With investment activity reaching a three-year low in Q2 of 2023, it’s clear that we’re deep in the midst of a funding winter.
However, founders with their Series A on the horizon are facing especially tough odds. Seed startups in the U.S. were least affected by the funding downturn as investors opted for smaller deals against more costly late-stage rounds. While this was good news in the short-term for new startups, there are now more seed-stage companies than ever in the pipeline and the average funding time between seed and Series A has stretched to 25 months.
Having a stellar pitch deck will encourage investors to bet on your idea, but how can you convince anyone without first securing a meeting?
In 2023, founders will need to actively court the attention of investors to get their foot in the door. LinkedIn provides an extremely valuable resource here. With more than 950 million professional members worldwide, the platform offers a vast database that can be used to research potential investors, build new connections and nurture these relationships with a methodical process that will directly set the stage long before it’s time to raise your Series A.
Here we’ll break down a strategic four-step approach that will help to boost your reach and visibility with investor networks on LinkedIn.
Grow your network of investors
While it’s likely you already have several investors in your network, the first stage of the process will focus on increasing this pool significantly. A study exploring the success of job hunters on LinkedIn found that networking with weak ties (a larger set of people you know less well) resulted in more jobs than strong ties. For founders preparing to fundraise, the same science holds.
Not every request will result in a new connection, but with patience and consistency, your pool of investors will begin to grow.
As with any lead generation process, the ability to track progress and measure results is going to be central to this strategy. This means the first order of business is to compile a comprehensive database of potential investors.
Take your time with research here. With LinkedIn, you have access to an immense directory, therefore uncovering a wide range of investors who are relevant to your startup won’t be achieved on the first couple of search returns. Starting with the most obvious keywords such as “investor” + “industry” is a logical starting point but you’ll want to get creative with your search queries beyond this. For example, many investors look to support founders from a specific background or fund startups that align with a certain impact cause, but finding these kinds of synergies will require you to cast your net wider by using the advanced search function.