Securing a pledge from the first backer is the highest hurdle, in part because founders are often upended by rejection. Yet there are a few points on which you can focus to find that elusive anchor investor. One choice is to ensure that you have identified the right sort of candidates. Looking to raise money for a travel-related venture? Then stick with those who have a touch point with the hotel or transportation industries. Still another issue is to make certain that your startup story is compelling. Outside coaching is inexpensive by comparison, given the amount of money at stake, but friends and colleagues will also know a good story when they hear it. And finally, be sure to set a timeline. Open-ended commitments are debilitating for both sides of the negotiating table. Avoid the temptation to allow opened-ended discussions to derail the day-to-day demands of your core business. ■
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