At the beginning of the decade of 2000 I created my first major business with several friends from my university. We had a large business idea (at least thought that) and we required a large economic investment. Back then it was too hard to find venture capital in our country (Colombia). Today things are a bit easier, but this complexity allowed me to understand many things. One of my conclusions is that with globalization if you can’t find risk capital locally, you can travel and find it elsewhere.
I must clarify that with this company, I never travel in search of venture capital. Today I see this as a big mistake I made and if I could travel back in time and the conditions were the same I told earlier, I will definitely make this trip.
It is clear that in many Latin-American countries and in other latitudes the situation has changed in regards to the acquisition of venture capital. Today there are many options that entrepreneurs should analyze as their first option. However if this quest is unsuccessful, an excellent option is to travel to countries like the USA or European countries, where you can find many venture capital firms.
There are several cases of Latin-American entrepreneurs who have traveled to the USA and Europe and have acquired risk capital for their business. Some traveled with just their business ideas and others with a weak startup. You must understand that there is always the risk that you’ll return from you trip empty-handed, however this is a risk that I think it’s worth your while.
Before you start planning this trip I want to share some recommendations that I consider basic and that will help you to succeed:
Recommendations when traveling in search of Risk Capital
- It’s quite important that the business ideas and/or business plan is completed. A good ideas would be to share this documents with other entrepreneurs, businessman and more, to get their input and suggestions.
- Most investors don’t have the time to read a full business plan. They usually get interested in the first minutes of a meeting and with the executive summary of the business plan.
- It’s normal that you have to knock on many doors to get one investor interested in your idea. Don’t lose faith.
- Take advantages of the Internet tools you have at your disposal to make as much appointments as you can with investors. Make appointments with time. If an appointment is canceled and you can’t reschedule it, search for an alternative like a videoconference call.
- If your business is up and running and it is showing some early results, show them to the investors. Many investors like to invest in ideas that are starting to show some type of results, including an active user base, even if the company is not showing any profits.
- Prepare what you will be telling the investors. Most meetings will probably be in English, so you have to dominate this language.
- Try to save money on your trip. If you can, buy airplane tickets with miles and search for friends that can give you housing. Also search the Internet for cheap hotels or apartments for rent. Always make a budget and travel with enough money, including those for incidentals.
I hope you find my recommendations useful and that your trip is a success. If you decide to make the trip, please share your experience with us and other readers from An Entrepreneur Blog.
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