My journey has allowed me the privilege of having many conversations with Investors and Entrepreneurs about the Denver/Boulder Investor and startup market. With Entrepreneurs, the question comes up a lot: “Where and how do I start looking for Investors, and what should I show them?” The answer is dynamic, however, I’ve listed some of the groups and resources I’ve discovered to date below. If you have any to add or have comments about anything I’ve listed below, please leave a comment and let me know!
First, I want to share a few ground rules I live by.
- Don’t exclude a resource such as Naturally Boulder because you’re not in Boulder, or not in the Natural Food space. More often than not, these events and programs have people attending that are interested in collaborating and networking regardless of the industry. They also often have educational events such as pitch events that are relevant and valuable even if you’re not in their space.
- Join Twitter, even if it’s just to follow and not to post. Brad Feld and other active Investors and Entrepreneurs in the startup world will post articles, events, and points of inspiration on their twitter feeds. I spend at least 15-30 minutes a day reviewing my twitter feed and using it as my industry news source and inspiration. I will write a separate post on how to use Twitter to your advantage. But don’t fall into the “I don’t tweet” trap.
- Use LinkedIn and make sure your profile is up to date. I think using LinkedIn is worthy of an article in itself, but most professionals will go to your LinkedIn account to research you and determine if they want to talk to you. Reed Hoffman wrote this great summary on using LinkedIn as a powerful networking tool. This slide share will take you 10 minutes to review. Do it, it’s worth it.
Now to the meat of this article — Resources (listed in no particular order)… Keep in mind that some of these resources are focused on immersing yourself in the Denver/Boulder startup community, but see above points on why this is just as important.
- First and foremost, Elizabeth Kraus (LinkedIn / Twitter) does a great job of articulating and providing instruction around what Angel investors are looking for from Entrepreneurs. Elizabeth’s website is one of the best resources out there. In her article: Pitching to Angel Investors | A Slide by Slide Guide, Elizabeth outlines exactly what content investors want to see and what to put on each slide. Don’t miss the other resources and Events listed on The Impact Angel Group website. Elizabeth and Sue have also just launched a Women’s Accelerator program called MergeLane that will be one to watch.
- Naturally Boulder has great networking resources and pitch events. Make sure to sign up for their newsletter. Website | Twitter
- Built in Colorado has done an awesome job of crowdsourcing and creating original content and resources focused on the Colorado startup market. Website | Twitter
- Brad Feld and The Foundry Group lead the Boulder startup and Investor market and have done a great job sharing their knowledge. If you’re new to the funding world, Brad and Jason’s Venture Deals book is a must read. Their companion site Ask the VC, is packed with resources such as how to build a term sheet and many, many other great resources for the Entrepreneur.
- Rockies Venture Club events are a must attend for the Denver Investor and Entrepreneur. They have a variety of classes for Entrepreneurs such as How to Build a Pitch Deck that are great if you are literally just putting yours together. They also offer classes for Investors on topics such as How to Perform Due Diligence. Many Denver and Boulder Angel Investors and Entrepreneurs attend their annual Angel Capital Summit. This event is definitely worth attending to see what and how others are pitching, what Investors are interested in, and meet others in the space.
- Open Angel Forum: This is an invite-only forum where a handful of companies are selected to pitch. It is held twice a year, once in the Spring and once in the Fall. The next OAF is October 28th. Companies can apply to present here.
These are just a sampling of resources. Keep an eye out on my Resources Page and section for updates.