What do entrepreneurs really want from investors?

LAUNCHPAD: Two thirds of business owners want advice more than money, but lots aren't getting any at all.

by Rachel Savage
Last Updated: 19 Aug 2014

When it comes to finding investors, you might think entrepreneurs are just in it for the money - they are fund raising after all. But most startups want a bit more than that: advice on how to spend it.

Two thirds of business owners said they were actually more interested in mentoring than money when they were looking for investment, according to a survey by investment network Angel’s Den.

More than three quarters thought money plus ‘mentoring and business advice’ (however different those two actually are) was the best deal, compared to just 12% who only wanted cash from investors.

Lots of entrepreneurs are clearly after advice, but not getting it: 81% had asked for it, but 24% had been given the cold shoulder, while another 34% had got only the briefest of tips. That chimes with research released by small business software provider Sage in June, which found 89% of small and medium sized UK companies thought mentors were important, but only 22% used one.

‘Finding an experienced business person is willing to both give you the money and help you spend it is the difference between a spectacular company and an average one,’ said Angel’s Den co-founder Bill Morrow.

‘Also, from the investor's side, your chances of seeing a return on your investment sky-rocket if you get involved. Offering mentoring is the real difference between investing on paper and investing whole-heartedly.’

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