We are raising our seed round through our connections of angel investors and VC partners,and we are raising on convertible notes.
My company just went through this. There are several ways you can approach the problem:
1. Find a mentor. Who's the biggest kahuna in your space? Reach out to him or to her. Don't ask for money or intros to VCs. Just pose a good question and start a conversation. Experts love to be heard (how else does Clarity work? :). Use that. If you're interesting and you have a great product, they'll approach you about finding.
2. Attend (and win) some pitch competitions like TC Disrupt. This is a toughie, but if you can cut it there, you can cut it anywhere. Note that good pitches do not necessarily convert to good product (hello, "Yo."). Even if you don't win, some VCs will see you and may approach.
3. Get into an incubator. Y combinator, hub:raum, Wearable World, and do on are all designed to teach you what you need to know to make your next round a success. Find one in the US and get going. Yes, it will cost you a little equity, but it may be worth it in networking and preparation for pitching the US VC market.
3. Pitch somewhere else. Why focus on the US? The VC market there is going to be bone dry in 2016. If you can secure money from anywhere (and you need it) I'd suggest you go and take it now. If you need to raise a round in Q2 2016, good luck to you, because you have a tough row to hoe.
4. PR. If you do an excellent job with PR--especially PR aimed at securing a new investor--you can make good headway in the US. But that will run you ~50k USD to raise 3+ MM USD if you're lucky. Performance can vary wildly.
5. Networking. Hit up the speaking and trade show circuit for your industry and shake enough hands, you'll eventually find a VC. But it's hard going and also super expensive if you're not a US company to travel that much to the US.
Hope one or more of these helped. Let me know if you have any follow up questions about, for example, pitching. Which is a whole 'nother ball game. 😊
I'm a first generation founder, have mostly international friends, and have worked with foreign based startups.
I'd give the same advice that I would give startups based in the US. The only things I can think of that could be additional advice would be:
1) Make sure you've interacted with Americans before. Depending on what country your from, our way of speaking and interacting might be hard to adjust to.
2) We work longer hours in the US than in most other countries. Adjust to that or risk being considered lazy.
3) The startup community can actually be pretty 'small', lots of people know each other. If you're coming from another country it might be useful to network with a bunch of startups already in the US to have people start to know you before you talk to investors.
4) Try to find some advantage to your startup from the fact that you operate in the country that you do, otherwise it might be seen as a disadvantage. Even though the world is very connected, investors prefer to be geographically close to their investments.
5) Make sure to read up on US patent law and FDA regulations if either of those are relevant to your product. The patent laws recently changes, and the FDA is much harder to get past than equivalents in other countries.