My favorite technique is approaching the CEOs they have invested in before, which are often available in public records or on their respective websites. First you need to target very narrowly the right investors for your type of deal by industry, stage and sometimes geography. Then with this focused list you can find their portfolios, and the CEOs of those companies.
Although many CEOs will not take your calls the right approach, asking for help, not money, can get you their sympathy and a lunch. Not long ago they were you and the founder, bond can be powerful.
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Lawyers can be approached that do deals with these companies, and top-level accountants. Often public records like Edgar where SEC IPO disclosures can be found will point you to these relationships.
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Bob Norton is a long-time Serial Entrepreneur and CEO with four exits that returned over $1 billion to investors. He has trained, coached and advised over 1,000 CEOs since 2002. And is Founder of The CEO Boot Camp™ and Entrepreneurship University™. Mr. Norton works with companies to triple their chances of success in launching new companies and products. And helps established companies scale faster using the six AirTight Management™ systems. And helps companies successfully raise capital.