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How to Find Investors For Your Startup Using Free Resources

So, you’ve put together your pitch deck, you’ve got your financial model in order, and you’re ready to pitch to institutional investors. But who are you pitching to?

This is where your target list of investors comes in.

A target list of investors is a curated list of the investors whose sector and stage focus or thesis match up with your company and the round you are trying to raise. These are also investors who you want to work with and who invest in companies with similar traction to yours.

As a founder, building a target list of investors for fundraising can be a daunting task. While CrunchbasePro and PitchBook are great tools for searching, they can be expensive for early-stage founders. Fortunately, there are several free ways to find investors who may be interested in your startup. I recommend utilizing a combination of these strategies to create a target investor list that’s not only sector and stage relevant but also filled with investors you’re legitimately interested in working with. Having a well-curated list of potential investors will save yourself time and headaches and better equip you to succeed in your fundraising efforts.

Join Focused Communities

One of my tricks for finding great investors by industry is by joining industry-specific communities. FoodHack and HealthTechNerds are two great examples, but you can find them for most industries. Not only will you start to learn about industry-specific news, but you’ll also often see features on funds and investors or even industry-specific lists.

Follow Investors or Funds on Social Media

Following individual investors or funds on social media platforms is one of the best ways to start forming your list. You can get a good idea of what they invest in, what excites them, and narrow in on their best practices for reaching out to them. For example, following Isabella Fantini on LinkedIn will teach you a lot about how she views the food and AgTech worlds and the type of companies she invests in.

Subscribe to VC/Tech-Focused Newsletters 

Another effective way to learn about potential investors is by subscribing to VC/tech-focused newsletters that cover funding rounds. This is an excellent way to discover which funds are writing checks and what type of companies they’re investing in. My favorite newsletters are Term Sheet (Fortune), Strictly VC, and Axios Pro Rata.

Do Some Research Based on Publicly Available Lists

Lastly, there are some great publicly available lists to find investors that fit your stage and sector. For example, has an interactive and searchable tool with lots of details of investors, their focuses, and their check sizes. I also recommend OpenVC’s resources for finding firms. Some additional resources I’ve been sharing recently are this list of pre-seed investors put together by Outset Capital and this list of pre-seed and angel investors put together by Ramp.

After You Have Your List 

There’s one more thing to do—look at the investors’ websites. Websites don’t tell you everything about a fund, but they can give you an idea of whether you fit their thesis, what gets them excited, and what they’ve been up to recently. A quick look will make sure the outreach is worth your time and will also give you extra details to customize your forwardable email or cold introduction.  

Stephanie Rich
Stephanie Rich is Head of Platform at Bread and Butter Ventures where she works to add continuous value to portfolio companies and founders. She is the former Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Techstars Farm to Fork Accelerator in partnership with Cargill and Ecolab. She has worked with numerous early stage startups as a mentor and advisor, and has received the Techstars #givefirst award three separate times. She has hands-on expertise in bringing products and companies to market while building, cultivating and sustaining customer bases online and off.