So it’s not necessarily a fun process. Here’s my attempt to help.
Last week I met with two graduates from the most recent cohort of DivInc, a pre-accelerator in Austin addressing the lack of diversity in the world of tech and startups. One of the topics that arose was fundraising — less about how much to raise, but more so whom to meet with and pitch. I suggested to start by building a list of 50–100 potential investors, and then determining the best way to connect with and get introductions to those investors.
It wasn’t until after the meeting that I really stopped to think about my suggestion. Most of my career has been on the other side of the table: listening to and evaluating pitches, not delivering them. I have never been in the position where I needed to ask anyone — friends, family, angels, institutional investors — for the capital to execute on an idea, and to develop a business around said idea. And worst of all, I had never actually done the task I had suggested.
To remedy this shortcoming I’ve begun listing out angel investors based here in Austin, as well as the local venture firms and their investment professionals. Right now the spreadsheet with these names (linked below) is divided by firms and individuals, though there is overlap as several of those individuals invest both personally and on behalf of their firms.
My overall goal in creating this spreadsheet was to build a living resource for founders who aren’t sure how to approach fundraising. I just have two asks for anyone still reading at this point:
- Share this spreadsheet with any founders who a) live in Austin, b) are moving their companies to Austin, and/or c) want to raise capital from Austin-based investors.
- Reach out if there are any additions or corrections to both maintain and improve the quality of this spreadsheet.
Finally, if there is a third ask, it’s this: have empathy. My original suggestion to these two founders may have been useful, but I’ve never been in their position. Building this spreadsheet wasn’t easy — yet it’s only a single step in the fundraising process. Seeing my friends as they begin this process has opened my eyes to how much more I have to learn about building companies. Or more frankly, it’s slapped me into a state of understanding their experiences. Thanks again for the grounding — and best of luck on the fundraising path.
Two more inspirations for this post: Steve O’Dell (who published a spreadsheet of over 1,700 investors located in the Bay Area), and Lu Milevskyi (who launched a database of 2,400 investors around the world). Full credit to them for, you know, spending the time to collect information on several thousand investors.
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