We regularly receive emails from startups who are wondering one thing: how to get attention on AngelList. While I’ll typically send back some tips, most people overlook the reality: AngelList often reflects real relationships. While there are investors who will invest without having met you before, they’re probably doing it based on the fact that other brand name investors are involved with your company.
So how did well known investors become involved with your company in the first place? Most likely not through AngelList. There is no doubt that well known investors are browsing AngelList and occasionally picking companies to invest in, yet most conversations with investors that I’ve seen still happen through personal introductions.
When we listed StartupStats on AngelList, I had a well known investor reach out to me but not before I had two other well known references and an advisor listed on our profile. Which begs the question: how did I get those people listed on our profile in the first place? I built relationships with them. Dinners, networking events, and coffee meetings over the course of a number of years.
You need to spend time building relationships with investors and influencers well before you’re considering fundraising. That means you can’t just launch a profile and expect to start cashing checks. As Daniel Odio writes:
AngelList isn’t a magic bullet. It won’t make your startup hot if it’s not. But what it will do is give you what I call “force multiplication.”
Success is not something that comes to you by raising your hand, you need to work to make success happen. That comes through either developing incredible products (incredible products stand for themselves) or building relationships with people who believe in your ability to execute. Just like dating, there are plenty ways to game social proof and attraction, yet the vast majority of successful founders have a long backstory behind their success.
Your job is to create that story. So what are you waiting for? Start writing that story today and planning for tomorrow. While you’re building your product, take time to build relationships with others, and over time you’ll be in a place where you can get traction no matter the environment.