If you are building a startup and are looking for investors, your best bet at finding one is on LinkedIn. If you haven’t given LinkedIn much thought before, here are some listed reasons you should start considering it.
Reasons to consider LinkedIn:
- You can strategize your approach on LinkedIn. This specifically means that instead of pitching to the investor at the very outset, you can connect with him and study his LinkedIn presence.
- The investors will be able to go through your user summaries to get a better grasp of your profile and product. They get hundreds and thousands of pitches, and this makes it easier for them to evaluate your profile at their own pace.
- Check if there are any mutual connections between you and the investor. If yes, you can always ask for referrals from them.
- Unlike other websites, LinkedIn allows for a nuanced search for investors who share commonalities with you, be it through educational background, professional history, or network connections. The degree feature allows users to explore connections based on the least number of intermediary links between individuals.
- Investors on LinkedIn not only assess your business information but also scrutinize the profiles and activities of you, your partners, and senior management, offering a comprehensive view.
- LinkedIn’s versatility extends beyond connecting with listed investors; it also provides access to wealth managers, family offices, bankers, accounting firms, fund managers, and emerging impact investors and entrepreneurs.
The Guide to finding an investor
Now that you understand why LinkedIn plays a vital role in finding the right investor, here is a guide on how you can look for these investors.
Compile a Target List:
- Create a comprehensive list of potential investors by leveraging LinkedIn’s vast directory, encompassing both listed and inactive investors.
- Utilize the search tab at the top of your LinkedIn page to initiate the process.
Advanced Search Techniques:
- Employ specific keywords like “Angel investor,” “VC,” “investor,” “venture capitalist,” “impact investor,” and “seed fund manager” using the search tab.
- Explore one-click filters such as location, connection or degrees of connection, and current/past companies to narrow down your search.
Optimize All Filters:
- Leverage the All Filter Tab for more refined searches, incorporating exclusive type-in/dropdown tabs for Industry, title, profile language, and services.
Explore the Jobs Tab:
- Another good way of finding an investor is by going over recruitment posts. This will give you an idea of an investor’s intended portfolio diversification.
- Start by looking for any cues that may suggest they are looking to explore certain sectors.
Boolean Search Facility:
- Experiment with Boolean search techniques.
- Boolean operators, like AND, OR, and NOT, are words and symbols that enhance or narrow your search in databases or search engines. Combining these with keywords forms a Boolean string, optimizing your search for the most pertinent results and sources.
Evaluate LinkedIn Profiles:
- Analyse potential investors based on their LinkedIn profiles. Pay attention to descriptions, summaries, testimonials, company pages, LinkedIn groups, and mutual connections.
- Examine the activities of investors, including comments, content sharing, stories, and hosted events, to gain insights into their interests and engagement level.
Identify Hashtags and Nametags:
- Identify frequently used hashtags and nametags by potential investors or their network.
- Utilize hashtags to explore content feeds and nametags for direct profile access with a single click.
If you are reaching out to investors from a VC firm, experts suggest that you stick to pitching only to a few. Anand Daniel, Seed and Early stage VC investor with Accel Partners in India, explains,
“Reach out only to one or at most two people at that firm who are appropriate for your particular startup. It does not help if you ping everyone in the VC firm. Yes, this does happen often, and if anything, it’s counterproductive. What happens is that one of the investing team members who receives this will forward it to the other team member who is more suitable to look at your company (based on interest areas), and if they realize you pinged all the members indiscriminately, it shows that you have not done any research on which of the investors would be better suited for your startup.”
He also suggests,
“Avoid requesting to “add as connections” directly. Try sending a message via InMail or through mutual connections. Many investors are particular about who they add as connections, and so if you directly try adding them, they might “ignore” your request.”