Posted by: Ingrid Vanderveldt | April 6, 2009

Finding & Keeping Investors in this Economy…

Hi all:

Its interesting how many deals I am seeing right now that are just about ready to go for funding.  Its exciting!!!!!!  While the economy continues to look BLAH…these motivating entrepreneurs know that the money is OUT THERE and its time to go get it!  Remember Warren Buffet build his financial empire off of getting great deals when the markets where down.  

So if you are one of those people, or, if you are juts looking for money- here are some top recommendations and also places to check out.

My advice and recommendations come from having funded, found funding for and working with entrepreneurs putting money together for their deals.  As far as bridge loans, I have found money up to $1M and as far as investment money- the deals I have worked on are over $1M.  The largest deal I worked on was a $60M deal (we found $10M and did not secure the rest).  Currently, I am working with four companies seeking funding….one for under $1M, the second for $5M, the third company for $15M and the 4th for just under $5M.  I love to find the “game changing” companies, helping them and teaming them up with investors I believe in and that can help make their deals go.  I also love working with investors to find the right deals that they wouldn’t have seen yet (doing what I do with entrepreneurs I am fortunate to see and get involved with a number of great deals).

TIPS ON FINDING & KEEPING INVESTORS:

*  GETTING THE CONNECTION:  You have heard it before- investors, like everyone else, like to do business with people they trust and who are friends.  With this in mind- finding the right investor in my book has always come down to my personal network.  Someone I knew knew just the right investor and made that connection.  Who do you know in your network that you think might know someone?  If you don’t know….then ASK!  You would be suprised when you put it out to your friends what you are doing and that you need help and who might know people.

*  KNOW WHICH INVESTORS ARE DOING WHAT KINDS OF FUNDINGS:  i.e.- don’t ask a tech investor for money for a film if you know they haven’t done any.  Its unlikely that they will do it now because…

*  INVESTORS ARE LOOKING FOR OPPORTUNITIES BUT ABSOLUTELY IN AREAS THAT THEY HAVE EXPERIENCE WITH:  With the economy as it is, investors like to spend time doing things that they know, and that they can continue to add value to.  When the markets are rough, taking chances on completely unknown businesses would be near suicide.  So just be aware of this- investors are going to likely fund what they know (or their partners know :)…)

*  BE HONEST ABOUT YOUR TRACK RECORD:  If you have no experience, or have had a major business screw up- make sure to state those as fact along with what experience you DO have and the lessons you have learned from any mistakes you have made.  Investors will run away and hide if they go online and find out that you have had a massive hiccup and you didn’t tell them about it.  They are in the business of managing risk- so keep all this in mind.

*  YOUR TEAM IS KEY….Your team players will attract and keep investors…all investors want to team with people who they believe can “MAKE IT HAPPEN”.  If you look at Loic Lemeur (www.seesmic.com)- .  “With Friends Like These, How can Seesmic Fail?”   http://bit.ly/8OXCB  Great example….

*  BE PROACTIVE ABOUT YOUR INVESTMENT….speaking of Loic, when he saw the market turning down, he proactively reduced staff to make sure there would be enough money in the coffers to take them through the tough times.  Not fun to be part of a layoff, but from a CEO/ investor standpoint- he is making the tough decisions that investors look to thier CEO’s to make to keep your company afloat.

HERE ARE SOME INTERESTING PLACES TO LOOK FOR FUNDING and ADVICE/ QUESTIONS ABOUT FUNDING:

A COUPLE PLACES TO LOOK FOR QUESTIONS/ RATINGS ON VENTURE CAPITALISTS:

*  http://www.thefunded.com/

*  http://www.askthevc.com

FOR MONEY..HERE ARE A FEW OTHER PLACES TO LOOK:

*  www.gobignetwork.com

*  www.clubefactory.com

*  www.strategiesforsmallbusiness.com

Have fun and good luck! IV

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