As a business journalist, you may be interested in covering startups or venture capital. If so, you want to start researching and learning about an up-and-coming business sooner rather than later. That will make you a relevant source and somewhat of an expert for future reporting on a particular startup. Here are some tips for increasing your knowledge and connections so that you can be the first to cover a budding company.
Attend a startup event
Pitch competitions are a great opportunity to meet startups who are looking to get funded, meet the venture capitalists and angel investors who are seeking to invest, and to learn about new innovative products and services.
Some pitch events are small such as a competition for student entrepreneurs, and some are large for more established business who need millions in funding. Whichever size, you’ll see first hand what’s including a pitch deck, how startups pitch themselves to investors, and what investors look for. You might even find an exciting company or founder to profile.
Finding a pitch night is easy, and most are free to attend. You can Google ones that are near you, or look through event sites such as Eventbrite. You can also contact a local incubator or college to learn about upcoming pitch nights they may have.
There are startup conferences held all over the world and can be the best entry point into the business world for many new companies. This is a great place to interview experts in the field, funders looking for new investments, and founders of up and coming companies.
As a journalist, see if you can get a press pass to attend. These sort of conferences often hold pitch competitions as well during the conference.
Networking sites and meetups
Check out networking sites or meetup websites, such as meetup.com, in your area to look for groups that focus on startups. These groups can allow you to talk to founders who can give you an insider perspective on what it’s like to to start from scratch and background details on what it was like for the company to look for and ultimately find funding. The benefit of these groups is that you’ll often come across people who are just starting out on their new ventures, making you the first person they talk to about their potential unicorn.
Expand your knowledge
Angel investor training
There are training courses and seminars out there on how to be an angel investor, and some are free. Taking a course yourself may be worthwhile so you can better understand how the process works and what to look for in a startup venture.
Additionally, these programs can be an excellent way to speak to experts on what they look for and what, as a journalist, you should look out for when profiling a new business. This will help improve your ability to write about the topic and investigate claims made by founders.
Subscribe to business magazines and tech blogs
Read magazines such as Inc. and Forbes and blogs such as TechCrunch and Crunchbase. Reading these will expose you to terminology you should know, and keep you up to date with the latest startup and VC news.
Twitter can be a valuable resource
Follow other reporters that write about startups and venture capitalist. You can use our “20 Business Journalists to Follow on Twitter” as a starting guide.
Following Twitter topics such as “startups” and “venture capital” will allow you to see tweets from individuals that are in the game, and threads of useful information such as how a startup is valued.
Remember to be diligent
It’s exciting to be the first journalist to break a story, or to profile a company that could be the next game-changer or behemoth, but we also have a responsibility to the public. Providing an accurate and balanced picture of a business is paramount in preventing consumers and investors from being misled, and preventing fraud and financial scandals. Check out our tips from experts on evaluating startups.