One of the most difficult challenges for entrepreneurs who decide to raise capital is how to connect with investors. Many will start off by asking their startup friends, "who should I talk to?" which is a logical approach.
It's also the entirely wrong approach.
For one, it's too ambiguous of an "ask" to be acted on. For two, it puts the work and burden of researching investors on the shoulders of your friend, not where it should be-- on you.
Here's a better approach. I'm using our product in the example, but what's important here is the process...you can also use AngelList or Crunchbase or any other database plus a CRM tool or a spreadsheet to track the info.
Step One: Build A Focused Target Investor List
The first step is to generate a list of 100-200 target investors. Within Foundersuite, click the "Find Investors" tab and search by industry keyword (start typing, pause a sec, and then select from the drop down list). This will pull names of investors who have tagged themselves as interested in your industry.
Step Two: Filter Your List
The next step is to cut down your list so it only contains highly-relevant targets. Typically, we look to remove anyone who:
i) invests in a different stage (e.g. "late stage" if you're early);
ii) doesn't invest in your geography or industry;
iii) has an investments in a competitor;
iv) has stopped or greatly slowed down their investing pace (i.e. they're out of money).
This requires an investment of time but is worth it (it will save you the hassle of meeting and pitching with irrelevant folks, which can be a major time drain and source of frustration).The process is simple: open up their LInkedIn, Twitter, Blog and other profiles, and read about the investor. You'll start to find the patterns around people and their investment approaches. Within Foundersuite, you simply click on the icons under the investor profile.
Step Three: Find a Connector
There's a saying that goes, "investors don't want to meet you, they want to be introduced to you." a mutual connection who can make this introduction. For this task, LinkedIN is your friend. Click on the LinkedIN icon, which will open up the investor's page.
Next, go to the right-hand side and see if you have any first-or second-degree connections. If you have multiple connections in common, pick the one who knows you the best.
Step Four: Add The Connector To Your CRM
Finally, add this person's name to the "Connector" field in your Foundersuite CRM or in your spreadsheet, and make a note when the connection is made (and be sure to thanks him / her if their investor invests! :)
If you absolutely cannot find any connection to the investor, a distant second is to use the Rapportive plugin with Gmail on chrome and use that to deduce the investor's name for a cold email.