How Startups Create Investor Relationships

Joe Procopio
6 min readSep 9, 2019

No good investment is ever made without a relationship already in place. No good relationship ever starts out by asking someone for money.

This is the ultimate paradox for first-time entrepreneurs seeking investor funding for their startups. It seems like a Catch-22, but that’s only when you buy into the myth that the proper way to raise money is to spam as many investors as possible and snatch one YES out of the hundreds of NOs.

Doesn’t work that way.

In the last two weeks, I’ve written pieces about why startups don’t get funded and also how startups build their networks. One of the many questions I received was this brilliant one from Christian Cox, an entrepreneur who asked:

In what non-salesy, non-awkward way can you genuinely develop all these relationships over time? How do you communicate: “Hey I know you have money, but I’m not asking yet….but also, please know I exist”?

I hear you. If you want to land investment in your startup, you have to build a proper runway.

First, Check the Mirror

The runway to investment is not short. It takes time to evolve an idea into something investable, then more time to be able to properly communicate that investability, then even more time to build the trust necessary to open checkbooks.

The investor/founder relationship is definitely like a marriage, some more so than others. But no matter how convinced you are that the person you’ve just met is that special someone, you’d never start a conversation with “OH MY GOD I LOVE YOU MARRY ME!”

So let’s begin by going back a few steps. To continue the dating metaphor, before we go out to the club scene or the gym or the church picnic, we always take at least one good long look in the mirror.

Is investment right for me?

Maybe. Some startups just aren’t built for it, and are better off going straight for customer revenue to build their business.

Am I ready for investment?

Probably not. There’s another seemingly Catch-22 scenario in startup that the startups that are most investable usually don’t need investment. I know. Startup is full of this…

Joe Procopio

I'm a multi-exit, multi-failure entrepreneur. NLG pioneer. Building & GROWERS. Write at and More at