Many entrepreneurs complain that getting investors’ attention is tough. But in actual fact, how many are really trying hard? We ran a trial networking session between entrepreneurs and investors last Saturday where more than 200 founders and investors attended.
Investors had red ink written on their tags while entrepreneurs had black ink. We wanted to make it easy for people to spot who are the entrepreneurs and investors. Some of you who attended might have realized that I was hovering around observing the networking session. I wanted to watch how entrepreneurs interacted with others at such meetings, and at the same time seek feedback from fellow participants. I was also actively trying to be the bridge between investors and founders.
Some complained that Bernard Leong’s presentation and the discussion panel with overseas investors were taking time away from the actual networking sessions. While others told me that they enjoyed Bernard’s session the most. Anyway, the few people who complained didn’t exactly do much when the actual networking session started. They were wandering around uncomfortably. Well, I had that feeling before. It’s called fear. Most folks don’t have the guts to speak to investors. Only a handful were able to break away from their comfort zone to do some real networking.
Getting investment is tough if entrepreneurs limit themselves and only mingle among their friends. If you’re at a conference, go all-out to meet people whom you’ve never met before. That’s one of the key purposes of the conference.
I was pretty impressed by Benjamin Joffe (an entrepreneur, mentor at JFDI, 500 Startups, Chinaccelerator, and angel investor) during our investors/founders session. I understand he is running his own startup in Malaysia. At the session, he was perhaps the most active entrepreneur who was talking and showing investors his demo on his iPad. I’m sure he walked out with quite a number of investors contacts after our session. And that’s really cool.