Getting VCs to invest in an early-stage startup post-pandemic is no walk in the park. Even more so if you’re running a B2C startup. And if you’re a female or diverse founder, be primed for an arduous endeavor because, in Europe, female entrepreneurs received a mere 0.9% of 2022’s investment capital.
What’s challenging to make sense of as a founder is that VCs thrive on risk but are cautious in downturns. So, with global events like the Ukraine war, market crashes, and inflation casting a shadow, they tend to stick to the familiar — typically, B2B male founders of established, late-stage businesses.
But raising capital before the year ends doesn’t have to be a far-fetched dream. There are plenty of angel investors out there who are often more confident than your average VC. They’ve been through the mill and built companies themselves, they’ve seen fluctuating markets and downturns before, and they know from experience that now is an optimal time to invest in early-stage ventures.
As a founder of a female-run, circular marketplace that digitizes the leading jewelers of the world — which just raised a $2.85 million seed round — here are my tips on raising a substantial round without VCs by focusing on angel investors only.
Tools and resources you absolutely need
Beyond capital, angel investors typically bring experience, networks, and moral support. But you won’t find them hiding in plain sight unless you have the right toolkit. Before you get started, make sure you have the following lined up:
- LinkedIn subscription: Yes, $79.99 per month is expensive. But with unlimited access to message anyone who looks like a potential investor on LinkedIn, the LinkedIn Sales Navigator Core package is a must for a successful angel fundraise.
- Crunchbase subscription: Totally necessary, too. It’s your first port of call to help you find investors in companies similar to yours.
There are plenty of angel investors out there who are often more confident than your average VC.
- A good CRM: I simply used Notion and couldn’t live without it. When speaking with 500+ investors, you need some way of tracking conversations, angel quirks and preferences, and progress. I structured this in a kanban view, based on the stage of the conversation.
- A strong blurb: Stick to two or three sentences maximum, with links to published articles about your company, if you have them. The message should be straightforward, enabling potential investors to easily understand what the company does and what you’re looking to offer them — an investment opportunity.