Increasing your chances of success
If you seek funds from an organized investment group such as an angel fund, venture capital entity, or even an investment club, the first thing you want to do is to find one person to buy into your vision, become excited by your enthusiasm and be willing to become the internal champion for your fund-raising effort.
Finding the gatekeeper for your funding effort
In some groups, if you cannot find such a person, you cannot even find the way to apply for funding, as some groups make it imperative that any introductions come from the inside, from a member or partner. In others, if you cannot find such a champion after initial presentations to a subset of the entire group, you will not be permitted to move from initial application to the next stages of due diligence and final funding.
How to waste your fundraising effort
And in all cases, simply sending in an executive summary of the business plan via email or filling in an application for funding on a website lowers the chance of success to near nil. If you cannot find someone on the inside, network with accountants, attorneys and bankers to find a name of an influential member or partner.
Differentiating yourself from others
[Email readers, continue here…] You may have the most impressive plan in the world, but these organizations see tens of these each week, and often cannot be expected to understand the vision and potential of any at first glance at a document. I receive three hundred unsolicited executive summaries a year, and my investment group, Tech Coast Angeles, sees over one thousand. Together we fund, maybe, twenty-five of these. Although much more than half are disqualified because of geographical location, industry, or amount of money needed, that still is a small percentage of funding to applications.
Even bankers aren’t exempt
Banks and lenders often are the same way. Although anyone can walk into a bank and apply for a loan, those who are recommended by a trusted source are treated much more personally and have a greater chance of success.
Spend time finding your champion. Create time to network with members of these groups at their public events. Seek out names from your trusted sources.