3 places to look for investor leads

Ken had a problem.

He ran out of investors to pitch his company to.

Ken has combed through AngelList’s public database. He’s pitched all his LinkedIn connections who have “investor” in their title.

But Ken hadn’t reached his fundraising goal. And he had no new leads. What to do?

Our recent episode of Uncapped Notes covers three out-of-the-box strategies to find new investors.

These tips have worked for Hustle Fund and dozens of our portfolio companies.

Let’s dive in.

Tip #1: Change your “ask”

Most founders ask the same generic question at the end of their pitches and meetings. Can you guess what it is?

“Here’s our blurb, can you share it with anyone who may be interested?”

The investors say, “Sure, of course” to be nice. But we all know they never actually share your info with anyone.

Now this isn’t a bad question to ask, per se. The intent is actually great.

But this question feels too general.

Here’s our advice: Change the way you ask.

“Can you think of one person who might be interested in hearing about my company?"

This new question is wildly more effective. Most people can think of one name with ease.

The hurdle is far lower and the ask is achievable. Oftentimes, that person is the richest person they know.

Tip #2: Throw a party

The GPs of Hustle Fund got stuck raising money for our first fund. They didn’t know what to do but Elizabeth Yin had an idea: throw a rager.

I’m kidding. It wasn’t a rager.

It was just a fun gathering for their existing investors.

They asked them:

“Hey, we’re pulling together a group of our favorite investors at a cool taco shop in San Francisco. Next Thursday at 7pm. You interested? 🌮”

Tacos and investors? Heck yes!

After the guests confirmed, the GPs did one more thing. They asked each person to bring someone who might enjoy the fiesta and be a potential investor in Hustle Fund.

This strategy worked well to pitch to a group of curated people. And the tacos were delish.

Tip #3: Think beyond “traditional” investors

Our last recommendation is to expand your mind on who an investor might be.

Your next investor might not even think of themselves as an investor. The definition of someone who could invest in your company is someone that is simply accredited.

This may look like some friends in tech who have big salaries. Or other friends who have a million dollars of liquid net worth.

OK. I know most people don’t have friends like this.

But folks in your neighborhood could surprise you with already being accredited investors. They could be plumbers, electricians, and small business owners. There are people who don’t work in tech at all but are active investors.

Elizabeth has pitched her optometrist three times. He turned her down. But maybe the fourth time’s the charm. 

The point is that investors come from all backgrounds, just like founders. 

You never know who an investor could be. So the best thing you can do is ask.