What are alternatives to VC to raise money AND gain industry support?

Getting Started
  • Angel Investors; shouldn’t be confused with “VC” as typically that really refers to Venture Capital Funds as sources of capital / partners whereas Angels are individuals investing
  • Consider how “Angel Investor” is different from “Business Investor” – Generally, you’re going to find “Angels” are genuinely passionate about what you are doing, they’ve typically worked in your industry, can help, want to pay it forward, and can be more risk tolerant. I like to refer to how some investors who want to support startups, and who call themselves Angels, are really more “Business Investor” in that they’re likely more focused on revenues and expecting more validation of a successful outcome. It’s a subtle distinction but an important one to appreciate, however you refer to them, because they’ll have different expectations, differing degrees of familiarity with what you’re doing, and their advice/feedback to YOU will be drastically different (and neither necessarily valid).
  • Look to your industry’s economic development groups and city/state/federal interests. There is a surprising amount of capital available from the public sector, focused on certain industries. Tends to be tougher to uncover but it hits home to your question of capital and industry expertise – and such money is often less expensive (if you will)
  • Partners. Surprisingly often overlooked. What are the major companies that would benefit from or want to support your work? Dig past the people you would think of as your key contacts as customers/partners and look for their Head of Innovation, the team in a Venture Group, etc. More corporations have teams and money set aside for such things.
  • Accelerators. Often not a source of tremendous capital but usually Accelerators, particularly in your space, fund a bit. Not unheard of to get $100k +/- from the programs substantial enough to support you in that manner.
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