If you’re an entrepreneur looking for funding for your startup, you’ve probably experienced the difficult task of finding investors. It can be very challenging to get in contact with them, why it’s often best to get an introduction from someone they already know. I’ve probably talked to 100+ angels and VCs and done as many investor intros for other entrepreneurs looking for funding. Unfortunately, most entrepreneurs asking me for investor intros have done no or very little research before asking. Here are some basic recommendations you can do to increase your chances of getting a good investor intro:
1. Who are the investors?
Knowing who you want to talk to is important. Who are the individual investors in the company you’re asking for intros? Imagine you’re asked for an intro to a specific person versus getting the question: do you know anyone? The former is fast and easy, the latter requires time to analyze what your company does and match that with a long list of investors. This is your job, not the person making the intro.
2. What do they invest in?
There are as many investors as there are industries. Just because they have a lot of money doesn’t mean they invest in every good idea. VCs, as well as angels, have different expertise and prefer investing within their domain. Therefore, always check the investors’ portfolio before asking for an intro. They may not be active in your industry, so you would be wasting your time talking to them.
3. What is their sweet spot?
Another important thing to know when asking for investor intros is the sweet spot of the investor. Do they invest early stage, Series A or later? There’s no need for you to be talking to investors with minimum $10M ticket size if you’re raising your seed round.
4. Where are they based?
Investors prefer to be close to their investments so that they are better able to help you and have more experience with legal matters in your state/country in case things go sour, i.e., potentially retrieving some of their money. You don’t want to be talking to a US VC who only invests in Delaware C-corps if your startup is based in Europe.
5. Make an intro blurb
Always send your suggested intro blurb to the person making the intro. You’re probably much better at pitching your own startup, so why not ensure the intro presents the right story? Furthermore, the person making the intro, probably doesn’t have time to write it for you, so he/she will ask you for it anyway. No 10-page email with a never-ending deck attached—it will likely never be opened without a super short and appealing summary.
Getting in contact with the right investor for your startup is hard work and it's easy to underestimate the time and effort it takes. If you follow the above recommendations you'll definitely increase your chances of getting a good introduction. And more importantly, you and your co-founders save time on fundraising that can be spend on building your startup instead.