Home 9 Ways to Get VCs to Notice You

9 Ways to Get VCs to Notice You

You’re trying to get venture capitalists interested in your business, but no one is biting. It’s not a matter of getting turned down: You can’t even get VCs to take your calls, much less get invited to pitch to them.

What are you doing wrong?

Find the Right Niche

A scattershot approach to VC investment is not going to work. You need to narrow your scope and home in on VCs who are targeting specific startups in your area of expertise. Do some digging to learn:

  • What types of businesses does the VC typically fund? Do they often finance businesses in your industry?
  • Does the VC focus on a geographic region? Some VCs invest nationally or even globally, so where you are based won’t matter. Others, however, prefer to stay close to home.
  • What stage of business does the VC finance? Seeking early-stage capital from a VC that typically funds expansion is asking for rejection. Focus on the VCs that invest in companies at your stage of growth.

Find a Personal Connection

Directly emailing or cold calling a VC without any type of introduction or connection is a major misstep. You need an “in.” Here are some ways to get one:

  • Tap into your professional networks. Attorneys or accountants are often good sources of referrals, since they’re more likely to work with VCs or have colleagues who do.
  • Tap into your business networks. Use your connections on and offline to find people with whom you’ve done business or who might have connections to a VC.
  • Tap into your personal networks. Don’t forget your friends, relatives and Facebook buddies. You never know whose uncle might have gone to school with the VC you’re trying to reach.

Get Creative

If you can’t make a direct connection, try to get in via the back door:

  • Research companies the VC has previously funded. Find out who’s on their management teams and see if you or one of your connections has a relationship with that person.
  • Look for influencers in your industry. Is there an industry leader with whom you could connect? Even if the VC doesn’t actually know this person, he or she will likely be more impressed that the influencer is willing to vouch for you.
  • Think small. Plenty of entrepreneurs have gotten their “in” through a VC’s assistant – or even the assistant’s assistant. Find out who else might have influence at the VC firm and how you can connect to them.

Targeting your niche, finding a common link or leveraging a personal connection to make contact will improve your chances of getting a VC’s attention. Then the hard work begins. Good luck!

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