How I Help Startups

You’ve decided to back a startup and wired in your money. So you’re done, right?


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The best investors help their portfolio companies throughout their lives. This collaboration has helped Silicon Valley dominate the technology industry.

Investors want to help you! It’s one of the most fun parts of the job.

So be sure to update your investors monthly (or at least quarterly) and include things you need help with. If investors don’t know what you need, they can’t help you!

Here are some ways I like to help:

1) Fundraising. This is the most important way I can help.

When a founder is trying to raise a round, I put the word out to the many investors in my network. The founder gets a bunch of meetings with VC’s without having to do anything!

Many VC’s don’t respond to cold messages. So warm intros are critical.

These intros also help me. By feeding these good deals to other investors, I ensure they’ll feed me their best deals!

Everybody wins.

2) Promotion.

This blog gets significant traffic. When I invest in a company, I like to shout them out here — with the founder’s permission, of course.

This can bring in customers and employees. My site linking to theirs also builds their domain authority, which is critical for position in search engines.

3) Finding customers.

I meet new startups every day. Some of them are struggling with issues that my portfolio companies are solving!

When that happens, I like to introduce the two founders and see if they can work together.

4) Recruiting. Finding great employees is the hardest thing a startup will ever do.

With the right people, everything else falls into place!

So when a startup is hiring, I blast out the job requirements to my network. It can yield some great candidates!

5) Advice. I’m careful with this one.

I never offer advice unless the founder asks. Too many cooks in the kitchen means burnt food and a grease fire!

But when founders do ask for guidance, I’m happy to spend as much time with them as they want.

Recently, the founder of one of the top companies in my portfolio asked for help with investor updates. It’s his first venture-backed company, so he had no idea how to write one.

He showed me a beautiful document that ran on for many pages. And I had to tell him that was massive overkill!

A brief update containing mostly numbers is best. It takes less time to write and is more informative.

As an angel, it takes a long time to get a return. If you ever get one at all.

In the mean time, have fun with the job! And what could be more fun than helping a great, hardworking entrepreneur!

Investors: how do you help your portfolio companies? Founders: have your investors helped you?

Leave a comment at the bottom and let me know!

More on tech:

Big Problems at Divvy Homes

Russian Engineers Are Fleeing the Country

How I Source Deals

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Photo: “Help wanted sign” by andjohan is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.


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