By David Etheredge, CEO & Co-Founder of SavvyCard
David is CEO and Co-Founder of SavvyCard, a digital marketing startup servicing the Real Estate industry based in St. Petersburg Florida.
David serves as a Board Member for Tampa Bay Wave, one of the leading Entrepreneurial support organization in Florida. David has more than 20 years’ experience in consumer software development with such companies as Disney Interactive and Hasbro Interactive. David is a TedX speaker on the Trust Economy and also regularly speaks on Capitalization Strategy for Startups and provides mentorship to local entrepreneurs. David grew up on a cotton farm in Texas, was an actor for a time in Hollywood and now lives with his wife and SavvyCard Co-Founder, Lisa Nalewak, in Clearwater, Florida.
1. Warm Introductions
95%+ of our capital has come from warm introductions (actively facilitated intros in person or by phone, not from emails) from people who have an intimate relationship with the company (existing investors, employees, advisors, clients, vendors, friends & family).
2. Meet with “connectors” personally and often
Sending emails to folks asking them to make introductions is generally low effort / low results. Scheduling a regular meeting quarterly to provide people with an update, to answer questions and to ask for advice, is the most effective way to generate valuable introductions to potential capital
3. Recent example of power of Face to Face
I flew to Austin to meet with a current investor who I haven’t seen personally in 2 years. Over a 45 minute coffee meeting, he made 3 valuable connections to potential investors, one of whom lives in Tampa (!) and who he hadn’t previously thought to introduce us to. Being face to face changed the urgency of our request from something he might (probably wouldn’t) get to later, to something he followed through on immediately. After the meeting, I was able to follow up with him to get warm phone intros that all lead to requests for investment materials.
4. Network with your clients and vendors
At the National Association of Realtors show in November, we met and signed deals with 2 new clients who we later interacted with socially that ended up expressing interest in investment and have both since written us a check and made further introductions to other potential capital sources. Your vendors and clients know your industry and know the value of your service better than almost anyone else. They are a great source of warm referrals to other investors who will trust them as subject matter experts on your industry, which will improve their chances of investing.
5. Network with CEOs of other companies that have raised capital in your sector
They have a proven list of investors who have already put money into your vertical and can (and will) often make introductions. This is especially true if you network with CEOs of companies that you are able to strategically partner with in the future.
SavvyCard is a Software-as-a-Service Lead Development Platform that simplifies the
process and improves performance of advertising through digital ad channels such as
Facebook. SavvyCard’s primary market is residential real estate and the company has
recently signed an agreement with CoreLogic to resell SavvyCard powered services to
the real estate market nationally. Realtors spend over $9.8 billion annually in marketing,
much of this on Facebook. SavvyCard has been described by Real Estate industry
insiders as the “simplest and most cost-effective way for Real Estate Agents to
advertise listings and farm qualified buyer and seller leads from Facebook”.