One Way Ventures
Published in

One Way Ventures

How to Refer a Startup to a VC

Photo by Kon Karampelas on Unsplash

What are we thinking when we get a referral?

  • How credible is the person making the referral?
  • How active is this person as an investor?
  • How often does this person refer startups to us?

How can you write a referral that gets our (and any VC’s) attention?

  • State the reason you think we should meet with the founder (if it is not immediately obvious). Is it because you think he/she could benefit from our mentorship, or is it because you think we should invest?
  • For potential investments, provide concise context for why the founder and his/her business is superior to the average companies we look at. Ranking them in some way is very helpful. For example: Is this the best company in your accelerator’s cohort this year? Have you personally invested in this company? Is this the strongest founder you’ve seen all year? The strongest company you’ve seen so far in this space?
  • Explain why the company is a good fit for our fund specifically. At a high level, we look for immigrant founders starting tech-enabled companies in North America at and around the seed stage. You can see more about what we look for here (Tip: for leverage, have the founders write this out for you).

Example Referral Email:

  • It is clear that the person referring the company is reaching out because he/she thinks we should invest.
  • There is context around why the company is superior to the average company we see.
  • There is a short blurb about the company and why it’s a good fit for our fund.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Semyon Dukach

Managing Partner of One Way Ventures, the tech VC fund backing exceptional immigrant founders, and co-founder of CashForRefugees.