It can be difficult to find the right investment partner. That’s not because there's any shortage of investors in the world—but because each business has its own unique team (and thus set of personalities) that must work together effectively in order to succeed; and investors should be viewed as members of your team.
Therefor, a strong investment partner is not just a source of capital, but someone who can work well with your team if called upon. At the very minimum, they should be vocal ambassadors for your brand.
I believe there are 5 traits of a worthy investment partner:
1. An attention to detail
Investment partners that are able to see the forest for the trees—effortlessly grasping the micro objectives of your business without getting bogged down in the minutiae or dictating how you should do your job—can be an invaluable asset to your team.
2. A proven track record
While this trait should speak for itself, a track record allows you to gauge whether or not your potential investment partner can "walk the talk". What have they done? Who have they helped? What industries have they been involved in? These are some of the questions you should be asking before accepting their capital. Don’t be afraid to contact other startups they’ve invested in in the past to better understand their profile.
3. A passion for learning
A strong investment partner is usually someone who loves learning—not just about your business, your team, or you—but about the world around them. People that love learning have a broader domain of expertise, are able to approach problems in creative ways, and are often less egotistical; all good things when it comes to working in a team. When you’re pitching your deal, an ideal investor will be full of questions, even some that you may consider “dumb”.
4. A life outside of work
While I love helping entrepreneurs get the word out about their venture, there's a big, beautiful world outside of the boardroom. Be it family, a hobby, or sports, everyone needs to have something they care about outside of work. After all, your investment partner should be a human—not a robot.
5. A conviction in your company's cause
Conviction in a company's cause is like jet-fuel for a business. It's a powerful motivator that, when shared amongst a team, can foster battlefield-esque camaraderie. However, not every potential investment partner will truly believe in your company's mission, so be sure to take note when you find one that is.
A Strong Investment Partner Contributes More Than Financial Capital
An investment partner should be more than someone who raises or invests money. As a company looking to accelerate growth, you want investors who are problem solvers, strategists, and believers in your broader mission. In other words, the ideal investment partner is someone who contributes not only financial capital, but emotional capital as well—an increasingly rare commodity in today's world.