CHAPTER SEVEN: Part C – Do you want to raise seed capital from angel investors for your startup?If YES, here are 10 best places to find and connect with angel investors in USA.
Many entrepreneurs agree with the fact that angel investing is one of the best strategies for raising equity capital. In fact, it is the most preferred small business financing option especially for startups. But unfortunately, most people have no idea how and where to find and connect with willing investors.
One of the reasons for this is that there are no directories for angel investors, but this is actually a good thing; since if entrepreneurs could easily locate angels, they would bombard these investors with so many deals that getting funds through angel investing would be as hard as getting bank loans.
If you are finding it hard to locate angel investors, then you are probably looking in the wrong places. Your success with getting angel investment for your business boils down to your smartness in locating angels and the way you relate with them. Below are ten places where you can meet angel investors who may be willing to invest in your business idea:
10 Best Places to Find and Connect with Angel Investors
1. Alumni events
When you attend your college’s or university’s alumni events, you will find and meet lots of people, many of whom would be very interested in funding your business as angel investors. With these wealthy individuals, you already share a connection; the same Alma Mata. So, you have a foundation to build on, and you won’t be regarded as a total stranger.
So, you should try to attend the next meeting of your college’s or university’s alumni and make efforts to meet one or two prominent people. Feel free to interact with them. If they are not investors themselves, they will probably link you up with others who are investors and that is exactly what you wanted, right?
If you are the type that frets at the idea of meeting and interacting with new people and explaining your needs or plans to them, then you may wait endlessly to find an angel investor. This strategy won’t work for introverts. So, if you are one, sorry.
2. Online forums
While there are many offline avenues where you can meet angel investors, you have brighter chances of meeting them online, too. There are plenty of online communities that you can join. But you should target the business or investment section of general forums like Nairaland (a huge discussion board for Nigerians).
Better yet, you can search Google for online discussion forums that are made solely for entrepreneurs and investors, such as Investors Hub, Investors Village, and Silicon Investor. You can go ahead and register with these online communities and check if there are threads by investors looking for businesses to support.
If you find any, you should respond to the poster and make arrangements on how to better communicate your idea. But if you cannot find any such threads, create a new one, calling on interested investors to support your business. You will most likely get relevant replies.
3. Social media
Since almost every internet user has an account with the major social networking sites, you have bright chances of meeting angel investors on these platforms, too.
Of the major social media platforms, LinkedIn seems to be the most appropriate for locating investors that are likely to support your business with the startup funds you need. This is because the network is made basically for establishing professional connections between individuals.
Using LinkedIn’s search feature, you can locate angel investors in your locality. Facebook is another platform where you can easily find angels around you, but the search process may be more difficult than on LinkedIn.
4. Angel groups
As stated earlier, angel investors now come together to form angel investment groups. This is with the aim of combining experience, expertise, and funds to support more businesses and make bigger returns. You can get angel funds for your business by reaching out to angel investment groups. These are large angel investment firms in the U.S that you can try contacting with your idea. Example of such angel groups are:
- Ohio Tech Angel Funds, Columbus, Ohio
- Tech Coast Angels, Los Angeles
- Investors’ Circle, San Francisco
- Golden Seeds LLC, New York City
- North Coast Angel Fund, Cleveland, Ohio
- Band of Angels, Menlo Park, California
- Hyde Park Angel Network, Chicago
- Alliance of Angels, Seattle
- Pasadena Angels, Altadena, California
- New York Angels Inc., New York City
The above is a list of the 10 largest angel investing groups in the U.S, according to the Angel Capital Association, a trade association of investment groups. You can find many more simply by searching the web.
If you are a Nigeria-based entrepreneur, you may be unable to locate angel investing groups in the country. So, look at other avenues to meet individual angels in Nigeria or foreigners that are interested in investing in Nigeria.
5. Local Business and Networking Events
Every city has local events that attract business owners and entrepreneurs. Truth is, many of these business owners are either angel investors in some other businesses or have connections with angels who will readily invest in your business. Again, ditching every form of shyness is your key to success.
You can find about these events on sites like Meetup, Eventful, and Eventbrite. To find events that are relevant to your need, you should type “entrepreneur” in the search columns on any of these sites.
6. Industry conferences and trade shows
Industry conferences and trade shows are great places to find and connect with angel investors. Successful people who are interested in funding startup businesses attend these events. And since these individuals are attending such a conference, there are chances that they know your industry. This makes it easier for you to educate them on your business idea and often gives them the ability to give you strategic advice.
7. Chamber of Commerce meetings
This is one of the best places where you can meet a large concentration of business owners and potential angel investors. So, attend these meetings whenever they hold at venues near you.
8. Seminars and workshops
Seminars and workshops are held from time to time with industry experts in attendance. These gatherings discuss tips on how to leverage latest trends and technology or how to exploit new business opportunities.
While some seminars and workshops are targeted at players in specific industries, others are relevant to a large, mixed audience. If you think a seminar will most likely attract angel investors, chances are high that it really will. So, try to attending such seminars (even if you don’t meet an investor, you still would have learned some important things).
9. Radio or TV shows
Some radio or TV shows feature prominent individuals who are big players in their respective industries. Be an ardent fan of any such shows that features business moguls and potential angel investors. You may just get an opportunity to meet the angel investor of your dreams.
10. Charity events
It’s a general recommendation that you should always give back to those that are less fortunate than you are. But as a bonus, when volunteering to help others with charity, you may stumble upon very successful businesspersons, such as large donors to a cause you are also donating to. These individuals may be interested in supporting your business with angel funds.