Getting funding for your business the first time isn’t easy if you don’t know the insights, the people and the game. Making contact with investors is all about getting out there, talking to people and practice. It’s a lot like trial and error. And those who have persistence and learn fast make it to the end. If you follow the steps in this article, I’m sure you get the hang of it.
Learn the basics
Step one is to get a basic understanding about startup funding. Read my previous articles to get a jump start.
Know what you want
As a founder it’s your job to keep ten plates in the air. So probably funding isn’t your only concern. Next to capital investors can also provide other things like expertise, experience and a network. So be sure to know what you want from them.
Show you exist
When you want to raise capital, your second job is to show you exist. Investors are always on the lookout for new promising ventures, so make sure you can be found. Build a brand, create a recognizable logo, start a website, write a blog and do an interview in the local newspaper. And more importantly, go out there. There are numerous networking events for startups and investors. But you are probably aware of that, otherwise you would not be reading this article that I wrote because of the Amsterdam Capital Week. If you talk to someone and they say: “Hey, I’ve heard that name before”, you know you are doing well.
Make a list
Your third job is to make a list of possible investors for your company. You can find possible investors checking out the websites of the NVP or BANN, or checking out the Startup Finder. Not all investors match your startup so be sure to filter for startup phase, investment amount, sector and region.
Practice what you preach
Fourth is to get out there and talk to as many people as you can. Don’t start with your top number one on the list right away, but fail and learn first. Remember your goal is to give a first insight and create interest for more information. Not to sell your company right then and there. Use talks at networking events to test your story, practice your pitch and see what causes what reaction. It’s not uncommon to have a few variations of your networking pitch. Don’t take it personal if an investor reacts with ‘this is not for me’. Most investors have a very narrow investment scope, so often there’s not enough coherence with your proposition.
Once you get the hang of it, you can slowely start contacting your dream investors. Work the top-10 of your list from the bottom to the top. If you visited a lot of events in the last period, the chance is high you already met and talked to some of them. And if you did it right, they will probably remember you.
The Netherlands Chamber of Commerce is one of the main partners of Amsterdam Capital Week. With a series of blogs I, Martijn Lentz, entrepreneurial finance expert at KVK, share my lessons and pitfalls on how to get funding for your startup.