If you're a start-up trying to raise money, be prepared to get a lot of investors declining to help, experienced tech entrepreneurs said at a panel during tech conference MinneBar on Saturday.

"Even if you are successful, you get far more rejections," said Jon Dahl, CEO of Zencoder, a video encoding start-up that recently raised $2 million in funding. Dahl said about 75 percent of the investors he asked for money said no.

Despite the odds, 21 Minnesota tech companies raised $38 million in the first quarter of this year, according to a tally by industry news website TECHdotMN. So far this quarter, four tech start-ups raised more than $2.6 million, TECHdotMN said.

Still, Dahl said at a later panel he believes it's an "open question" on whether Minnesota will become a hotbed for software. Dahl said the main reason for the dearth of Minnesota investors is not enough prior success.

"Investors have not made a lot of money in the last ten years in software (as far as) I know," Dahl said. "If that happened, we would pull a lot of people out of the woodwork."

MinneBar, held at Best Buy's headquarters in Richfield, had more than 1,200 people registered to attend, organizers said.