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How to Connect With Investors

…off the beaten path tips from Cody Barbo, CEO and founder of tech startup Industry

Twitter Is Your Friend

A decade ago, introductions to investors would start with countless phone calls, emails or — in a perfect world — a mutual connection. Those elements are still important to landing big money, but today the whole process often starts on social media.

Investors who want access to competitive

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investment opportunities are often extremely active on social media. Most VCs and angel investors tweet and blog, and some are active on Snapchat and AngelList, as well.

“Start following investors on Twitter who have put money into companies like yours,” Barbo said. “I’ve been introduced to several investors this way.”

San Francisco VC Phil Sanderson blogged on the subject back in 2014:

“The investor and founder relationship is about trust and today that trust can be established through social media,” Sanderson wrote. “I regularly engage with thought leaders and entrepreneurs through social networks, and I increasingly receive pitches through Twitter, some of which have led to in-person meetings.”

Timing Is Everything

There’s strategy to reaching out to investors online, Barbo said.

“Get on Twitter between 9 p.m. and midnight,” Barbo said. “This is when most people are in relax mode. It’s after dinner, the kids are in bed, and just like everybody else — investors are often scrolling through Twitter.”

Try engaging investors in conversations — replying to something they posted, or sharing something they might be interested in. They’re much more likely to see it during this time frame.

Rub Shoulders With the Wealthy

Barbo said startup founders hoping to meet investors are often attending the wrong kind of events.

“People go to startup events looking for money, but you’re more likely to meet other tech startups there, not investors,” Barbo said. “If you want to meet angel investors, go to angel events. If you’re looking to meet VCs, go to venture capital events.”

Better yet, Barbo said, meet people outside of business events.

“Go places where high net worth individuals hang out,” Barbo said. “Grab a drink at a swanky restaurant in La Jolla, and rub shoulders with that person sitting alone at the bar. You never know who they might introduce you to.”

S.D. Investors on Twitter

@NavidAlipour – Navid Alipour, Analytics Ventures

Co-founder and managing partner at local venture capital firm, Analytics

Ventures (@AnalyticsTown), Alipour has his eye on San Diego software firms — especially those dealing in data.

@MSuster – Mark Suster, Upfront Ventures

A two-time entrepreneur who sold his last startup to Salesforce, Suster gets the early investment game. Now with LA-based Upfront Ventures (@UpfrontVC), he keeps tabs on San Diego’s tech scene. Suster is focused on startups in the digital content and distribution, ad tech, and SaaS arenas.

@HowardLindzon – Howard Lindzon, StockTwits, Social Leverage

Lindzon, co-founder and chairman of fintech startup StockTwits, has invested in over 100 companies. Lindzon is a resident of Coronado who makes early-stage investments in startups through Social Leverage (@SocialLeverage), a seed investment fund.

@FredWangVC – Fred Wang, Trinity Ventures

Wang is a general partner at Trinity Ventures (@TrinityVentures), a Menlo Park-based VC firm that keeps San Diego companies in mind when looking to invest. Wang is focused on investments in enterprise and internet infrastructure tech companies, including big, security, cloud computing and SaaS.

@VentureConnect – Eric Otterson, Silicon Valley Bank

Otterson is a serial entrepreneur, an angel investor, and the managing director at Silicon Valley Bank, leading the San Diego-based tech banking team. Otterson is plugged in to the local startup scene as co-founder of Start Up San Diego, and serves on the boards of EvoNexus and the San Diego Venture Group.

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