Scott Gerber is the founder of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young Scott Gerber is the founder of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co.
When you need funding, angel investors can seem like a godsend. However, raising money from angels isn’t as easy, or as simple, as it might seem.
To learn more, I asked 12 successful founders from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) the following question:
I’m thinking of raising money from angels. What is one thing I should know?
Their best answers are below:
1. You‘ll Face a Lot of Rejection
There are hundreds of reasons an angel will reject your pitch, and so many things need to happen simultaneously for somebody to say “yes.”
Don’t tie your happiness on that day to the positive or negative responses you get from potential investors, because even with the best idea in the world you’re going to be bummed after 95 percent of your meetings. All it takes is one “yes” to get the ball rolling. – Travis Steffen, MentorMojo
2. You Should Understand What They Want
Angel investors are typically looking for two things: They are excited about the team and believe that they are the ones who can do it, and they believe in the space and the larger vision for the product. Make sure you find angels who follow accepted angel investing methods.
There are many stories of companies giving away way too much equity/control for very little cash. – Arjun Arora, ReTargeter
3. You Should Be Prepared for Due Diligence Early
Poshly’s investors include prominent angel syndicates. We found that after successfully pitching, angels like to do thorough due diligence.
Preparing financial statements, financial projections, referrals and competitive assessments early will help you to make the due diligence process as seamless as possible, helping you to close the deal quickly with investors. – Doreen Bloch, Poshly Inc.
4. You Can and Should Ask for Their References
You should be doing as much due diligence on your angels as they are on you. All cash is not equal, and it’s important to ask for references and talk to other entrepreneurs who took money from that particular individual.
In particular, focus on finding and speaking with people whose companies failed or did not meet expectations — and ask how supportive (or not) the angel was. – Matt Mickiewicz, Hired
5. Angel Networks Aren’t That Scary
Angel networks align dozens of prospective investors to hear pitches from entrepreneurs. These can be tough — you’re pitching an audience!
We had success in our two Angel group pitches. We simply assumed that 80 percent of the room wasn’t interested, and focused on the 20 percent that was diligently listening. Wow that subset, and you’ll have a bigger pool of potential investors. – Aaron Schwartz, Modify Watches
6. You Need to Know Your Numbers
Know how much you‘re raising and at what valuation. Know why you need that specific amount and when you forecast the break-even point to occur.
Understand your revenue model inside and out and be able to poke holes in it yourself. It will make you more believable and trustworthy then if an investor did it during your pitch. – Logan Lenz, Endagon
7. You Should Seek Counsel, Not Dollars
When you take money from angels, it’s more important to consider whom you are taking money from than how much money you are raising. Most angel investors are previous business owners or entrepreneurs, too.
Select angels based on whose feedback you value most. Having passionate angels that are willing to give you counsel and make connections for you are what helps to drive your business forward. – Arian Radmand, CoachUp
8. Your Communication Is Key
Your investors are clients. Treat your fundraising efforts as a sales cycle. Each investor needs nurturing and follow-up, just like your sales leads. Diligent communication before, during and after are essential to build investor confidence.
We write monthly email updates to current and prospective investors about our progress, explaining where we’re getting traction and what we’ve got planned. – Abby Ross, ThinkCERCA
9. You Should Share Your Mission
People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. Share the “why” part of your mission as much as the facts and figures. It goes beyond the pain point your solving. Share with them why you want to solve that pain point and what success really means to you.
Of course, validate everything with a sound plan and the facts to back it up. – Andrew Thomas, SkyBell Technologies, Inc.
10. You Should Focus on Their Industry Experience
Concentrate on connecting with angels that are very aware of the industry, sector or vertical your company or startup is focused in. They will be more likely invest in companies that fit the city or region you’re in or industry they have previously been successful in or have deep knowledge and experience in. – Jason Grill, JGrill Media | Sock 101
11. You Need to Be Able to Connect Personally
They have money and experience – great! But does that mean that angel will be a good business partner? A lot of business comes down to interpersonal relations, and many entrepreneurs forget that signing a terms sheet is just the beginning of a relationship.
If it’s the right angel, you’re going to spend lots of time together, so make sure they pass the beer test. Can you really talk biz over a beer? – Matt Hunckler, Verge
12. Your Honesty Is Important
Be honest with the potential investor and honest with yourself. Don’t hide anything from those looking to give you money, thinking you’ll just improve or fix it later. This is grounds for at minimum a constant pit in your stomach and at maximum the loss of your business through litigation.
Also, be honest with what your company’s value is. Too many entrepreneurs over-value their companies. – Andrew Howlett, Rain
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