San Diego Startup Week: 4 Tips for Raising Seed-Stage Capital


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flocks of venture capital firms actively courting your company, but there’s money in your city and it’s your job to go find it. Pound the pavement.

Learn from “No”

If someone says “no,” don’t view it as rejection. View it as an opportunity to learn and do better next time. Make sure you know why the answer was no. Be prepared to hear “no,” and keep track of how many investors decline. Don’t even think about calling it quits until you get turned down at least 50 times. Most importantly, learn to identify actionable changes you can make to turn a reasonable number of those to “yes.” Often, entrepreneurs seeking funding spend so much time explaining what the investor can do for the company that they leave out what the company can do for the investor.

Network like your life depends on it

The most effective way to land a meeting with an investor is to get an introduction from an entrepreneur they trust. I can’t stress this enough. Maintaining a wide network of professional relationships is your best bet to match your company with the right investor or VC firm. If you’re in a budding startup city where VCs aren’t standing in line at Starbucks, ask yourself what you can do to bring them to you. Get involved in startup initiatives in your city and plan events that will attract potential investors. You may even make direct connections in the process. I met three of TapHunter’s investors at conferences and local startup community events. If you’re based in Southern California, San Diego Startup Week is a great place to start.

Raising capital can be intimidating, but if you put in the legwork and focus your energy by using the tips above, you’ll be in the best position to secure investors.

Now get out there and hustle.

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Melani Gordon is co-founder and CEO of San Diego-based TapHunter, a software as a service platform that makes it easy for bars & restaurants to manage their alcohol beverage program, market to customers, and increase sales. Her leadership, entrepreneurial spirit, and passion for craft beer and great drinks have made her a respected industry influencer. Follow @

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