Everyone knows the most successful entrepreneurs create businesses that solve people’s problems, and the most brilliant entrepreneurs use technology to do it.
Technology evolves from generation to generation, and the most skilled entrepreneurs evolve with it. Whether it’s connecting with their customers on social media, delivering them a service on-demand, or making shopping easier for them, they pivot to push towards growth, and will stop at nothing to make their companies something that continues to make their patrons’ lives better.
Investors are attracted to companies that have cracked the code of fixing their customers’ problems, and have poured trillions of dollars into these companies, rightfully so.
Just ask Tim Cook, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg.
You may not have reached their heights yet as a tech entrepreneur, but as long as you know that your product or service has used technology to fill a need for your customers, you’ve already taken a step in the right direction.
If you’re still in the ideation stages of building your tech business, a good thing to understand is how to build your business in such a way that investors will be attracted to what you’re building. A good place to start is understanding how investors think, and how they like to use their money.
The first thing you’ll need to do is sit down and put together a presentation of who you are, what your company stands for, your market research, and solid examples of your growth. This presentation is called a pitch deck.
If you still have no idea what to do, Pitch Envy is a great resource to get inspiration from the best pitch decks that entrepreneurs have used to get substantial amounts of funding for their companies.
So who will you pitch to?
Either you’ll be introduced to an investor by someone he or she knows (that’s why networking is super important), or you can make a cold call, or send a random email. The latter two options will probably not be successful, because if you think about it, would you give $1 million to a random person who called you on the phone?
That’s why networking and research are key when looking for the right investors—you don’t want to just blindly reach out to venture firms.
Being introduced to an investor is truly the best way to get him or her to have a conversation with you. If you and that investor hit it off the first time the two of you talk, he or she will be apt to pay more attention to what you’re doing with your business.
Remember, investors are humans too and they value relationships. They want to know they’re putting their money in the hands of someone they can trust.
But keep this in mind, as well–you need to do your research and ask yourself these questions: Do the people at this firm align with my company’s vision? Do they have experience in what I’m trying to build? Do I feel comfortable answering to these people about what I do with my money? Do I even like this people?
Once you’ve pondered upon all these questions and have solid answers, you’ll be ready to go out and find a firm that’s your perfect match. Here are seven firms to help you get started on your search.
1) 645 Ventures
Location: New York, New York
Led by: Nnamdi Okike, founder and general partner
Portfolio companies: Poshly, Admittedly, Keaton Row, AbbeyPost, Rifiniti Loverly and Hire an Esquire, among others
Fund facts: 645 Ventures is a seed and early-stage venture capital firm specializing in software and Internet companies. The firm invests in companies in the following sectors: SaaS software, application software, e-commerce, data analytics, online marketplaces and Internet-enabled services.
Location: Berkeley Hills, California
Led by: Erik Moore, founder and managing director
Portfolio companies: SocialCam, Swapbox, Virool, StyleSeat, Mayvenn, among others
Fund facts: Base Ventures, founded by Erik Moore, is a seed-stage fund investing in technology companies. Successful exits include Socialcam (acquired by Autodesk), and Appstores (acquired by InMobi).
Location: San Francisco, California
Led by: Stephen DeBerry, founder and managing partner
Portfolio companies: University Now, LendUp and Better Finance
Fund facts: Bronze Investments is a financial investment advisory firm headquartered in San Francisco, CA. The firm manages one account totaling an estimated $25 million of assets under management.
Location: San Francisco, California
Led by: Eghosa Omoigui, founder and general partner
Portfolio companies: Stipple, Dekko, GraphScience, Life360º
Fund facts: EchoVC Partners is a seed and early stage venture capital firm focused on financing and cross-pollinating leading technologies, teams, business models and knowledge across North America, Africa and Southeast Asia. Average investment size ranges from $25,000 to several million dollars, depending on the stage of opportunity and capital needs of the business.
5) H360 Capital
Location: Charlotte, North Carolina
Led by: Hezekiah Griggs III, founder and managing partner
Portfolio companies: unknown
Fund facts: H360 Capital is an angel venture capital firm based in Charlotte, NC. The firm invests in early stage start-ups with market-disrupting ideas. Innovation is considered key to H360’s investments, since they are typically new ideas that either change a market, or create one.
Location: Bethesda, Maryland
Led by: Terry L. Jones, managing partner
Portfolio companies: AppTap, LikeList, DubMeNow, Heatwave Interactive, Indoor Direct
Fund facts: SYNCOM is a venture capital firm primarily focused on early to mid-stage investments in underserved segments of the media and communications industry. SYNCOM pioneered this investment strategy beginning in 1977, and has been involved in the creation of many of the most successful and visible African-American- and Hispanic-owned media and communications companies over the last 30 years, including BET, Radio One, XM Satellite Radio, Z-Spanish Radio Network, Buenavision Cable, District Cablevision, El Dorado Communications and Pueblo Broadcasting.
Location: Oakland, California
Led by: Stephan Adams, managing partner
Portfolio companies: EverLoop
Fund facts: Valencia Ventures provides venture capital to burgeoning information technology companies with what the firm calls “exceptional business models.” The company focuses on minority- and women-founded and manages companies located in or relocating to the Western United States.
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