Finding your angel takes
BioAngel networks have taken flight, both in the US and abroad. In an effort to match investors with bioentrepreneurs, local trade associations , investment groups and business incubators have launched, networks, events and online sites to identify and match those with money and interested in investing it with those who need money and interested in accepting it. Like any angel, early stage private investors are elusive, secretive, ephemeral, and difficult to recognize.In the UK, for example, the industry wide BioIndustry Association has launched a BioAngel Network in an efffort to get more business angels to invest in early stage projects after a decline in the number of venture capitalists willing to fund riskier start-up companies.
In the Western US, another organization, The Business Catapult, cosponsored by a local venture capital association, hosts an annual investor-inventor match fest and online service.
Finding angels take preparation, execution and luck.
Your preparation should include polishing your product and finding potential investors. Make sure your elevator pitch is clean, you have created a credible business entity, you have business cards and basic supporting marketing materials and that you have assembled the A team.
Finding potential private investors is more difficult. Helpful steps include targeting bioangel network attendees, going to events likely to be attended by high net worth individuals, like fund raising events and flying business class. (HINT: DO NOT ASK FOR MONEY AT FUNDRAISING EVENTS)
The next step is to network and create opportunities where you are likely to interact with potential investors. Remember, this is the first date. Your goal is to get the next date by getting someone interested in you and your idea. Read the other posts on this site about networking tips and practice them.
Finally, the best laid plans often go up in smoke. When you least expect it, you will bump into someone in a supermarket, be introduced to a person at a cocktail party, meet someone on a social networking site or ride up on a chairlift with the very person who wants to invest in your company. Luck favors the prepared.
Finding early stage money is a lot like finding love. It will often happen when you least expect it, you'll be excited when you find it, and, unfortunately, at some point ,the glow will fade and the work begin.