I get quizzed on this by people outside of the VC/Startup/Angel ecosystem – and some of them wonder if it’s easy to find good startups. Like most early stage investors, I am a bit vague when asked about deal sourcing – “it depends, variety of sources like conferences, friends, family, bankers” -is my common refrain.
I guess the moot point is where you find good deals. Many investors (myself included) love Linkedin referrals – specifically from second degree connects where the intermediary is someone we trust and respect (ex-colleague, ex-college-buddy). I confess – I am a Linkedin addict; and after seeing thousands of profiles over the years, it’s amazing how in 2 minutes one can get a fairly good idea of a person’s pedigree, achievements, and personality. And by extension whether this meets the first ‘smell test’ of a startup attractiveness – eg ex-Flipkart, IIT/IIM, cool AI/Machine-learning, SaaS based offering for Fintech in India (this my Bay Area friends is the equivalent of Stanford MBA, ex-Google/Facebook, Palo-Alto based, SaaS-play).
So, a bit of advice for startups seeking funding – spruce up your Linkedin profiles! Make it content- and context-rich. Exude good digital body language. Talk about everything that you did in your career and even at college – and definitely don’t shy away from talking about failures. Investors love founders that have already learned from past mistakes and are leveraging these experiences for good use.