Startup financing: what's the middleperson called?
February 6, 2017 7:12 PM   Subscribe

I would like to be the person that looks for viable apps/small startups and pitches them to seed financiers. Is there a market for such a person, or do inventors/investors not care for third parties?

I do plan on reading up more about the industry, but is my idea feasible, or should I squelch it right away? If it is, do you have general tips on how to get into the industry?
posted by thesockpuppet to Grab Bag (10 answers total)
Squelch it right away. You're talking about the "angel investment" stage, and companies that can't secure those on their own merits aren't going to be able to provide you with a living wage.
posted by mhoye at 7:19 PM on February 6, 2017

Startup financing is hierarchical. To enter into the hierarchy, you have to basically get a vetted warm introduction to an angel investor or get into the right circles at Stanford, Harvard, Berkeley, MIT, Wharton or CMU.

There are also 'angels' who don't know what the fuck they are doing.

Anyone in the first group of "people who might get a hearing from a real VC" doesn't need you. Anyone in the second group is an idiot and/or can't afford your services. Squelch it right away.
posted by hleehowon at 7:23 PM on February 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

I suppose that there might be a market for a consultant who helps startups create great pitches + pitch decks. But, otherwise, but hleehowon said -- this stuff happens through social networks.

I actually think there *could* be a business in helping connect angels with investments that match what they're looking for -- I'm not bullish on the idea, but it isn't completely insane (this is kinda-sorta what Crunchbase does). What definitely isn't going to go anywhere, however, is a business where you deliver the pitches on behalf of a startup. An big chunk of most investors' decisions is based on their impressions of the founders, so they are going to want to meet the founders, not some pitch guy.
posted by phoenixy at 7:32 PM on February 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

Well, that was what I needed to hear. It's not the easiest industry to familiarize oneself with, so thanks!
posted by thesockpuppet at 7:41 PM on February 6, 2017

If you think a little smaller-scale, you might enjoy working in marketing. There seem to be a lot of content creators who are not very good at marketing themselves, and there are people who get paid to do it for them. It's generally not a lucrative field, but if you are really good at it you can make a very nice living. (My former partner was a professional marketing expert.)
posted by isthmus at 7:56 PM on February 6, 2017 [2 favorites]

If you substitute donors for investors you could look at fundraising.
posted by warriorqueen at 9:47 PM on February 6, 2017

There are advisors, but they are not necessarily middlemen. Advisors come from within the industry, and are well-connected and able to provide needed strategic or operational advice and connections in exchange for some nominal %. Still work within the startup hierarchy, where they get introduced to startup founders through social & VC networks.

If you have a specialized skill, say scaling consumer apps, user acquisition, or machine learning expertise, you could eventually network your way into it, but your reputation would have to proceed you.
posted by hampanda at 10:05 PM on February 6, 2017

This isn't exactly what you're asking for, but perhaps the closest similar thing available: Maybe you'd like to work for a tech incubator?

They typically help startups with business basics—that both things like office space and accounting services, but also often marketing/funding/connections/events. Some incubators are high-flying business things, where you'd already need to have heaps of money or connections to get involved. But you'd have a much better chance at the incubators associated with schools, governments or NGOs.
posted by vasi at 9:19 AM on February 7, 2017

To look at it a slightly different way, I suspect the role you describe is filled by a lower level employee working for a VC (thinking Bain Capital) who shifts through all the proposals that come over the transom and recommends a few to the higher-ups. It would not be easy to get that job.

A similar sort of role exists at large retailers who need to search the world for new products, sometimes things that need a first big order to get going.

Or get a job at Shark Tank.
posted by SemiSalt at 12:33 PM on February 7, 2017

Your Krusty's Kareer Komputer occupation is: Hedge-fund Analyst
posted by rhizome at 4:25 PM on February 10, 2017

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