How do I build my investor community?
Growing an investor community takes time and energy, but the payoff is worth it. There are various ways to widen your circle:
If you have an empty contacts book, being active on social media and attending network events, workshops and conferences can lead to interesting connections. There are also specialised spaces for entrepreneurs, like Station F in Paris, the world’s largest startup campus.
Andrew Nutter, lead of space-focused syndicate The Explorers, stressed the importance of being selective in your networking activity.
“It's hard to know where the next investment opportunity comes from, and it's usually through close acquaintances who know you and you know them,” he said. “So networking is definitely important, but be wary of spending too much time on it.”
Maximise your existing network
While networking events usually involve meeting new people, building an investment community can start via people you already know.
For example, Vanessa Proust, leader of the One Green Club Deal syndicate, launched an unregulated investment fund called Neo Founders alongside 20 Neoma Business School graduates earlier this year.
“I was receiving pitch decks and I needed to find a group of trusted people to help analyse them,” she said. “There is strength in unity.”
Don’t forget family and friends
Many syndicates first pitch to an extended network of family and friends, who are interested in potential exciting deals from someone they trust.
Guillaume Rostand, lead of Le Club Startup, demonstrated how these early contacts can lead to a virtuous cycle.
“The more deals you do, the more deal flow you generate, and the more investors you have, the more investors you get, so this cycle makes it more or less a full-time job,” he said.
However, when the ball does get rolling, syndicate leads should choose their colleagues carefully, just as they would choose a deal. Roundtable spoke to various syndicate leads who emphasised the importance of looking for co-investees with shared values and a passion for entrepreneurship.
Invest in education
Not everyone will understand the sector or industry a syndicate is focused on. To bring more people on the journey, Nicolas Marchais, syndicate lead at m.ai club, spends time educating fellow investors on AI, via his English and French newsletters.
“We also share our frameworks to assess AI opportunities, which we developed internally,” he said.
Make friends, not just contacts
As well as sharing resources, Nicolas says his collective meets every three months for a drink or a dinner. Many people who begin as a LinkedIn connection could become good friends as well as trusted colleagues.
As Christopher Zemina of syndicate Future Fund said, “I believe in the power of the community. As an investor, it’s more fun to share success with others.”