Start trading knowledge

I am often asked how to meet investors. I feel it’s important to rephrase the question and instead ask yourself how do I start relationships with investors? 

You could, of course, meet investors at a function, however, so do a dozen other people. Even if you practice your one-liner to be an opportunity statement rather than a ‘what my company does’ statement, the chances of being memorable are still slim to none. If, however, you are endorsed to an investor by a third party and there’s a story of a value exchange that helped the other person, there’s a fair chance you’ll end up on the investor’s watch list. Being an investable founder requires evidence of character, commitment and coachability. To demonstrate your personal commercial value you need to create history.

A simple tip to create history I was taught by Jon Lambert in my early 20s was to allocate time every day to scanning media and sharing articles individually to people, with a personal note of interest and relevance. It may be a trade article, a media call out, job advertisement or an event. What you are doing is giving the other person your time, effort and an opportunity. If they seize the opportunity they will always remember you as the catalyst and you have just become part of their story. When that person introduces you to someone else, they will introduce you with gratitude and high value, telling a story about your history and how you helped them. Rather than being introduced as ‘Peter who runs an app biz’, now you are introduced as ‘Peter, who got me onto… which resulted in….’. Which is more investable?

To action

  • By the end of today send at least one person a link that will help them. 
  • Ensure the new knowledge you send is need-to-know and can lead to a direct action. 
  • Preface with only one sentence. 
  • Avoid immaterial, inspirational, interesting, nice-to-know distractions.

Relationships require a value exchange. Make sure what you send is highly relevant and of high value to that person. Knowledge is an age-old trade. Use it pro-actively.