How I Source Deals (Part 2)

We investors have no function except to find and help the next Google. But, uh, where is it?

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Finding the great companies of the future is a huge part of our job. I look at 150-250 companies every month.

I choose one.

Since I wrote about sourcing deals last fall, my approach has changed a lot. Here’s how I’m finding great startups now:

1) Pitch events. There’s nothing like being in person, right?

Wrong. The best pitch events I attend are usually virtual.

Founders from anywhere on earth can attend. My latest investment is in an incredible company based in the UK.

I never would’ve met that founder at a New York pitch event.

My favorites are Remote Demo Day and LAUNCH Accelerator Demo Day, both put on by Jason Calacanis’ venture firm. Stonks also has some great events.

For in person tech events in NY and SF, check out Gary’s Guide.

2) Portfolio company founders.

For me, this is the highest signal intro I can get. Any meeting with a founder recommended by someone I’ve already invested in goes to the top of my list.

This also is a great strategy for founders to approach investors. Find some founders they’ve already invested in and ask for an intro.

You may already know some of their portco CEO’s!

3) Venture firms. Great deals are currency.

Whenever there’s space in the round, I send out deals I’m doing to a number of venture firms in my network. This helps the startup and the VC’s if they find a great deal.

In return, they introduce me to some founders they’re investing in. These entrepreneurs are pre-vetted by smart investors, making my job way easier!

4) Seedscout. Seedscout is a really cool new platform that lets founders request intros to investors.

This is especially useful for founders who aren’t in Silicon Valley or New York.

I made an investment in an incredible Utah SaaS company I met on Seedscout. I never would’ve met them otherwise.

I like the platform so much I actually invested in Seedscout itself!

Seedscout is free for investors. Check it out!

5) Syndicates. As I approach the two year mark as an angel, I’m doing fewer and fewer syndicate deals.

Four out of my last 5 new investments have been direct. Over time, I’ve built a network that helps me find great deals on my own.

That has two huge advantages.

You’re not at the mercy of whatever a syndicate lead decides to send you. And you don’t have to pay anyone 20% of your gains!

But for a new angel without a great network, syndicates are an absolute must.

The best one is Jason’s, here. Flight VC, an arm of Gaingels, also has some great deals.

I am still happy to do syndicate deals if that’s the best deal available. 80% of something beats 100% of nothing any day!

How do you source deals? Leave a comment and let me know!

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Photo: Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. “File:Google page brin.jpg” by Ehud Kenan is licensed under CC BY 2.0.


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