For the tech world, Silicon Valley is like Hollywood. It is the epicenter of disruption and innovation, and if you're looking to make it in the world of startups, this is probably the best place to start.
While you may know all about the incubators, VC offices, and meet-ups throughout Silicon Valley where you can find investors, there are some other places to find investors hanging out and potentially more amenable to you approaching them.
Try some of these ideas for out-of-the-box ways to meet your next investment partner!
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Caffeine is a shared passion amongst investors and entrepreneurs alike. There are numerous Starbucks outlets to hit throughout Silicon Valley, but you may also want to try out places like Hanahaus and Coupa Café in Palo Alto as well as Mountain View’s Red Rock Coffee.
Silicon Valley and San Francisco hot spots are often a breeding ground for the latest funding deals.
More private clubs are appearing throughout Silicon Valley. While you might not be able to afford membership quite yet, you may be able to get in through another contact or colleague who has “made it.”
There’s also the Silicon Valley Capital Club in San Jose, which offers a range of amenities and dining to make the most of networking with the members who also happen to be key investors for startups.
Many investors frequent co-working spaces because they want to stay in touch with what is going on in different industries and because they are actively seeking the “next big thing” to invest in.
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Bars and Breweries
While it may seem sort of unprofessional, it’s really not, because many of these Silicon Valley locations host local entrepreneur and investor meet-ups and offer a casual, relaxed environment for talking about your disruptive product or service.
There are many social events and parties throughout Silicon Valley where investors go to celebrate and enjoy themselves.
Getting an invite to an event is your ticket to get in front of Silicon Valley’s top investors.
Plan of Attack
At least in this case, stalking is not necessarily a bad thing and something even introverts can do. You can follow investors you have your eye on through their social media sites.
Often, they check-in on various sites and share what they are doing. That provides an opportunity to find them more easily and in a less creepy way than waiting in a car outside their house or hotel.
Just be sure to have your "elevator pitch" practiced and perfectly to just a few sentences before you walk up and introduce yourself.
Don’t forget that the old adage of “first impressions are everything” still holds for investors just like it does for just about everything else in life.
Always be respectful of the investor’s time as they may not expect someone to approach them and start pitching their idea.
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Be mindful that you do not want to startle or offend. Ask them if they have a minute and introduce yourself. Be sure to dress the part and have some quick takeaway material and contact information to hand them if they seem interested.
Lastly, be sure to thank them for their attention.