Dave Lavinsky of Growthink Reveals the 7 Best Places to Find Angel Investors

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Dave Lavinsky, co-founder and President of leading entrepreneurial consulting firm, Growthink Inc., offers tips on finding angel investors, the most important source of capital for a developing business.

Dave Lavinsky, co-founder and President of Growthink

According to the Center for Venture Research at the University of New Hampshire, last year 66,230 ventures received angel funding. Compare that to the only 3,673 ventures that raised venture capital, and it’s clear that nearly TWENTY TIMES more companies raise angel funding than venture capital. Importantly, the Center for Venture Research found that the number of angel investors providing the funding last year was 318,480 individuals. That's a lot of angel investors.

Dave Lavinsky, co-founder of Growthink - a leading entrepreneurial consulting firm that has helped thousands of clients develop business plans - says, “The question that entrepreneurs always ask me is ‘how do I find these angel investors.’ The good and bad news is that there's no directory of angel investors. This is bad because if there was, it would be easy to find them. On the other hand it's good, since if these angel investors were easy to find, they would be bombarded with deals; and thus raising capital from them would be harder.”

According to Lavinsky, the best way to find these angel investors is through networking. “The first part of networking,” he says, “is asking everyone you know (e.g., friends, colleagues, family, advisors like consultants, lawyers and accountants, etc. ) who they might know. And you should definitely do that.”

He continues, “The other part of networking is meeting new people. In many cases you should target individual angel investors directly. For instance, you may realize that a certain executive in your industry would be perfect, in which case you should call them and/or seek an introduction from a mutual acquaintance.” Note that business owners, executives and others with high paying jobs comprise the majority of angel investors.

In other cases, it’s a matter "getting out there" to meet them at different venues. Here are Dave Lavinsky’s seven best venues for meeting angel investors:

1. Local Business & Networking Events
Every city has local events that attract business owners and entrepreneurs (note that other business owners and entrepreneurs are often angel investors and/or can introduce an entrepreneur to angels). Many events are listed on sites like Meetup, Eventful and EventBrite. For example, if simply go to Meetup and type in "entrepreneur," there will be lots of local events.

2. Industry Conferences & Trade Shows
Industry Conferences & Trade Shows are great places to meet angel investors. These events are crawling with successful people who have the means and often interest in funding a startup company. And, based on the fact that they are attending such a conference, they know your industry. This makes educating them on a venture easier, and also often gives them the ability to provide valuable strategic advice.

3. Alumni Events
College alumni events are filled with successful people, many of whom would be very interested in funding a company as an angel investor. The entrepreneur will already have a connection with these individuals since they share the same alma mater.

4. Chamber of Commerce Meetings
There's probably no better place to meet a large concentration of business owners (and potential angel investors) than local Chamber of Commerce meetings. So attend these meetings.

5. Continuing Education Classes
In most communities there are local colleges that teach continuing education classes. Some of these classes will attract successful business owners and others who might consider investing in a startup venture. A class teaching "bread baking" may not be the best fit but a class teaching "online marketing for your business" might be a perfect way to meet angel investors.

6. Volunteer at Local Organizations & Charities and/or Attend Charity Events
As a general rule, it’s good to volunteer and give back to people less fortunate than you. But as a bonus, when volunteering one may often meet very successful people, including large donors to the cause. These individuals might also be interested in funding a company.

7. Online Forums
While there are lots of offline places to meet angel investors as specified above, don't forget about online venues. There are plenty of online communities to join. Ones filled with business owners. And ones filled with people who are experts in or are passionate about a particular industry. Likewise there are LinkedIn and Facebook groups. Go online and join the right groups, and use them to connect with prospective angels.

To help entrepreneurs raise money from angel investors, Lavinsky created an online training program called "Angel Funding Formula,” available at: http://www.growthink.com/products/angel-funding-formula.

About Growthink

Growthink provides consulting services and training products to help entrepreneurs start, grow, and successfully exit their businesses. To learn more about Growthink's business plan services, visit http://www.growthink.com/businessplan. Growthink also offers The Ultimate Business Plan Template, available at http://www.growthink.com/products/business-plan-template.

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