Looking for Investors? Top 5 attributes THEY are looking for!

Updated: Apr 21, 2020

Recently, I had the great opportunity to attend Harrisonburg’s VALLEY TechCon.18. The venue was composed of several blocked sessions with a selection of presentations each guest could attend. One of those possible presentations was titled: “Resources for building a tech company in the Valley(s)” …I had to investigate further.The session included several key-note speakers; however, Bob Smith, Director of Mason Small Business Development Center at George Mason University, gave some very informative and powerful tips on how to best attract the attention of potential investors. He told the audience that the following FIVE things would be necessary:

  • A Validated Business Plan

  • A Team

  • A Product that was ready to take to market

  • Sales

  • A willingness to form a Partnership

Let’s look at each of these individually.

A Validated Business Plan

We were told that spreadsheets with data that were conceived through probability and other traditional extrapolation methods were simply not enough. In addition, he mentioned that, if your idea was great but your business plan’s core was flawed, you’d probably scare investors away. The example he gave included an idea, one of his confidants had, that, had all the preparation been done, it’ll been several years, and, several hundreds-of-thousands of dollars invested, prior to any real-world realization, and, use, of his idea. Of which, he then added, was only applicable to the very latter part of the initial preparation. As you can imagine, that idea was later scrapped.

A Team

This item was self-explanatory, so I thought. As it turns out, just having other individuals in accord with your vision was not everything he was going to say. His definition of a team was a well-organized unit that could perform all the pertinent tasks to build, maintain, and grow the company. His team’s definition included being well versed in the business’s goals, ethics and operations.

A Product that was ready to take to market

WHAT!? I thought the whole point of seeking investors was to aid in the development of a product that would eventually be taken to market. As it turns out, Bob Smith informed us, times have changed. During this shift in the sands-of-time, it has now become accustomed that potential investors, these high-end stakeholders, do indeed, opt to support businesses that already have a product. This must align with the concept that tangibility is the true selling point.


Well, I guess this goes hand-in-hand with item three (A Product that was ready to take to market). Being able to present sales data to potential investors is beyond powerful. This essentially goes one step further than simply having a market ready product.

A willingness to form a Partnership

According to Bob Smith, investors want to form partnerships. Within the world of investors, the idea of getting a “cut”, and, getting out, is antiquated. Apparently, there are several ways these partnerships can be formed… but, the details and requirements are so involved, I was not able to capture them all. I highly encourage everyone to seek further education on this topic.

And, there you have it. These are the five things investors are looking for. He encouraged us not to be discouraged after hearing his advice. As a matter of fact, Bob Smith offers a class that challenges each participant to flesh out his, or her, business. Within this class, via simulations and scenarios, each participant is challenged to deliver in each of these five areas. Once again, if interested, I encourage everyone to seek further information on this opportunity.

If you are in the market for investors, I suggest you to work with Innovative Software Lab. They solution prepares you to receive seed funding to develop your minimal viable product (MVP). 

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