YOU’RE A NEW STARTUP AND YOU NEED TO FIND INVESTORS, BUT YOU’RE TIRED OF SEARCHING THROUGH ENDLESS SITES AND FILLING OUT FUTILE FORMS IN A BID TO SECURE IT. YOU MAY THEN BE PLEASED TO KNOW THAT, EVEN IN TODAY’S DIGITAL WORLD, THE POWER OF FACE-TO-FACE NETWORKING PREVAILS FOR MEETING POTENTIAL INVESTORS.
There are now dedicated networking events taking place around the world for connecting startups with business investors in person. Providing the opportunity for strong first impressions that don’t depend on web-based applications and weeks of waiting, additional panels and masterclasses can also help to build your business’s profile alongside its cash flow.
When seeking investment opportunities, you need to be clear about what your company represents and why that matters to an investor. Phil Gulliver co-founded StyleAtom, an AI fashion company that helps retailers better target their customers through analyzing images. They applied to various accelerators, with the hardest part for Tony being all the “different application processes and requirements,” with some wanting video submissions and others more traditional letters.
However he stressed the most important thing is “to convince investors that the market you are providing a product for is big enough to be worth their time and investment.” You must clearly “articulate the problem you are solving,” show that it is important, and that yours is the team to solve it. Practice pitching these key concepts before attending any networking event, making you ready to convince investors of your startup’s unique selling points.
You also need to determine how much equity you are willing to give up to an investor. For Tim Ogle, co-founder of Didici, a retail analytics firm, this varies depending on “requirements, judgment and instincts,” as well as the investor’s perceived value and your own business experience. You should also be wary of getting investors involved too soon – they’ll be demanding a far larger piece of the pie to impart their knowledge if your business is still in its infancy. For Ogle then, “Sometimes it pays off to wait.”
Get to know these five startup failures so you can iron out any kinks when you get to the investment-seeking phase. So you know who you are, what you want, and why you deserve to get it. Now where do you go to make it happen? Here are the top business networking events taking place around the world:
Despite living in the shadows of Brexit, London’s startup scene is on the rise. It’s home to some of Europe’s most successful and high-profile startups, like restaurant food delivery company Deliveroo. Here’s are some startup investor events to checkout:
The Business Startup Show welcomes anyone interested in or currently building a startup that sells to small businesses. Allowing ambitious entrepreneurs to exhibit their products, attendees also benefit from a speaker seminar lineup that includes Heather Mills, founder of vegan food company VBites, and Helen Ross, inventor of an improved-comfort saddle pad for horseback riders. Their speed networking session also sets up intensive two-minute meetings, thereby filling your contacts book with professionals who could help your company going forwards.
Enterprise Nation’s annual StartUp event showcases more than 100 successful entrepreneurs and small business owners, including the co-founders of Furniture Box and the husband and wife team behind authentic Indian street tea, Tuk Tuk Chai. Branding workshops and fundraising advice sessions are held throughout the day, working with Enterprise Nation’s other events to build businesses that succeed as part of their network. Regular 'She Means Business' evenings are also dedicated to determined female founders.
Furthermore, in the age of diversity there has been a rise of women in business networks including City Women Network that aim to connect like-minded female entrepreneurs.
The new starlet of the European startup landscape, Stockholm (birthplace of Spotify) is home to a vibrant entrepreneurial community – and plenty of investors too. These are the top events:
Stockholm Entrepreneurs is for marketers, investors and startups to meet and learn from each other. Founded by Peter Fosso, he runs a similar organization in Seattle and helps interested Swedish companies enter the US marketplace. Regular events cover topics such as investor pitching, building a workforce, and marketing tips, with web developers such as Snowfire on hand to help design your business’s e-commerce platform. Their annual ‘Startup Matchmaking’ day can also assist in finding the right investor for you, securing your company its much-needed funding going forwards.
STING Day is a smaller, exclusive event for just 400 selected guests, particularly emphasizing sustainable products and those for the health market. Various Swedish startups gather here to meet with European investors such as H&M, Nordic Makers and Visa for 2018. The event is free – if you can get in – and hosts a variety of talks from insightful speakers, all looking to build on the work of the brightest entrepreneurs.
Boasting the likes of BuzzFeed, Etsy and AppNexus to its name, the bustling streets of New York are paving the way for the biggest and best startup ideas. Whether you’re based in the Big Apple or not, these events are worth visiting:
Entrepreneurs & Investors at Americas Tower is hosted by Paradigm Talks and occurs regularly throughout the year. Held at the 50-story Avenue of the Americas skyscraper, budding entrepreneurs can pitch their startup to angel investors and venture capital firms with the New York City skyline as their backdrop. Previous attendees include Oceanair with their innovative power boats; a ‘smart bag’ from Sensor & Stiches complete with built-in phone charging and GPS tracker; and a custom-fit goggles company called The Magic 5. Both presenters and listeners are welcome, with networking opportunities following the pitches.
Next Gen Summit is designed for younger entrepreneurs who are just starting out, providing them with the tools they need to tap their potential. Founded in 2014 by two millennials, success stories include Nick Mares who was advised by tycoon Mark Cuban early on for his company Kettle & Fire, which makes grass-fed bone broth. Other Shark Tank alums have also made appearances, such as Jordan DiCicco of Kitu Super Coffee, while many more mentors, investors and billion-dollar-brand founders are now event regulars. Specifically targeting those wanting to revolutionize their field, over 70 speakers offer unmissable insights for upcoming entrepreneurs.
Every country has its own entrepreneurial networking opportunities, but there are some that span the globe. Here are a couple that could have an event right near you:
The Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) connects entrepreneurs, investors, researchers and policymakers internationally. Now covering 160 countries and 20,000 partners, they host a Global Entrepreneurship Week every November. Activities here include network gatherings and competitions, all hoping to foster collaboration between those in attendance. Startup members currently include Jasberry, makers of superfood rice and pasta from Thailand; Skytree, whose products facilitate air recirculation in closed spaces; and Izy Shop, an online convenience store based in Mozambique.
Startup Grind works with Google for Startups in 500 cities, from Beijing and Baghdad to Montreal and Minneapolis. As the largest independent startup community, their monthly events feature past successes who share their experiences and lessons learned. These include Packlane, a customizable packaging company, and PickMySolar, which equips customers with alternate energy sources.
Wherever your startup is based, and whatever it hopes to sell, the entire business world rests on one thing: capital. Without initial investment, no company can get off the ground, meaning your best chance at securing those essential funds – and your company’s future – could be waiting at one of these events. Check out our extended guide on how to get funding for your business.