I recently closed a $1 million seed-funding round for Likeable Local, my new social media software company. But it wasn't through venture capitalists. My seed round is a convertible note raised entirely through angels.
While venture capital dollars are shrinking, angels, a new class of investors, are growing in number each quarter. And though this influx of angel money may make it harder to raise later-stage funding because of the so-called series A "crunch" it creates, I'd recommend it to you, too.
Here's three reasons why:
1. Money (Of Course)
The most obvious way angel investors can help you grow your business is through the dollars they invest. I raised $910,000 exclusively through angels. Whether you need $25,000 or $1 million to get your company off the ground, you can turn to angels for money. I suggest you use AngelList or Gust to find the angels and angel networks that make the most sense for you to pitch.
2. Networking and Mentorship
Beyond dollars, angels help you meet other smart people who can help you grow your business, mentor you, and teach you. Every angel, whether or not he or she funds you, has an extensive network of people who can help you in one way or another.
I've pitched several angels who chose not to invest in Likeable Local for a wide variety of reasons, but ended up introducing me to others, who did in turn invest or help me. Also, even though I don't actively angel invest except through my affiliation with Gen Y Capital, I've helped several entrepreneurs who angels introduced me to.
3. Business Strategy and Recruiting
Many angel investors were once entrepreneurs so they often have extensive experience building, growing, and selling scalable businesses. Because they've been through the process, angels can provide invaluable advice, no matter what stage of the business you're in. Angels can also refer you to people with proven experience growing start-ups--people they've hired or worked with before, whether in development, sales, marketing, finance, or any leadership role.
What has your experience been talking to and fundraising from angel investors?