I am brand new to the startup stage and am trying to obtain money to get my startup off the ground. I have heard about angel investors but I have no idea how to get in contact with them (especially because most of them seem to be on the west coast and I am in New Jersey).
There are plenty of angel investors in New York, so you should be fine.
Step #1: attend the New York Newtech Meetup. Talk to fellow entrepreneurs. After a few months, you will know all there is to know about who is investing, and how to meet them.
@alain is correct, there are a lot of angels out there. You only get one chance to make that first impressions. My advice, do not seek Money to get your startup going until it actual is Going.
Ideas are a dime a dozen. And most investors have heard them all. Unless you have figured the cure for aids, or how to turn water into fuel, then you probably wont find an investor just to invest in a small idea.
You have to build credibility. For your first few startups that credibility comes from the actual product.
Plus know, the sooner an investor gets involved the more you are likely to give away. Its just facts, more risk at the early stages. You want to minimize those risks for your investors by actually building something that doesnt require much risk.
I personally stay away from investment as much as possible. In the scenarios where i have required investors, I have always had a product, and used the investment just to grow sales. The investment was only spent on marketing, sales, and service related to addtional revenue. Going to an investor with your winning forumal, where you spend $100k per year, and make $50k in profits, you can expect them to do the quick math and reason that with $1m per year, you could make $500k in profit.
Best of luck.
Attend the meetings. Meet people, but keep your mouth shut about needing money until you really do.