3 ways to Curate the right VC introduction
Want to get funded as a SaaS founder? Connecting with someone that is investing in the same market as your startup isn’t easy.. but how do you do it? Historically, Venture Capital was – largely – localised in places like silicon valley. This meant that meeting the right investor happened organically as you surrounded yourself with peers that worked in the same market. But in 2023, having the ability to curate these intros can make or break your funding efforts. Remember, fundraising is essentially a sale motion where you’re aiming to sell the equity in your business.
If you have friends or acquaintances who are VCs, then ask them to connect you.. But, make sure you’ve done your research, you’re asking someone to bet their social capital on you. If you don’t have any connections, then it’s time to find some and fast. Here’s how…
What people get wrong about networking
Firstly, it’s important to understand what is networking – It’s about building relationships and creating opportunities for both people. Many people forget this. Network building can take time, but the benefits can last a lifetime. The best networking happens when you’re not even trying. In fact, most founders will tell you that they were introduced or met their current partners while not even looking for them. So, what’s the best way to meet VCs? You’ll want to get involved with industry events, ask for referrals, and reach out via email.
Founder Focused Events
Conferences are great for startup Founders. Not only are they a source of energy, but they are also a place to launch new products, find beta testers, and see what others in the market are doing, but more importantly, for you to build a network of relevant VCs. If you’re a SaaS founder, one of the best places to do this is SaaStock – Europe’s largest B2B software conference.
But if you’re operating in other markets, find the events that work with Founders similar to you but at scale, as these will naturally attract the right Investors. These events typically have attendee lists, matchmaking, or networking app – utilize these! The Investors attend to meet with as many people as possible.
(Highly) Targeted Outreach
An events strategy is great and will get you important facetime. Unfortunately, it’s not scalable. What happens if you need to raise between events? You will need to reach out via email.
The key to a successful outreach campaign is to be targeted. Overwhelmingly, the biggest piece of feedback Investors had as we were building Ventroduce was that the majority of inbounding founders did not fit their Investment thesis. There were too many people trying the spray & pray tactic. Instead, you should use free online resources like OpenVC or our Investor Index to accurately build a target list of relevant people.
Once you’ve identified your target investors, you need a compelling reason as to why you’re reaching out and why this investor is a good fit. A topic like this deserves a post of its own, but, one good tactic is to look at their existing portfolio companies and identify key, but not conflicting, similarities. For example, If you’re a UK based Series A Spend Management/ Productivity startup and they’ve Invested in Cledara.
The Emerging Fundraising Techstack
Early stage investing is largely people driven, and so has historically been an analog industry. But, software is starting to correct some of the inefficiencies that come with analog markets. We’ve seen a cambrian-like explosion of tools being built to help founders raise, and investors deploy capital. We even created a whole book on this, you can check out The Ideal Techstack for Fundraising Founders here.. Networking tools like Bridge & Ventroduce have been created to help you map and expand your current network. They can be extremely useful to identify and understand the paths to your best-fit investors.
Getting introduced to investors can be a challenging, but not impossible task. It requires a great deal of resources and networking. You will need to build your reputation by attending conferences, and other industry events. You will also want to do some targeted outreach and leverage emerging tech to save time. It may seem overwhelming, but well worth the effort. If you follow these steps, you will be well on your way to finding raising capital. So that you can get back to shipping new features, empowering teams, and building great companies.