Do VCs mind you pitching them on LinkedIn?

We haven’t closed the first fund for M8 Ventures yet. So anybody pitching via any channel right now is pitching to the wrong fund. Still, one day soon, we’ll welcome your investment pitch.

But please, not via LinkedIn, unless your startup is building a better replacement for LinkedIn.

I don’t know anyone in venture who welcomes LinkedIn pitches. There might be some, but I don’t know them. (Holla if that’s you).

When you pitch using the form at you answer the questions we need to evaluate whether to follow-up with you, you’re prompted to upload your deck, all that information goes into a new record in our CRM, you get an email confirming that has happened and my venture partner and I get notified of this over Slack.

Sounds kinda automated and impersonal, I know, but there’s two of us and hundreds of you already, and that’s even before we start writing cheques. We’re too small a fund to employ a team of analysts and associates so I’m sorry, but not sorry. Please don’t make succeeding at our venture fund any harder than it already is.

Pitching us over LinkedIn is less efficient and may suggest to the investor “I want you to work my way, not yours”. There may be a time later in the relationship where the investor realises you’re worth making big and small allowances for. But on the initial approach it’s probably doing you more harm than good.

It’s not even getting you ahead of everybody else pitching via other channels, since I generally as many approaches via LinkedIn as any other channel and if there’s anything that make them different, it is that they are generally low quality opportunities that aren’t remotely close to our fund’s focus.

Use LinkedIn, but not for pitching

LinkedIn is best used as a tool to discover whether there’s someone you and the investor both know, who might be prepared to do a warm intro to the investor, and to learn a little more about the focus, background and mindset of the potential investor.

Want to impress us? Wait until we’re ready to invest (just follow us on Twitter, believe me, we’ll let everybody know there first) pitch us a world-class product and technical team making rapid progress on the tricky bit between prototype and validated MVP. Bonus points for showing us you understand our investment criteria and how you fit them.

I’m Alan Jones, coach for accelerators, partner at M8 Ventures, angel investor. Earlier: founder, early Yahoo product manager, tech reporter.