By guest author Irina Patterson
Irina: What are your current sources of deal flow?
Ray: It’s an interesting question. About three months ago we actually redid our website, making it more entrepreneur-friendly, so that people can just apply with a very simple application. On top of that, I designed a new marketing program.
In the past year we have been doing a lot of Tech Coast Angels press release announcements about our funding and our performance, so that have been the biggest source of our deal flow. When people look for funding, they come across us through Google, so that has been the major deal source in the past year.
Also, about two months ago we have launched a face-to-face mixer event. It is a casual face-to-face event — we just had one last Tuesday — and we plan to have one almost every month. At every single event we have a tremendous showing.
At the event, we have around ten TCA angels available to talk to entrepreneurs; we rub elbows, talk. It’s not a pen-note type of event that you see mostly in the conferences. This is a very friendly, casual mixer with Tech Coast Angels. At every event we have over a hundred people. Every time we have to cut off the RSVPs.
Irina: Is there any charge for this event?
Ray: No charge. They just have to pay for their own drinks, but anybody is welcome.
Irina: And you have deals from those events?
Ray: Oh yes, we have people showing their ideas, some people show their products, and some people just want to see how Tech Coast Angels work, so there’s a long-term relationship building.
But the entire goal of the mixer is to nurture entrepreneurs, to help the beginning entrepreneurs — hopefully to help them to mature and help the mature entrepreneurs to mix back and fine-tune their business plans and tell them what we look for.
So it’s been a very constructive way to mingle and build relationships. In order for us to be successful, every year we have to have new entrepreneurs to become good entrepreneurs. So we are here to nurture people to be entrepreneurs. And it’s been a wonderful event.
Now, let me tell you something else exciting we did in the the last two months. We launched a virtual Meet the Angels weekly event. It’s a interactive event where we used our technology called Vokle. This is so exciting. Go to our website, and you see on the top, there’s a tab called Events.
There’s the mixer event that I mentioned to you, and also there’s what we call the Meet the Angel Virtual Event. It is an event in which entrepreneurs from all over the world can participate in, right on their computer.
They can watch the event — it’s more than watching, actually. People can submit text questions or video questions to us from the computer. It’s a very interactive event. It’s just like a physical mixer but over the computer.
And from this virtual events we have been getting a lot of young companies and — I don’t have the spec correlation between these events and applications because we never ask [entrepreneurs] for where they come from, but we see huge website traffic spike in Google Analytics from these events.
Irina: What services do you use to announce your events?
Ray: I use Facebook and Twitter.
So, we have three sources of deal flow. One is a typical press release, which we do every month or sometimes twice a month. We get a very good consistent deal flow from there. The second is the physical mixer, every time we have done one it we had twice the [site traffic] spike.
And in the past two months when we did this weekly Monday interactive Meet the Angels, [traffic on the site] was spiking by three times. It’s amazing.
Irina: Excellent. What is the best way for entrepreneurs to reach you?
Ray: The best way is to come to our mixers and to our virtual events because there entrepreneurs can have a face-to-face interactive conversation with us. So, they can access us much, much easier. And then after we talk to them, after we tell them what we need, what we want to see — they can kind of custom tailor their business and presentation to us and apply to the Tech Coast Angels.