At NXTP Labs we receive these kinds of unsolicited emails from entrepreneurs all the time. In any given week, we might receive around 10 unsolicited emails from startup founders wanting to pitch their companies to us.
Even though we DO read all emails we get through our info email account, and we DO try to answer all of them, truth is that it’s very rare this kind of email will get you anywhere. Why?
There are a lot of common traits we fund managers/angel investors/VC partners share:
- We don’t have as much time as we’d like to have to review inbound investment proposals.
- We are a bit lazy. We don’t want to have to exchange 10 emails, meet for lunch 2 times and have 5 phone calls to learn about your company.
- We know 80%+ of what falls in our hands will be utter crap. No offense.
Most of the unsolicited emails we receive are like the ones I’ve shown above. Even though that might be a founder’s only chance to get in touch with some investors, written like that, they are just missed opportunities.
Sending that kind of email to an investor’s / VC’s / Accelerator’s / Fund’s info email account shows all the wrong signals:
- You don’t know anyone that works at that firm. Investors want to invest in capable, well connected founders. If you are sending an email to the info email account it’s because you don’t know anyone at the firm. Really? There’s typically at least 10 staff members in any investment firm, plus other non-key members, hundreds of founders that have been invested by that firm, and probably even more people that could potentially introduce you to someone at the firm. Even if you don’t really know anyone that has any kind of connection to the firm you are approaching, it’s always better to find out who works there and get in touch with them.
- You didn’t make any kind of research. There’s a lot of ways to find out who does what at any investment firm. Just by searching any company on LinkedIn you can find out who works there and what they do. If you can easily find out who is in charge of analyzing new investment opportunities at a firm, why send an unsolicited email to an info email account no one probably cares about? Is it laziness? You just don’t care or know better? In any case, it shows the wrong signals that you can’t or won’t do your homework and learn all about a firm before you get in touch.
- You don’t even try mingling before approaching investors. There’s a lot of events taking place all the time where you can potentially meet people who work at any VC/Accelerator in town. Before you introduce yourself through a cold call or unsolicited email, why not better show up at one of these events and try to find someone who works at the firm? It doesn’t really matter who you talk with, they will surely help you reach whoever is in charge of meeting with founders at the firm.
Investors are more approachable than you think
You shouldn’t be afraid to reach out to someone at any investment firm. Usually, even if you send a cold email to a celebrity investor, they will probably try to get you in touch with someone within the firm that can review your proposal. That’s better than trying to get someone to read and care about an email sent to an info email address.
One final piece of advice: Before you even think about sending an email to anyone over an investment firm (even if you send it to info@…com), be prepared for a reply. Have an investor deck ready, at the very least. As I mentioned at the beginning of the article, we DO try to get back to everyone that reaches out to us, but it’s impossible to have a meeting with everyone, thus, we try to optimize our time by going through a deck, to see if there’s a potential fit or not.
Here’s a better cold email you can use next time, that will yield better results, and we’ll probably thank you for making our lives easier!
Dear Y[Someone at the firm that takes care of seeing through the firm’s pipeline],
My name is X, and we met [mention an event where you met each other or an acquaintance that introduced you] .
I’m currently working on [Name your company, with a link to website], which is a [describe your project and opportunity in one or two sentences].
I’m attaching our investor deck. Could you review it to see if it makes sense for us to have a call or meet in person to have me walk you through the details?