corporate storytelling to the next level, don't hesitate. Work with her. You won't regret it.

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    Leo TrottierLeo TrottierFounder at CleverPet
  • Donna is absolutely fantastic! We have been working with Donna within week programs in Silicon Valley for Executive MBA of Moscow school of management SKOLKOVO. She is great in transforming 180 degrees your skills and approach to pitching. The students leave the workshop with pure brilliant feeling what and how they should do. Donna is unique, energetic, engaging and super professional. She knows exactly what you need to succeed. And I strongly recommend her workshops for big and small businesses, corporate people, start-uppers and serial entrepreneurs.

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    Joe CastonJoe CastonRainmaker - Revenue and Growth Acceleration. Fractional CRO / VP of Sales, and CMO. Founder at PlayMakersX
  • Donna is an absolute pleasure to work with.
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    Olivier

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  • For Donna, finding the story in a pitch is like a logic puzzle. The approach is brilliant. She listens to you tell your story, then guides you through the logical connections. Finally she helps you knit them into a natural story. You retain the authenticity, yet your story delivers your message with a wallop. She shows you the concrete metaphors and guides you around the slippery slopes. At the end of the journey, you've found a story that's your own yet tells the tale you want to tell. She's a remarkable professional. That she's a delightful human being just makes it all magical. I can't recommend her more highly as a corporate storyteller.

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    I highly recommend her to anyone who is looking to improve and shape his/her storytelling abilities, anyone who wants to work on his/her messages, either one-on-one, for a conference or for an investor presentation.

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  • Donna is an expert, guru, professional — all of the above — when it comes to learning the methodology and science behind pitching your business. We've had many high-profile experts host a pitching workshop in our Seed Fund Program (where learning how to perfect your pitch is 99% of the program), and she's been the best by far. Five stars and two thumbs up for you, Donna!  All the best, Keenan

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    Ran HirschRan HirschCo-Founder of A1C Foods
  • Donna is a magician! In just two hours she was able to convert our deck from a presentation full of facts to an engaging story! We even used it at a pitch competition which we won! She also helped us with our website and a few other projects, I recommend her to all CEOs who want to save themselves tons of time, money and disappointments, and want to learn how to pitch their startup better. Thank you Donna!

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