How to Due Diligence a Venture Capitalist

Picture this: You’re a startup with a killer idea and are looking for a venture capitalist to pitch to. Or perhaps you’re a senior at college, about to graduate and have an interview lined up with a top tier PE/VC fund, investment bank or consulting firm.

Problem is, you know absolutely nothing about the people at the fund or firm.

Well today is your lucky day as I’m about to show you how you can do your due diligence on just about anyone with an internet presence. (Let this be a warning as well — check your own digital presence and clean it up because if I’m can stalk you, anyone else can.)

Finding Venture Capitalists

Today we’re going to use Blockspring (the powerful Googlesheet / Excel add-on that I’m obsessed with) as well as a couple of APIs — Full Contact, Twitter, Email Hunter, Github, AngelList.

Using either a Chrome plug-in (Scraper is the easiest to use and exports directly to Googlesheets) or the ImportXML function on Google Sheets, I am able to extract all the Twitter IDs from this article EdTech Investors and Venture Capitalists You Should Follow on Twitter onto Google Sheets, which I then manually classified into “individual” or “fund”.

I use Blockspring to load them up to a Twitter List which I also share on List.ly.

Let’s take the first person on the list for example: Allison Baum. She looks interesting — an Edtech investor focused on Asia.

Using Blockspring and Full Contact’s API, I can use her Twitter ID to see what she looks like……

…look at her digital footprint….

…and search for her social profiles and usernames.

I can then interact with her via Twitter. Using a template similar to the one that I built to hack BuzzSumo and other paid Twitter tools, I can fave or retweet her tweets.

I can do the same for the tweets that she’s faved.

Tweets via Blockspring

In fact, I can look at her past 200 tweets and do the same. Loads of great education related tweets — think I’ll save them for my Twitter account that focuses on Gifted Education.

I can also see the latest people following her on Twitter.

And I can follow them based on their profiles: using their profile descriptions, followers to friends ratio and Klout scores as screening criteria.

Next, let’s head over to AngelList — an great place to search for information about a person.

Weaknesses: Can’t Code. Can’t speak Chinese. Japanese Limited.

Right.

本当に? Allison-san, 日本語ができますか? 凄い! Blockspring も凄い! 大好きyo!

Both the Criteria and Skill Tags are fields in AngelList that are very revealing.

Have someone that you want to find out more about?

You know the drill. $25 donation to my Pencils of Promise fund and I’ll send you a PDF of everything I can find about the person online.

As for Allison, a $25o donation and I’ll remove this information and substitute it with someone else’s. Nothing personal — I know you can afford it!


And just as I was about to hit publish, I received a notification from Pencils of Promise with extremely exciting news.

Windows has announced that they will match, dollar-for-dollar, all donations to my campaign for 24 hours only.

This offer is starts at midnight EST, 30 December 2015 and ends at midnight EST, 31 December 2015.

If this is something that you were considering, now is the time to do it.

2X your impact. Change a life forever.

Make a donation here: https://fundraise.pencilsofpromise.org/fundraise/team?ftid=58838

And please share this with as many people as you can!

Note: This fundraising campaign is over — US$75,000 has been raised and will build three schools in Laos. Thank you to everyone who’s donated!

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