Some answers to questions I've been considering..
When do I start raising capital?
Wait as long as you can before approaching VCs. Angels and crowdfunding is another matter. That you can start as soon as possible. Develop a user base, early adopters, and create traction. That means starting the business. If the idea is an app, having a functional prototype will appeal more to angels and crowdfunding sources. Raise capital from VCs when you don't need the money.
What do investors look for?
There's a lot of pattern recognition going on here. Often they're probably looking for experience and they will be more inclined to go with a business led by a CEO who has executed a successful exit strategy. Angel investors believe in you, and your conviction. Believe in what you're doing, and make it evident why you are investing your own time in this venture.
How do I go about this?
Dedicate a substantial amount of time, to meeting people, getting turned down, and turned away. Act as if you're in sales, and log all your interactions in a CRM. Get leads from other investors. Never leave a meeting without asking for a referral. Some people have said it will take at least 3-6 months. Others have said it will take from 6-18 months. It's not going to happen overnight. Master the art of pitching your product or service. Have a 15m pitch and a 30m pitch prepared. Open with your strongest points. That may be your team, your technical expertise, or your conviction.
Scour sources like Angel list. Look for investors that are actively investing in at least three other companies, and those that have invested in at least 5-20 startups. Look for people that align with you in terms of value. Hire people. Convincing other people it's worth there time speaks to the value proposition you bring to the table. Look for investors that share contacts with you. Contact them directly and mention you could have gotten a warm introduction from a mutual acquantaince, but chose to reach out to them directly, instead. Locate emails with rapportive.com