Guest Blogger Tony Lettich: “Five Startup Tips from Entrepreneurs”

Tony Lettich

Tony Lettich

Tony Lettich is a Co-founder of Funding$age.  Tony has previous corporate venture capital experience and also serves as Managing Director of The Angel Roundtable of the Tri-cities, TN/VA.

In the FundingSage blogs in our “Business Startup Spotlight,” we ask entrepreneurs “What is the most helpful tip or ‘hack’ you’ve ever learned, stumbled across, or been given?” The following are five tips they shared:

  1. Participate in an Accelerator Program!

According to Corey Davis, Co-founder of Capital Construction Solutions, “Being part of an accelerator provides companies with resources, partnership opportunities, and workshops that are very pertinent to companies that are starting out.”

Aman Singh, Co-founder of  R2 Robotronics described how their accelerator helped.  “Our mentors kept us on our toes in terms of refining our business idea, seeing where we can maintain the edge and identifying opportunities for us to make connections and get feedback on the idea.”

  1. Develop a Diverse Team!

Dr. Glenn Lawyer, Co-founder of Healthcast stated succinctly, “Find good mentors.”

“The best lesson we have experienced is to have a strong and diverse team (founders and advisors). As we have engaged new advisors and connections, we have seen the quality of our offering improve markedly,” indicated Hirsch Serman, CEO & Founder of DivorceSecure.

  1. Start with the MVP!

KaraoQ Co-founder  Michael Amburgey indicated, “Simply put, it’s to create the ugliest, simplest, often-times crudest true ‘minimal viable product’ or prototype that only proves out the one (MAYBE TWO) features that prove the idea can work, and obtain users. Biting off more of the elephant than you can chew at once only causes you to chew that much longer, decreasing efficiency and creating a lot of ‘noise’ that hampers quick, agile progress.”

  1. Get the Word Out!

James Bridges, Founder & CEO,of Road-Aid  said, “Get out there and meet people such as customers, advisers! Talk about your idea and what you are trying to accomplish. The hard part is not the idea, but the execution. Talking with everyone gives you the feedback to continually refine and shape your idea into something viable for the masses.”

  1. Remember Branding!

Nick Jones, Co-founder of JRNL shared, “Don’t undervalue the importance of your brand perception. It can make all the difference early on and will tell most investors if you’re serious or not. Get a good domain name. Get a good logo. Get a unique email address. When you’re young or new, you have to fake it till you make it.”

Just starting?  Check out the entrepreneurial ecosystem available in Knoxville!

Funding$age provides information, resources and tools to help entrepreneurs start, grow and fund their ideas.  “Is Your Startup Investable?”  The company’s TurboFunder Platform provides the support you need to build an investable company.

Final “Innov865 Week” micro event focused on cybersecurity

By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA

The local Cyber and Information Security Consortium is planning the final micro event as part of the region’s inaugural “Innov865 Week.”

The session, titled “Cybersecurity Opportunities for the Entrepreneur and Small Business,” is set for 9 to 11 a.m. September 23 in the MC-100 Building Classroom of Oak Ridge Associated Universities, 100 ORAU Way, Oak Ridge.

Stacy Prowell and David Sims from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory will present an overview of available cybersecurity technologies and the licensing process. Their presentation will be followed by one where Travis Howerton of the CNS Y-12 National Security Complex will speak about emerging trends in cybersecurity that create small business opportunities.

To register for the event, click here.

(Note: This article appeared previously on, a web-based service that was launched to spotlight and celebrate “all things” related to technology, innovation and entrepreneurship in East Tennessee.)

Ed Pershing, CEO of PYA, Reflects on Entrepreneurial Journey

By Ed Pershing, CEO of PYA

Innov865 Week is a week-long series of events, taking place September 19-23, 2016, to celebrate and showcase Knoxville as a great place for entrepreneurs to start and grow businesses. We have partnered with the Innov865 Alliance to bring you stories of innovation born in East Tennessee. Today, Ed Pershing, co-founder and CEO of PYA, talks about his journey as an entrepreneur.

Nearly 33 years ago, two young accountants decided they could take on the world from Knoxville, Tennessee, so they left secure positions with a “Big 8” accounting firm in December 1983 and founded a local company, then known as Pershing & Yoakley, CPAs.

Today, that startup, which had three employees, has grown to be consistently ranked as one of the 20 largest healthcare consulting firms in the country and a top 100 public accounting practice. It serves clients in all 50 states and has developed a national brand, as PYA. Along the way, it has spawned a number of startups—most of them successful—with six operating today under the PYA Enterprise brand.

At the time we started PYA, Doug Yoakley, my cofounder, and I did not consider ourselves entrepreneurs. In fact, I’m not sure the word was widely used in the 1980s to describe the journey we were pursuing. Our goal was to be able to guide our own destiny rather than be part of a large, bureaucratic enterprise.

Now, as I look back over the 33-year journey, it is clear that it is a good example of entrepreneurship. We have been successful with numerous initiatives, many of which exist today as integral components of PYA, but some were not what we visualized when we launched them. Yet, like entrepreneurs are taught today, we learned from mistakes, but never stepped back from pursuing opportunities to make a difference for our clients and in our communities.

As we have founded new companies, we have frequently challenged bigger players in the marketplace. We have done so by finding exceptionally talented individuals and building the business around them. That is evident in PYA Analytics, a company we launched a little over three years ago that drew heavily on talent from Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the U.S. Department of Energy’s largest science and energy lab.

Throughout this 33-year journey, PYA has not lost sight of the important base that we have in Knoxville even as we have established offices in many other cities. We were fortunate to have gained the confidence and support of some key Knoxville business leaders in those early years who put their faith behind us by engaging PYA to serve their businesses and the region’s hospitals. They recognized the exceptional talent and capabilities we offered and helped us establish the foundation that we enjoy today.

The word HELP is a concept that drives our firm today. We have not lost sight of the support and assistance we received as young entrepreneurs, and it is that spirit we embrace as we serve the Southern cities where we have a major presence–Atlanta, Nashville and Knoxville. From our newsletter to our involvement with entrepreneurial efforts like “Innov865 Week,” and Jumpstart Foundry, we want to help aspiring entrepreneurs succeed, just as those established business leaders helped us grow and succeed in the 1980s and 1990s.

Giving back is something that everyone should embrace.

The Innov865 Alliance has partnered with Startup Southerner, who will bring you stories of innovation born in East Tennessee prior to #Innov865 Week, September 19-23.  This inclusive media platform explores the dynamics of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the South. From community-contributed posts to in-depth articles, it strives to make information about participating in the new economy accessible to everyone.

The difference Startup Day makes to local entrepreneurs

Even though Rob Moseley didn’t win Startup Day 2015’s $5,000 Pitch Competition, he still walked away earning one thing: valuable business connections.

“I was able to meet a CEO of a biotech company in Knoxville at Startup Day,” Moseley wrote in an email interview. “This has allowed my company to have the opportunity to share lab space and resources with the company to help significantly reduce our startup costs. There are no true facilities in Knoxville that support a high-tech/science-based startup, so this connection made at Startup Day will be a major factor in the success of my company.”

Moseley last year made a pitch for SimPath, which uses assembly technology to reduce the time researchers spend on monotonous tasks and instead use their time towards true science.

“Startup Day was the first pitch competition I’ve competed in,” he wrote. “Not only did this allow me to gain experience pitching my idea to a large audience, I also was able to practice interacting with investors and other startups.”

For a look at the full story written by the Greater Knoxville Business Journal, click here.

If you would like more information about how to sign up for this year’s Startup Day, click here.

Innov865 Week Micro Event to Focus on Electronic Solutions in Government

By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA

“Ever since I was a kid, Knoxville has been described as a government town,” Vendor Registry’s Chris Van Beke says. “Let’s embrace it.”

That concept of building on your strengths is at the heart of a special micro event that Vendor Registry, eGovernment Solutions, and The Lighthouse Fund are hosting on Thursday, September 22. It is part of Knoxville’s first-ever “Innov865 Week” and will be held from 8 to 10 a.m. at the Knoxville Chamber.

The two relatively young Knoxville-based companies are focused on the government market. Vendor Registry streamlines the purchasing process for local government agencies and vendors, while eGov bills itself as a one-stop source for web-based government software platform. Together, they represent a solid foundation to grow government-focused technology companies.

“They have more than 200 customers together,” Geoff Robson of The Lighthouse Fund says. His group is an investor in Vendor Registry, but he’s also taking a more global view of the regional opportunity.

“We want to validate the belief that our region has the resources to grow companies in this space,” Robson says. “The idea is to get those folks together to talk about the opportunity and near term actions.”

The target audience for the micro event is local government managers, finance and purchasing directors, entrepreneurs, and software developers. It’s not your typical mix, but the planners believe great ideas will come out of the interactions that will start on September 22.

Vendor Registry and eGov will share their experience, and some local government executives will describe their needs.

“We need to sell the development community on the concept and get them excited about it,” Van Beke says, explaining that many coders are not aware of the business opportunities that exist in the government services space.

The same holds true for entrepreneurs.

“We think there are entrepreneurs out there with good ideas that can be applied to government,” Robson adds. “This will be an opportunity to validate their ideas and begin taking them to market.”

The Lighthouse Fund has what Robson describes as a “sweet spot” for software.

“We are looking for opportunities to invest in that space,” he says.

To register for the event, click here.

(Note: This article appeared previously on, a web-based service that was launched to spotlight and celebrate “all things” related to technology, innovation and entrepreneurship in East Tennessee.)

Big Data Applications Explored at Innov865 Week Micro Event

By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA

NewsBreak Media and PYA Analytics are joining forces to sponsor a workshop on big data analytics during next month’s “Innov865 Week.”

The micro event, set as a lunch and learn, will be held from 12 noon to 2 p.m. on Tuesday, September 20, in the Mill Room at Cherokee Mills, 2240 Sutherland Avenue. There is no registration fee, but pre-registration is required.

“Innov865 Week” is a celebration of Knoxville’s entrepreneurial spirit that brings together start-ups, entrepreneurs, investors, business leaders, students, and the East Tennessee community starting September 19 and ending September 23. It includes educational panels, pitch competitions, investor roundtables, and social events.

In addition to activities organized by an overall steering committee, other organizations have been invited to host micro events that they will plan. The “Big Data: Big Impact” session on September 20 is one of those.

“By disrupting the status quo and connecting all aspects of business, an organization sets the stage for true innovation and breakthroughs through the use of Data Analytics,” says Bob Bradley, NewsBreak Media’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “Some of Knoxville’s most innovative companies will discuss how they are able to combine the strengths of both the business-minded and technical-minded to gain a competitive advantage.”

Confirmed panelists for the session include:

Brian Nelson, NewsBreak Media COO

Mik Bertolli, Avrio Analytics Co-Founder

Blair Christian, PYA Analytics

Patrick Hunt, Chief Product and Technology Officer, BPV Advisor Strategies

Jian Huang, CEO, Survature

During the program that Bradley will moderate, panelists will focus on how data analytics is either driving their business model or ways they are helping clients enhance their businesses through the application of data analytics.

The September 20 panel is one of a series of micro events planned throughout “Innov865 Week” to spotlight the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. All four of the panelists come from start-up companies, the oldest being NewsBreak Media.

To register for the analytics event, click here. For an overview of all “Innov865 Week” events, click here.

(Note: This article appeared previously on, a web-based service that was launched to spotlight and celebrate “all things” related to technology, innovation and entrepreneurship in East Tennessee.)

UT Federal Credit Union Traction Award Nominees Announced

Knoxville’s entrepreneurial success will soon be recognized once again at the fourth annual Startup Day, September 22. The Innov865 Alliance announced its 2016 nominees for the UT Federal Credit Union Traction Award, presented to a Startup Day alum who has made the most progress, or gained the most ‘traction,’ since pitching their business at Startup Day. Startup Day is the signature event of Innov865 Week, a week-long series of events that celebrates entrepreneurship and showcases Knoxville as a great place to start and grow a business.

“The Traction Award nominees are key players in building East Tennessee’s entrepreneurial community. It’s exciting to see this caliber of company growing in this region. These founders set a great example for their peers,” said Jill Van Beke, Director of Entrepreneurship & Innovation at Launch Tennessee. Launch Tennessee is a founding member of the Innov865 Alliance.

“UT Federal Credit Union is pleased to sponsor the Traction Award and recognize the achievements of our East Tennessee entrepreneurs who will continue to thrive in our community,” said Myra Hamilton, AVP of Business Lending at UT Federal Credit Union.

ARiES Energy was the 2015 recipient of the UTFCU Traction Award. This year ARiES Energy began construction on a community solar array for the Appalachian Electric Cooperative. It’s one of the first utility-scale community solar projects in the state.

The Innov865 Alliance selected the following three nominees this year:

Bob Bradley, NewsBreak   What started out as a digital-out-of-home media business that provided local news and advertising to pump top television screens at Knoxville-area gas stations in 2009, has since evolved into a predictive analytics software company that supports convenience store retailers’ quest to drive high profit margin products and services. NewsBreak is the brainchild of President/CEO Bob Bradley, a 2014 Knoxville Startup Day alum who became an investor in the company in 2011. He’s since taken the start-up digital company to national prominence. NewsBreak’s programmatic merchandising platform converts fuel-only customers to multi-product purchasers and is currently available across 5 states, with expected growth to reach 300 convenience stores by the end of this year, up from 88 locations at the end of 2014.  Earlier this year, NewsBreak opened its first site in the state of Utah through a strategic partnership with Sinclair Oil and Bennett Pump Company. The deal makes NewsBreak available to not only 1,400 Sinclair branded stations in 19 states, but the 6,000 fueling retailer locations across the U.S that are currently served by the third largest fuel pump manufacturer in the world, Bennett Pump Company.

Bryan Crosby, FunLPro Technology   A 2015 Startup Day alum, Bryan Crosby founded his company, FunLPro Technology LLC, to capitalize on a pouring device his father invented to simplify the process of transferring fluids.  His patented closure system provides a lengthy, extendible, and directional pouring spout within the closure system itself, and eliminates the need to purchase, store, and reuse separate pouring devices such as traditional funnels, which can result in spills and contamination due to cross mixing of fluids.  Since Startup Day 2015, Crosby has graduated from the University of Tennessee with his MBA and is focusing his energies on FunLPro full time. His current push includes breaking into the retail market. The company has two product offerings: an Integrated Product that is bottled directly onto the container and available at point of sale, and a Retail Cap segment that can be purchased at select retailers and added on to whichever fluid a customer chooses. FunLPro Integrated Caps are currently available on KenJo Lubricants in all of their retail locations. Crosby plans to bring the Retail Caps into major distribution this fall. Also in the works is a line of private label products, one of which, FunLPro’s Magna 1 brand, is being marketed to over 80,000 convenience store chains. FunLPro was recently nominated by Plastics News, the largest trade journal in the consumer packaged goods industry, for their inaugural Plastic Caps and Closures Innovation Awards.

Courtney Jones, MomSource Network   Courtney Jones, founder of MomSource Network and 2014 Startup Day Alum, started her company to help others, like herself, who wanted more flexibility in their employment, as well as the ability to fulfill their personal happiness without compromising their professional ambitions. MomSource Network serves as a conduit for job candidates, allowing them build an online profile about the type of employment they are looking for and notifying them when opportunities arise that fit their skill set and schedule. Likewise, employers are invited to build a profile with MomSource and are sent resumes of fully vetted candidates that match their hiring requirements. The company has gone from two employees in Knoxville to a team of fifteen spread across seven cities in four states, the newest addition being an outpost in Atlanta. The candidate pool has grown as well, from 200 local candidates at Startup Day 2014 to over 3,000 in both the United States and other countries.


Startup Day is free and open to the public. Registration is required at


About UT Federal Credit Union  

UT Federal Credit Union is a member-owned financial cooperative with more than 22,000 member-owners and assets of over $250 million. UT Federal Credit Union’s mission is to provide members with exceptional financial service, education and leadership. As winner of the Tennessee Small Business Administration Credit Union of the Year award each year since 2012, UT Federal Credit Union is dedicated to providing support to startups and small businesses in Tennessee. The heart of UT Federal Credit Union has always been and will always be its owners.

Startup Day Pitch Competition: Sponsors and Startups Announced

The Innov865 Alliance announced Three Roots Capital and SouthEast Bank as title sponsors for Startup Day’s pitch competition $5,000 cash prize. Six Knoxville-area startups have been selected to pitch their businesses for the prize at the U.S. Cellular Stage at The Bijou Theatre in Downtown Knoxville, Thursday, September 22. Startup Day is the signature event of Innov865 Week, a week-long series of events that celebrates entrepreneurship and showcases Knoxville as a great place to start and grow a business.

“Shining a spotlight on East Tennessee’s most promising startups is so important for the economic growth of our region,” said Tom Rogers, Director of Industrial Partnerships and Economic Development at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). ORNL is a founding member of the Innov865 Alliance. “The six startups selected to present at Startup Day 2016 represent a continuation of the great tradition of innovation in East Tennessee,” added Rogers.

“Three Roots Capital and SouthEast Bank are so pleased and honored to give one deserving local startup a financial kick-start to grow its business right here in East Tennessee,” said Monty Montgomery, President, SouthEast Bank. Three Roots Capital and SouthEast Bank are both title sponsors of the Startup Day pitch competition cash prize.

After winning the 2015 Startup Day cash prize, Bryan Crosby has made progress with his business, FunLPro Technology. Crosby has since graduated from the University of Tennessee with his MBA and is focused on FunLPro full time. The company’s 38 mm standard pouring device—that eliminates the need to purchase, store, and reuse separate pouring devices such as a traditional funnel– is now available at convenience stores in Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina and Florida.

The Innov865 Alliance selected the following six startups to present their businesses before a panel of investor judges on September 22 at the U.S. Cellular Stage at The Bijou Theatre. The winner will receive a $5,000 cash prize, presented by Three Roots Capital and SouthEast Bank.

Daniel Lawhon, AirFlare   AirFlare partnered with NASA to use its metabolic analysis technology to develop a fitness tracker that can personalize a person’s workouts, diet, and fitness plans based on their metabolism. With this technology, a person can determine whether he or she is burning fat or carbohydrates when working out; at what pace he or she should be exercising for maximum athletic performance or weight loss; and whether more recovery time is needed.

Jay Crawford, Hot Transfer Network  Hot Transfer Network is an online, HIPPA secure marketplace that allows regional networks of credentialed doctors to actively facilitate hospital to hospital transfers. An orthopedic surgeon, Crawford is familiar with the problems that can arise when a hospital needs to transfer a patient to a different facility to receive treatment. Using this system, hospitals can save time and money, reduce conflict, and improve patient outcomes with faster treatment.

Alicia Caputo, Avrio Analytics  Avrio Analytics leverages proprietary technology to offer data analytics services at a fraction of the cost, as well as providing predictive capabilities not available from visualizations alone. Its services put the power of a data scientist at the fingertips of anyone.

Dimitriy Petrov, RushBrush, LLC   RushBrush, LLC is a company that creates innovative personal hygiene products. Its latest innovation is the RushBrush, a hybridized toothbrush that makes oral health on the go both more effective and convenient. Unlike ordinary toothbrushes, the RushBrush’s nylon bristles are coated with dehydrated toothpaste and the brush can be used right out of the package, no water required. The brush is produced using biodegradable materials, making it an environmentally-friendly option for consumers.

Graham Taylor, T&T Scientific Corporation   T&T Scientific created LipX, a time-saving, single use extrusion device that researchers can use to prepare liposomes for use in a wide range of research applications. Unlike the gold standard device which requires 45-60 minutes to assemble and clean with each use, LipX is ready to use out of the package. As a result, the extrusion process time is reduced to only a couple of minutes. With researchers performing this process over a million times each year, LipX has potential to make a big impact in the industry.

Eva Mutunga, TechSmarrt   TechSmarrt’s data analysis software for materials research streamlines the process of material discovery and has shown gains in computational efficiency by over 100,000 times compared to a supercomputer. This allows users to obtain data on a material and its properties within seconds, saving time and reducing the amount of energy consumed during the process.


Startup Day is free and open to the public. Registration is required at


About Three Roots Capital 

Three Roots Capital provides impact capital products and advisory services that create successful outcomes for client companies and attractive returns for financial partners. They fuel sustainable business growth by providing capital, connections, and expertise.

About SouthEast Bank  

SouthEast Bank operates branches throughout East and Middle Tennessee, delivering exceptional quality, service, and innovative banking products to its clients. Our experienced staff diligently serves our communities with integrity and a sense of pride by offering exceptional service and value to not only our customers, but also the community as a whole. Because we are operated by local employees who live and work alongside the people we serve, SouthEast Bank is a true community bank that uses state of the art technology both inside and outside of our branches to reinvest in our schools, organizations, and neighborhoods.

Time to Innov865: Knoxville, a City with History of Scalable Inventions

By Ayumi Fukuda Bennett, founder of Startup Southerner

It’s hard to think about Knoxville without conjuring an image of the Sunsphere.

While some may simply see this structure as a relic of the city’s past, the reason for its existence in the first place is very much tied to what Knoxville has been and is about:  innovation.  Built by a local architectural firm, the Sunsphere was the theme structure for the 1982 World’s Fair, an event that was like attending the CES of that time. 11 million visitors were in Knoxville to see the numerous new products and artifacts at various countries’ pavilion spaces, but none caught more attention than this one homegrown product: a touchscreen developed by Elographics. This invention still makes several sites’ lists as one of the most significant inventions ever debuted at the World’s Fair.

But what may be even more impressive is that two years after the World’s Fair, Elographics was recognized by Inc. magazine as one of country’s 500 fastest growing companies. Scalability is a prized aspect of startups now, but East Tennessee has been practicing this for years.

Garnet Carter, a native of Sweetwater, Tennessee, became the first person to patent the game of mini-golf in 1927. Known then as ‘Tom Thumb Golf,’ Carter scaled up his patented course and was able to built thousands of courses within a few years. (Carter also was instrumental in the opening of Rock City, and the ‘See Rock City’ signage.)

What we also see with these scalable inventions from East Tennessee is that their disruptions in the market have durability.  For instance, has a garbage truck come by your home recently to pick up trash? Thank Knoxvillian George Dempster for that invention.

In 1935, his company created the Dempster-Dumpster, the first large-scale waste container that could be mechanically emptied into a garbage truck.  In 1937, Knoxville became known as the first ‘Dumpster City’ by purchasing the country’s first dumpster truck and several dumpsters. As the early adopters of this invention, the city was able to cut its spending on garbage collection. And other cities soon followed.

In a region that is holding its week-long celebration of innovation and entrepreneurship for the first time, the tradition itself of creating scalable, durable products has been part of Knoxville for generations. Institutions like Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of Tennessee have had international recognition as well as global impact. But companies such as PYA have also had its startup beginnings in Knoxville. And with newer startups like Cirrus InsightsAvrio AnalyticsReviewBoxChildren’s Media Studio and Audiohand calling Knoxville home, that structure in the skyline may be the most appropriate symbol of the culture of innovation that continues to define East Tennessee.

In the coming weeks, we are excited to bring you a little insight into this area as we hope you make plans to attend Innov865 Week in September.


The Innov865 Alliance has partnered with Startup Southerner, who will bring you stories of innovation born in East Tennessee prior to #Innov865 Week, September 19-23.  This inclusive media platform explores the dynamics of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the South. From community-contributed posts to in-depth articles, it strives to make information about participating in the new economy accessible to everyone.

Guest Blogger Jonathan Mills Patrick: “How Can I Meet Startup Investors?”

Jonathan Mills Patrick is a former C-level finance executive and startup founder turned strategic consultant to financial institutions, startups and tech companies. You can find him at or

“How can I meet startup investors?”

This question I get probably no less than once a day from entrepreneurs. The answer is easier than most entrepreneurs seem to grasp.

Who do you know?

In the typical timeline for raising capital,  you should look to your own network (second only to your own capital). This is often called the “FFF” stage (family, friends, founders). You would be surprised at the number of potential investors that are already directly or indirectly in your circle of contacts. I have witnessed entrepreneur after entrepreneur raise capital by addressing this question.

Pitch competitions

Just about every community that has any level of entrepreneurial support hosts pitch competitions. Investors regularly attend pitch competitions because they are a quick way to evaluate what types of businesses are entering the marketplace and which are gaining the most traction. It also allows them to evaluate the team.


These are often non-profit entities that take in a certain number of startups per year and provide them with access to limited amounts of capital, office space, mentoring, and more — in the hopes that some of the startups survive, and in fact, thrive. Investors often provide mentoring to the startups in the program. This creates a great way for investors to learn more about your startup from an in-depth perspective, as well as learn to know you on a personal level.


If you are going to be raising capital you had better get used to talking to complete strangers at events and learning how to pique their interest. You had better get used to initiating conversation, getting people to talk about themselves first, and leaving a favorable opinion of yourself.

Online investor sites

Sites like AngelList facilitate the connection between startups and investors. Startups are able to create a profile and list what they are looking for in terms of capital (along with details of their company) and investors can then use that information to determine if they are interested in digging deeper.

A word of caution here. Many entrepreneurs I know create profiles on a variety of these sites and then sit back and wait for the cash to roll in. They end up waiting a long time.

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