I'm a native Miami girl, which means I'm at Art Basel with bells on every year. Normally you just attend a bunch of art showings and parties, but this year I noticed something a little different.
In other words, the potential investors were in town for Art Basel and the startups looking for funding followed them there.
This got me thinking about all the places startups could find potential investors. The reality is investors are kind of everywhere, but there are some places where you may have better luck running into them.
Art Basel is a massive cultural event that attracts people from all over the world. It also attracts people with a lot of disposable income.
If you're looking for an investor to drop $20k or more on your startup, they need to be in the financial position to do so. A lot of these guys end up attending cultural events precisely because they have a thing for art (or film, or food, etc.) and don't mind spending a few grand on a piece.
Additionally, many of these events are starting to incorporate tech and entrepreneurship into their programming. There were several tech events going on at Art Basel this year and tons of panels about different forms of entrepreneurship. The only difference from more traditional entrepreneurial events was the backdrop had some killer art.
Most people think of co-working spaces as shared office spaces full of young startups trying to make a name for themselves - and they'd be right. But, as I recently learned, they may also be a good place to meet potential investors.
I actually met someone who has invested in some of my favorite FinTech companies at my co-working space. He's been sitting at one of the community tables I frequent for months and I had absolutely no idea! The only reason I even found out is because I told him I write about finance for a living.
It's not like investors walk around these places with signs on their foreheads (they'd never make it out of there in one piece) so it's up to you strike up a conversation with the people you meet.
Part of the point of co-working spaces is the ability to network, even if you're just visiting, so take advantage because not everyone is a 20-something startup founder.
I've been attending blogging conferences for a few years now. In that time, I've seen a shift happen, at least as it pertains to FinTech.
What started as an event for bloggers to learn about marketing and trends in the financial space has turned into a hub of startups to show off their stuff.
One blogging conference I attend even started having a startup competition a couple of years ago. As such, investors may also attend these events to find some new companies they'd like to invest in.
So yes, bloggers are now playing a part in hooking people up with funding. Not just in terms of publicity, but in hosting actual events where they can find investors.
While these are great places to meet investors, the reality is you can meet potential investors just about anywhere if you know how to strike up a good conversation with people. Whether it's an art gallery or a bar, you never know where your next investor will come from.