July 26, 2017

How to Find Intermediaries to Link You to Startup Investors

Startup fundraising is all about building relationships with potential investors. As a founder, your dream is to get picked up by the top VCs in Silicon Valley. But in order to get the attention of a venture capital firm, you must visibly separate your concept from the noise and be a startup to watch out for.

Even for a disruptive startup product, finding the right channels and connections to VC firms can be a challenge. To bridge this gap, the key is to find intermediaries that can link your team with like-minded investors who can fully back your startup idea. Here are 3 key types of intermediaries that can serve as your gateway to periodic funding rounds from startup investors:

Accelerator Programs

Startup accelerators serve as mentorship programs for early stage startup teams with unique solutions to existing market needs. Although highly competitive, the main focus of accelerators is to choose up to 100 startups to invest a small amount of money in. The founding team then moves to the accelerator program’s headquarters, where they are extensively coached by mentors until they can demo their product in front of leading investors.

Accelerator programs not only refine your product and investor pitch, they give your startup team access to bigger funding rounds once you have passed the initial funding stage. The top accelerator programs like YCombinator and TechStars are highly competitive and have an application acceptance rate between 1-3 percent. Some up and coming accelerator programs include BetaSpring, JumpStart Foundry and BoomStartup.

Startup Networks

Referred to by some as the LinkedIn for startup founders, AngelList is currently the leading platform for facilitating all kinds of early-stage tech startup funding deals. The platform has helped raise both seed stage and venture capital backed funding rounds for some of the top startups in the U.S.

The innovative, breakthrough platform allows startups to showcase their product pitch decks in front of angel investors, giving founders access to multiple potential future funding options. Founders can connect with and get mentoring from advisors with strong connections.

Funderbeam is another startup-investor matchmaking platform that serves as a data intelligence tool for analyzing prospect investors and portfolio VC firms.

Funding Advisors

San Francisco based, seed stage VC Hunter Walk suggests that you should never ever send a banker to do a founder’s job when it comes to fundraising. So although not a popular concept in the traditional sense, you can opt for funding advisors if they work with you behind the scenes and coach you on how to get yourself introduced to AIs and VCs. These advisors would then serve as your incubators, getting your product and pitch in shape so that you can approach venture capital firms on your own.

What other forms of startup intermediaries have you had a chance to work with? Share your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us @allshore

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