At KgBase, we believe sharing social capital is key to raising funds for startups. Without the right network, securing funding can be a daunting process. We hosted the first virtual Introathon in February to help founders and superconnectors build intrographs to get the introductions they were looking for.
But how exactly do startup founders find the VCs that become partners? Here are our tips on how to start:
Make a list of VCs you want to talk to.
Sounds easy, but how do you do this practically? Use Crunchbase to research. Look for people who are funding at the right stage, and who specialize in the same fields as your business. Look at companies that are similar to yours to find the VCs that invested in those companies.
Squeeze your network for mutual connections.
Try to avoid contacting VCs cold. A warm introduction gives you a much better chance of getting a meeting, so look for mutual connections you have which each person you are trying to meet.
Take a hard look at your network to see who can get you intros. For an introduction to work, you need someone that the VC likes and respects to make the introduction. Sift through your LinkedIn contacts. Ask other founders for meetings. Don't be shy about asking for these meetings, even if you don't know the person well.
Set up meetings with your mutual connections.
When someone agrees to meet with you, prepare a short, efficient pitch. They don't need all the details, just enough to understand the value of making the introduction. Your job is just to convince them that you're worth making an introduction for.
Have a short list of 2-3 people you would like them to introduce you to, but don't be surprised if they offer even more introductions. The people who agree to meet with you are by default the ones who are generous with their social capital.
Timing is critical.
Timing is critical in the fundraising process. If you’re actively fundraising, you need to do this all very quickly. The whole process can take from two to six months. It will practically be a full-time job, you will be meeting with up to ten people a day. Be prepared to delegate other duties as much as possible during this period.
If you’re not actively fundraising, do the work beforehand to build relationships over time. Reconnect with people in your network who might make you introductions down the line.
Pay it forward.
When you have successfully launched, be sure to help others make the connections they need. Share your social capital with the Intrograph. Give back to founders whose missions make sense with VCs you know, to continue making the fundraising process more equitable for founders from all backgrounds.