Find investors quickly with these powerful search techniques

5 strategies to get venture capital (VC) funding for your startup

Find investors quickly with these powerful search techniques

Welcome to the business intelligence series, where I'll share tips and tricks on how to leverage publicly available information to make more informed business decisions. 

As an entrepreneur, you might ask questions like "How to find venture capital investors", "where to get funding for a startup" or "How to get pre-seed funding". This article will help you to find VC firms quickly to secure your investment. If I were to recommend one technique from this article to start with, I would go with the Google Sheets search in the "Google like a pro" section. It will yield the most contacts in the shortest period of time. Although all techniques here are pretty powerful and can deliver great results.

How much effort it takes to get an investment depends on several factors, including location. For example, investors in the UK market are more risk-averse compared to the US and it's more complicated to get funds from them. Therefore, let's focus on the UK, but this guide is versatile and can be used for any country.

Google like a pro

Everyone uses Google for different needs, some are more complicated than others. The majority of people type simple queries in the form of a question, like "How to find pre-seed funding?" which usually displays irrelevant results. Let's explore the technique called Google Hacking or Google Dorking that will improve your search tenfold. Google Dorks are advanced search queries aimed at finding information that might not be available using standard queries. 

I did a fair bit of research myself and compiled queries that filter out the noise and find investor websites much faster. Feel free to modify them, as each case might require a unique query.

Search for exact matches on VC, healthcare, and UK keywords within
Search for exact matches on VC, healthcare, and UK keywords within

Filter out irrelevant news and social media

Searching for VC firms you usually get a lot of news and generic articles. The Internet is an ocean of data, and to get clean results you need to get rid of the noise:

pre-seed funding "UK" -intitle:guide -intitle:how -intitle:what -inurl:news intext:heathcare

The following query looks for pre-seed funding websites excluding a set of keywords from titles using -intitle operator. To look for exact matches the "UK" was put in quotes. In addition, -site operator filters out irrelevant news and social media websites. The last -inurl operator adds an extra layer of filtering, removing typical URLs for news. Note the minus - sign, it is used for excluding results. It is important to put it right before the operator without spaces in between. Finally, to concentrate on the healthcare sector the intext operator looks for mentions of that keyword within the page.

Aim at specific domains and locations

To get a refined list of VC firm websites you need to understand how VC websites are different from news and other unrelated resources. One of the indicators, is they use .vc domains. Others lie in the URL structure, here is an example: -inurl:/ "UK" -site:*.*

This query will search for pages within the .vc domain that contain "UK" keyword, excluding any URLs with a slash / (i.e. excluding subpages), and also excluding any results with a dot . in the domain part of the URL (i.e. excluding any URLs with subdomains).

Dig the news for potential leads

Previously we filtered the news to focus specifically on VC firm websites. Let's do the opposite now and dig news for the useful leads: "startup" AND "funding" AND "healthcare" AND "secures" OR "received"

This query will search for mentions of VC firms or investors specifically within You can adjust or expand the list of news websites according to your preferences.

Find already precompiled lists

If you are lucky, you can get your hands on the file with a neatly organised investors list someone has already put together. Google filetype operator allows you to search the web for various documents, including xls, xlsx, csv, and PDF

filetype:xls OR filetype:xlsx OR filetype:csv "VC firms" OR "investors list" "UK" "Healthcare"

The query below will search for Google Sheets with given keywords. Remember to put your keywords in quotation marks for the exact match. "VC" "Investor" "UK" "Healthcare"

Note, that Google might index resources that were meant not to be publicly accessed, so be cautious using filetype queries.

Try LinkedIn X-Raying

LinkedIn X-ray search is a technique to find your prospects using Google or other search engines. It is used by many recruiters to overcome the search limits of LinkedIn's internal tools. Sometimes 2nd & 3rd-degree connections are not accessible on LinkedIn, but Google search removes that restriction and their basic personal data can be accessed. LinkedIn recently started to put restrictions on the amount of available information outside the platform, but LinkedIn X-Raying remains a go-to for many people. 

Note that you get access only to LinkedIn profiles that allow their pages to be indexed on Google. Knowing Google search operators from the "Google like a pro" section you will be able to easily decipher the following: "Angel Investor" "Wales" "healthcare"
X-Raying Linked in Google to find investors
X-Raying Linked in Google to find investors

The query below will look for exact matches on the "healthcare investor" keyword, which is how people usually specify their investment sector in their profiles. "Wales" "healthcare investor"

For a broader search, you can remove quotation marks and put additional keywords.

Use contact databases and platforms

Data enrichment tools will help you obtain a list of verified prospects with direct contact information. Many platforms provide such services, and I would opt for those that source their data from business-oriented social networks like LinkedIn. Startup platforms are another valuable resource for finding useful connections. By signing up to websites like Foundercentre your startup gets more visibility among potential investors.

Foundercentre, the growth app for startups
Foundercentre, the growth app for startups

Data enrichment tools

  • RocketReach facilitates investor discovery by offering a vast database (including LinkedIn), enabling you to pinpoint potential investors based on specific criteria. With verified direct contact information it enhances efficiency in your outreach efforts. 
  • Apollo is a platform that provides comprehensive data enrichment services. It's useful for finding investors by offering access to a database of professional contacts, advanced search filters to narrow down prospects based on specific criteria, and verified contact information for reaching out directly.
  • SalesQL is useful in finding investors by getting access to a wide-ranging database with advanced search filters (such as industry, location, and job title). It leverages LinkedIn's extensive network to complement its database.
  • Seamless AI helps to find investors by offering access to a comprehensive database of professionals, with advanced search filters tailored to specific criteria. It promises to provide up-to-date contact information, avoiding outdated contacts.

Startup research and support platforms

  • PitchBook – the leading resource for comprehensive data, research, and insights spanning the global capital markets. It has an investor database equipped with extensive filtering options to refine your search.
  • Growjo – is an invaluable resource for insights into the world of rapidly growing companies and startups. Whilst it doesn’t specifically offer an investors database, you can research other companies to plan an investment strategy for your startup.
  • Dealroom – is a global provider of data and intelligence on startups and tech ecosystems. It will supply you with the most comprehensive database of investors and insights on how to move with your next funding round.
  • Foundercentre – is a free-to-use platform built by founders for founders. It has a directory of UK-accredited investors and the ability to filter them by sector and region.
  • Connectd – is an investment platform and startup networking ecosystem that facilitates meaningful connections between startups, investors, and advisors. It can help you find the right people and secure funding.
  • Crowdcube – is an equity crowdfunding platform that connects ambitious entrepreneurs with investors. For startups, it offers access to leading investors and the ability to receive community funds.
  • Seedrs – is an online equity crowdfunding company. It also provides tools for outreach to potential investors. You can share your campaign through social media, email newsletters, and other channels to attract interested backers.

Research using AI-assistants

It's the age of AI, so take advantage of it! ChatGPT has created the hype and become the most popular personal assistant. However, its knowledge is limited to a certain period and it doesn't have real-time Internet access. Therefore, it's better to consider Google Gemini or Microsoft Copilot. AI personal assistants can answer all sorts of questions, from listing VC firms to advising on strategies how to approach investors.

Google Gemini search for VC firms in the UK
Google Gemini search for VC firms in the UK

Follow investments

Use startup databases like Crunchbase to identify companies in a similar space and see who has invested in them, potentially leading you to suitable investors.

Searching for Generative AI funded startups on Crunchbase
Searching for Generative AI funded startups on Crunchbase

Crunchbase allows you to refine your search, which is very useful when you want to narrow down a broad industry into smaller chunks. Filter the list according to your criteria and dive into the details of each startup to find out who has invested in them.

The startup has listed investors with their personal details
The startup has listed investors with their personal details


In conclusion, this post on business intelligence has equipped you with essential strategies for securing venture capital investment. From advanced search techniques to leveraging social platforms and crowdfunding avenues, you now have diverse resources at your disposal.

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Approaching investors you have to show something concrete, like an interactive prototype or a nicely designed user interface. People are visual creatures, so having design at hand will drastically increase your chances of securing an investment. I can help you to design your digital product and create a convincing pitch deck. Learn more about how I can help you at