I have tried meetup.com but there aren't too many events in my area. I have also tried SBD but the people there are 30+ years older than me...Are there other events or forums that provide opportunities like this? I am in SoCal.
What your trying is one approach to finding investors. Here's another that in my experience is far more effective. I'd tap your network, and it's probably actually a lot bigger than you think! Linkedin is the perfect tool for this. Look for people you're connected to, that you trust, and that are suited to helping your business (ideally in your industry, or experienced in fundraising, etc) and that have a good network themselves (ideally they're connected to some investors you're interested in, but not required). Reach out to them, and let them know you're starting a venture, and are looking for their advice, and would love to treat them to a 30 min coffee meeting. People love to hear that others think they're awesome and they love to give advice which makes them feel awesome, and this is someone you know, so chances are they'll accept. Send this request to everyone relevant in your network. At the meeting, tell them about your venture, give them your pitch, hear their comments and heed their feedback, and ask them for 3 people in their network that would be great people to talk to. Get intros to those people, and repeat. If you do this diligently and listen well, your network will expand extremely quickly, and you'll be able to get introduced to literally anyone you want. This is how our founding team at Tachyus acquired our first customer within 1 month of starting, and having no experience or direct connections in our industry.
I'm always down to chat in more detail if you're interested. Best of luck!
I just got back from an amazing entrepreneurship cruise called Summit At Sea where I connected with lots of influential entrepreneurs and tech start up gurus. Also, BNI is a great way to meet people who you can connect with and get advice and connections from. Feel free to set up a call with me to discuss more opportunities for you to network with like minded people!
I would first start off searching LinkedIn for different groups in your area that cater to business networking. The ones in my area typically have mixers where many entrepreneurs and the like attend.
Another avenue that has been successful for me has been looking at my town's Chamber of Commerce website. My Chamber puts on numerous events throughout the year, as well as having smaller groups one can be a part of that have additional events. Often the events have big names come in to mingle with.
I hope this is a start for you on trying to find networking events. I would love to speak more to you, because I have many more avenues that have been successful for me, in regards to networking.
tl;dr start your own networking group
I'm a startup consultant, helping startups with 2nd round funding, growth strategies, technology integration.
I moved back to Los Angeles in 2011 It was my hometown and just starting to become the very strong startup ecosystem it is today. Young people were moving there to have the ideal combination of So Cal living and startup success.
As I tried to navigate the new scene I found a few things had changed:
1. Many more "startup people" were in town than ever in L.A. history.
2. Some strong technical people and professional entrepreneurs were moving there, an indicator that So Cal had a future as a startup town.
3. About 80% of the people I met were posers, hustlers, or wantrepreneurs, looking for either instant success or trying to sell something to me.
I went to several meetups and conferences and parties, but most of the people I met were the wantrepreneurs. So I started my own meetup group, and the results were amazing. I met literally thousands of people and wound up doing business with several. Today, 5 years later, I'm still close to hundreds of the people I met from 2011-2014.
So my recommendation is to start your own meetup group, specific to your interests. If you use meetup.com their search engine does a lot of the recruiting for you. It takes a lot of work on your part and the willingness to play "host" but the rewards are pretty amazing.
Look for startup incubators and the companies in their portfolios. Reach out to the founders of those startups (the ones that look most viable), and contact them to do informational interviews about how they did it. They may be flattered that you are soliciting their advice and become willing to introduce you to their network of other entrepreneurs and influencers to strengthen your own network. Just be willing to offer some value up front to help them out with what they are working on, too, not just doing it for your own sake.
I understand that you're in SoCal, however I believe the same technique can work anywhere.
First you have to distinguish between entrepreneurs and influencers since they are very often not the same person.
If you're targeting influcencers then make a list so that you can create a strategic approach.
There are also different kinds of entrepreneurs. You have the traditional brick and mortar at one of the spectrum to the startup and technology folks on the other end.
Clearly defining which group you want to meet will help you organize your activities, ultimately delivering the result you are looking for.
1. how and to whom can you deliver value to
2. find groups and individuals outside of your usual circles
3. create connection opportunities for other people in your network
4. Use the line 'who do you know that I should know?'
5. Talk to the ones that are 30+ years older than you. They usually have deep networks.
Hope this helps
The best way to meet people is to show up.
Sometimes, you just have to jump over that fake 'red velvet rope' to get access.
1. I once attended a VC Cleantech summit by just walking into the hotel and into the summit. Made some good connections there.
2. I also walked into YC's demo day.. Security asked us to stop, but we smiled and kept walking. It was a good event.
3. I showed up at a VC firm a couple of times, and just talked to the partners like normal human beings -- most people will talk with you if you smile and are a real person (not groveling but just being present and adding value to them).
4. I went to the hotel bar at Sandhill Rd. in SF, got drinks, and met VCs who were in town.
5. I went to angel.co penthouse parties that I heard about from a friend of a friend. I showed up, said I was here for the party, and I've found the startup community to be super accepting -- they let me right in, twice.
What if the events don't exist? Create the events, and be the leader everyone is looking for.
1. When I moved to PHX, there weren't as many startup events as there were in SF, so I created my own.
2. I invited some entrepreneurs to be guest speakers, and having 2-3 concurrent sessions in 1 night
3. Another time, I had VCs and successful entrepreneurs that were "out of my league" be panelists by emailing and inviting them. (I was lucky and they all decided to show up, making for a great event).
In summary, if you city does have a tech / startup scene, show up, network, make friends, and ask about future events to stay in the loop. If your city doesn't have a tech / startup scene, be like Ghandi and "be the change you wish to see in the world".