There seems to be two schools of thought in the marketplace regarding this topic and I`d like to get Start Up Nation`s opinion. Many universities, incubators and startup centric networking groups offer forums for entrepreneurs to connect with investors for free and these are GREAT to get exposure and experience in pitching investors. And for the record, we believe every entrepreneur should be able to raise their first few hundred K from their rolodex, networking and with the old "who do you know" approach. It takes a lot of time and many cups of coffee, but can be done. But unless an entrepreneur has a track record in producing profitable exits and can tap into a happy investor pool, it has been our experience, that when a company needs to get beyond their affinity group to objective investors to raise $1M to $3M in their initial outside round, they must plan on paying for travel, legal fees, presentation fees, consulting fees, and application fees. They often have to pay to get access to large groups of investors. And in this economy, the most important thing is to get the business opportunity in front of the potential investors to create the buzz and begin the courtship. http://www.sePrivateEquity.org Is a place that seems to be trying to fill the nich of helping early stage companies get in front of a large group of angel investors. This is unique to the Southeast, although I think these kinds of conferences regularly happen on the west coast.
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