Angel investor · Fundraising

How do you start raising a seed round when you don't have a vast investor network?

Chuck Kelly

December 14th, 2014

We are a hyper local college network that I would briefly describe as non-anonymous Yik-Yak meets Instagram for colleges called Buhz:

We have gained traction at OU and are currently in the process of raising a seed round, but up to this point we have primarily been focused on getting our product/market fit right and making our users happy. That being said our team is currently based out of MI (but, willing to relocate) and there are not many social networks founded/funded around here. We have bootstrapped our way to this point so we don't have a abundance of cash to make trips out to Cali multiple times to network.

What are some ways (other than networking on this site) to build up these connections you guys have used to successfully raise a seed round and would scraping together our money for a trip out to CA to network for a week or two be worth while for us?

Jessica Alter Entrepreneur & Advisor

December 15th, 2014

In general, it's just about hustling to find the right people. In the Detroit area, Dan Gilbert and Detroit Venture Partners run most things (TechStars is great but brand new). Reach out to someone at Detroit Venture Partners - if you truly have traction I'm sure they'd love to hear from you. The other good option is Johnathan Triest at Ludlow ventures.

Jon A

December 14th, 2014

check out StartGarden and TechStars Detroit, both in MI

John Sechrest

December 14th, 2014

There are 6 conferences... Portland, bend Corvallis/Eugene, Medford,Ashland and Seattle. I think the next is Portland. Http:// The Willamette one should be at But talk to tim berry at Palo alto software Go get on the Eugene smartups list at the chamber.


December 14th, 2014

EDIT: I thought OU meant Oklahoma so ignore the part about planning a trip to the bay area

Hey Chuck,

I've only raised investment dollars here in SF, so others may have better tips on doing so from other places, but perhaps I can add some insights as well as I didn't have much of a network to start either. To begin with, I'd go to work on your AngelList page - both yours as CEO and the company's. It's a great chance to clearly lay out your company and your message. It also forces you to both think about and articulate a number of items you might not yet have done, but will need to have to be effective in meetings. From there, once that's set, you may get investors asking you for more information but I'd also of course suggest finding investors whose stated interests (and perhaps checkbook) demonstrate that you could be of interest to them. Getting warm intros is MUCH more effective but if you don't have a network, it's possible to start this way and then push your investors to introduce you to more people. That said, in doing this and other work, I'd still suggest planing a trip to SF/SV for a week to meet with more investors. Many of my earliest investors came from all around the country and I've only spoken to them by phone, but there are just so many here in the bay area. Anyway, I'll let others chime in with other advice, but I'd start by getting your AngelList page optimized. Good luck!


James Meehan Security and Networking Technologist

December 18th, 2014

See this thread on quora:

Especially the comments at the top from Dug Song, CEO @ Duo Security in Ann Arbor.  I know he's passionate about seeing more startups succeed in MI.  Use some hustle and get in touch.

Chuck Kelly

December 14th, 2014

Wow, Thank you for all the quick replies! They are greatly appreciated.

@Jon Asher - Were currently working on a TechStars application now and will look into StartGarden

@John Sechrest When is the next conference and do you have a site w. more info on it?

@Ray Sturm Thank you for taking the time to give us you're advice. We will surely put more time into building up our AngelList profile in the coming week, but for some reason AngelList profiles don't seem like they can be built up with a investment in time alone. Maybe im missing something, but is there a way to signal/message Investors outside of your personal network using Angel List that you're startup exists? or is it suppose to more or less be used just as a lead generator for you to find the names of investors you want to network your way to and the rest is up to you? What leads to getting eyeballs on Angel List ?

@Robin Kent Not sure if your message got cutoff or something.

John Spitters Stories from authentic experiences give way to extraordinary dimension & consequence.

December 16th, 2014

One form of the"hustle" component is to consider returning to where you've been successful. In your case that would be OU. Why would you do this? (1) they don't want to see you fail; (2) depending upon the level of traction you've achieved by having them as early adopters, they may feel compelled to be a part of your present and future success.

John Sechrest

December 14th, 2014

go to Willamette angel conference sponsored by the Eugene chamber and visit with tim berry

Zach Medina

December 14th, 2014

We are in a similar situation (not similar product). We are based out of Philadelphia, PA. Along with advice for Chuck, does anyone have recommendations for the Philadelphia area?

Thank you

Jonathon Lunardi

December 14th, 2014

Chuck, Is OU = u of Oklahoma? Jonathon Lunardi Founder - The Sooner Alumni Network