The Art of Investor Follow Up — Part 1

Jason Weiss
May 25, 2020 · 5 min read

If you read part one of this series (if not — read it here first!), you know how important the elevator pitch and first impression is. But it’s only the beginning. The second touch and follow up is just as important to make or break any deal. Here, I’d like to share real email templates for follow up emails that have produced real results and deals. But first — let’s go through a few important strategies to keep in mind during this process:

Startup-Investor Meeting at Axis Roadshow event
  • Take the lead: Don’t expect the investor or your target to follow up with you. Sometimes it will happen, but you should always take the responsibility to do it yourself first.
  • Long term: Follow up isn’t a quick process, and is about building a relationship that can last months or years. Even if you are looking to close a quick deal, you want to have a positive relationship with that person going forward and need to be patient.
  • Chutzpah: Confidence is key! Chutzpah is a unique Jewish/Israeli word that means you will keep trying despite failure, find a creative way to get to a “yes” after being told “no!”, get results done no matter what, and sometimes be direct with people even if it’s not so polite or “by the book”. For more on chutzpah, listen to my podcast “Pass the Chutzpah” for interviews with top Israeli founders about the chutzpah attitude.
  • Who’s Talking? The follow up process should be done by you — the founder or CEO. However, trusted connections such as brokers, portfolio companies, advisors, or others who have a close relationship with the investor can be great support to help move the process forward faster and provide valuable insights and assistance throughout.
  • FOMO: Investors don’t want to miss out on the next best deal. Your job throughout the follow up process is to create a sense of sincere urgency in your round and the opportunity they don’t want to miss out on. At the same time, don’t exaggerate — investors have strong BS radars and quickly sense if things aren’t going as claimed.

How to follow up? What’s the best platform?

Your first follow up should always be through email. Despite the inbox overload we all face, email is still the best form of communication. In addition, it’s a great idea to send them a Linkedin request and a friendly message — this way you can also learn about their work history and get to know them a bit better. Never cold call or message someone unless they’ve agreed to contact them that way.

What else to prepare?

  1. Do your homework — don’t just follow up cold. Spend a few minutes researching the investor, fund, background, and make sure it’s a relevant fit for you. In addition, look for key insights here you can use to personalize your message (more on this below).
  2. Materials — This should be a given, but is not always understood. Before you go out to raise money from investors, make sure you have all basic materials ready — polished deck, financial overview, legal documents, references, etc. One of the most frustrating situations you can be in is to have a great first connection, then the investor asks for standard materials to review and you don’t have them ready. This can kill a deal, as it sends a back signal that you aren’t ready to move forward.
  3. Log & Track — before you begin, make sure you have an efficient CRM or spreadsheet to monitor your leads and next steps, as well as a task management program. This ensures you are on track of next steps and won’t let any leads fall through the cracks.

Email Template

Now that we’re prepared as best we can, let’s take a look at a real email template you can use for investor follow up. It’s simple, personal, and to the point. Remember — at the end of the day, it’s about a relationship and the human aspect is critical. Investors see hundreds or thousands of companies a year, and you need to put in all the extra effort you can to make yourself the right one for them to invest in.

Hi NAME,

Part 1: Remind how you met / connected. 1 line.

“It was great meeting you yesterday at the Axis Tel Aviv Conference”

Part 2: Make a personal connection. 1–2 lines.

  • “I really enjoyed our brief chat and your questions about the competitive landscape.”
  • “I appreciate your expertise in the banking industry which would be very valuable for an early stage fintech company like us.”
  • Mention a top company in their portfolio and how you can be their next one — this is a great tip I learned from an investor. “I reviewed your portfolio and was impressed to see you were seed investors in X — we believe we can be your next X in the insurtech space.”

Part 3: What you are looking for + key highlights (why they should be interested)

“We are starting our series A round of $XM to accomplish A, B, and C. Here are a few key highlights from the last quarter: (list 2–3 key metrics of growth).

Attached is our latest deck. If you are interested, I’d be glad to arrange a follow up. Are you available for a meeting in person or call next Monday or Tuesday?”

There you have it — a simple first follow up email format. But what happens next — after the first email? How can you maintain momentum and know if they are really interested or not? Part 3 of this series takes a look at ongoing follow up and how to get from first email to close.

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Jason Weiss

Written by

Entrepreneur, startup advisor, fundraiser, global connector. COO & Dealflow Manager at Axis Innovation, Co-founder at Bizrael Trips.

The Startup

Get smarter at building your thing. Follow to join The Startup’s +8 million monthly readers & +787K followers.

Jason Weiss

Written by

Entrepreneur, startup advisor, fundraiser, global connector. COO & Dealflow Manager at Axis Innovation, Co-founder at Bizrael Trips.

The Startup

Get smarter at building your thing. Follow to join The Startup’s +8 million monthly readers & +787K followers.

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