It's not easy getting funding for your business, particularly the more rarefied form of financing that comes in multi-million dollar packages from Silicon Valley or Silicon Alley venture captial funds.
But getting a meeting with a venture capitalist is not as difficult as you might think. If you're smart and strategic and show some drive and intelligence, you're likely to get a response.
"If you can't spend the time to figure out a few moves ahead of how to get to us, you are not going to have the drive it takes to be successful after our investment," says Rob Coneybeer, founder and managing director for Shasta Ventures, in Menlo Park, California. Coneybeer has these four additional tips to offer:
1. Show some initiative. Find someone to give you a personal introduction to one of the venture capital firm's partners. That could be as easy as searching your own social network, or tapping virtual social networks like LinkedIn.
2. Network strategically. Figure out who the portfolio companies are, and get to know the executives there. Then kindly ask for an introduction.
3. Find out if you're a fit. Not all venture capital firms are the same. Determine the investment goals of the firms whose financing you're soliciting. Some may specialize in early-stage capital. Others, like Shasta, may look for slightly more mature companies where they know their capital can accelerate growth rapidly.
4. Do your research. Many venture capitalists also blog or have active Twitter accounts. Get to know them, and capture their attention with your own intelligent posts or tweets.
And remember, make it human. "We love warm introductions, becaue they are a great indicator of an entrepreneur's hustle and determination," Coneybeer says.