Why Are You Single? Or: How to Find the Right Investor for your Startup
Finding the right investor to invest in your start-up is like finding a life-partner to marry. And it isn’t easy. It’s like going on a thousand dates until you find the one whom you share the same vision and goals with in life. Because, honestly, divorce isn’t something you’d want to happen.
And in the past 15 years, the time I’ve spent founding and running start-ups, a lot has changed in the dynamics between investors and startups. The world has become a global village, bringing opportunities, but also challenges.
So, what are the magic ingredients?
Now, I have a lot of metaphors in this article, because honestly it’s the easiest way to explain it all. Picture this, building a successful start-up is like building a house, finding the right investor is like getting married, and for both of these you need some spicy ingredients to make it all work.
Ingredient #1: Your idea by itself is not going to get you anywhere. You need the right people to build your startup with, your co-founders. And this is not an easy task either, as you need to be 100% sure you share the same goals, values, and mission. Building a start-up is like building something with Lego bricks: if some parts don’t fit, you’ll probably fail. And the founders of a start-up are the foundation that you will build your product on.
Ingredient #2: The second layer of bricks differ with each startup. It can either be a seed-investor, or it’s the team that you will build your product with. In both cases it is crucial to decide on the right people, as you will continue building on top of the first bricks, supporting the entire building.
Ingredient #3: Know your goals, your values. Why? Because you need to know what may obstruct a healthy relationship with your potential investor. We’ve experienced this first hand when we had to end our engagement with an investor after he told us he wanted us to sell our users data to third parties. Even though we had previously agreed we wouldn’t do this under no circumstance. Privacy is one of topishare’s corner stones, and that’s why we ended our engagement in mutual agreement. But it wasn’t fun, make sure you don’t make the same mistake as we did.
Ingredient #4: Connections. Ok, I know, this isn’t the easiest for all of us. But network your b#t off. It will pay off in the end. For us it’s slightly easier, as I have already 15 years of startup experience in my pocket. I initially didn’t want to use my connections, but I have decided to go for it after some friends who invest told me: “we do not open presentation send to us via email without recommendation”. And this is really understandable. Can you imagine receiving, on a daily basis, thousands of emails of which perhaps only one might be interesting?
So, I keep on sending out those ‘cold’ emails, but have also told people I know to ask around. And this two-way approach really yields the most results.
topishare is currently growing very fast, we’ve consolidated partnerships with Forbes (Georgia), CBW, myvideo, and several others — both in Georgia and across the world.
And we are ready for an investor, to take the big step, and get married. Because you can do fine on your own, but it’s nice to have an equal partner in life that you can grow with together, a mutual beneficial relationship. We’ve had several investors already interested, and we believe that any investor (angel or VC), will not hesitate to “pop the question” after understanding the major potential topishare has globally in changing the way we connect online.