I found a way for founders to find angel investors in their network using LinkedIn, and since sharing this with a couple founders and getting feedback – I’m excited to tell you – it works (for some, at least).
Go to LinkedIn. Search for “angel investor”, and filter down to “people” who are within 1 or 2 degrees with you.
Depending on your network, this could be a huge list (mine shows 31,205). It’ll have noise, because this includes people who work with angels investors, etc.
Alternatively, you can remove the keyword search, and search for folks who have or have had the role “angel investor”. You can find this in advanced filters.
If the search result is too large, you should filter down to locations close to you so you can fundraise with minimal travel.
The key here is your mutual relationships with these angels.
At this point, I suggest setting up an Airtable. As much as I love Google Sheets, for what I want you to do, you’ll need the “Linked Table” feature from Airtable.
First, you’ll create the table “Angel Investors”. First column will be their name. You’ll then create a “Linked Column” titled “mutual connections” and create a new table called People. This is where you’ll put people in your mutual relationships.
As you go through the search results in LinkedIn, look at the profile of each search result and determine whether you feel they are worth reaching out to. Part of this is looking at the mutual connections and seeing if you know them well enough to ask them to forward an email along.
(I’m not going to go into forwardable emails here. Read Alex Iskold’s post if you’re not familiar with it)
If they seem like a fit, and you have good mutual connections, add them to the “Angel Investor” table, and in the “Mutual Connection” column, add the person or people you might try to reach them through.At the end of this exercise, you not only have a big list of angel investors in your network, but have tracked your mutual connections with them. You can then look at your “People” table, add a column that counts “Angels” they know – and sort by it. Now you know that Susan who you volunteered with happens to know 5 angel investors in your city.
You then ask your friends if they would mind looking through (or hearing) a short list of names, and if they know any of them well enough – if they could forward along an email to them.
The original list of angels you created will pare down fairly quickly, as you realize many of the LinkedIn relationships are not strong (eg “I don’t recall that name, must have met them at a conference”), but that’s part of the process.
I’m sure this will work better for some than others – if you try this, I’d love to know how it goes. You can leave a comments or just tweet me (@yoheinakajima).