How to Build Relationships with Angel Investors
One of the best aspects of working at Volta is convenient access to incredible events on a regular basis. This week, Volta hosted our monthly Women Taking Over the World with Tech (WTWT) event. The event was an Angel Investing workshop led by Dawn Umlah, who is a finance and corporate development enthusiast and the COO of Spring Loaded Technologies.
WTWT is a program designed to equip women working in the technology sector with the skills, knowledge and network they need to grow their careers or businesses. This month’s event was no exception. Dawn led the group through the “ins and outs” of Angel Investing, outlining the differences between high and moderate growth companies, Angel Investors and Venture Capitalists, as well as how to manage investor expectations in terms of communication frequency and level of involvement.
If you missed the event, we have you covered – here are three takeaways from the WTWT Angel Investing workshop.
Start “Dating” Now
As Dawn illustrated during her workshop, building a relationship with an Angel is a lot like dating. The first meeting is sort of like a first date – the ultimate goal is to get another meeting, or “second date”. If you know you’ll be raising investment soon, don’t hesitate to start meeting potential investors right away.
There are a lot of strategies you can use to meet Angels. Dawn suggests to start by researching the Angels you want to meet early on and finding ways to offer value before you look to extract it. She also says startups should leverage resources like National Angel Capital Organization, AngelList, Volta, and Innovacorp to tap into new networks and contacts who may be able to introduce you to Angel Investors.
Be Authentic and Honest
Strong relationships are built on genuine interactions, and the same is true when developing relationships with Angel Investors. The old saying, “fake it ‘til you make it” is not an effective strategy for establishing and growing relationships with investors.
Angel Investors appreciate authentic people who are honest about their business and vision for the company. If a prospective investor asks a tough question that you don’t have the answer to, it’s best to say you will get back to them instead of making something up on the fly.
It’s also important to be clear about things like when or if you intend to sell the business, and don’t try to hide parts of the business that aren’t doing so well – it’s likely they’ve been there before too and can offer helpful advice.
Increase Your “Say:Do” Ratio
This one is key to both growing your capacity as a founder, and building relationships with potential investors. If you want to establish credibility in the eyes of an Angel Investor, you need to consistently do what you say you’re going to do. Dawn noted that a key indicator of whether a business is investable is if the founder has a high “say:do” ratio. Remember, Angel Investors want to know they are investing in a reliable person who not only “talks the talk”, but also “walks the walk”.
Interested in attending an upcoming WTWT event? Join us for our WTWT Pitch Competition on July 24. Applications to pitch are open until July 12.