If you’re a startup on angelist, crunchbase, or have had publicity, chances are good that VC are emailing you about raising money. Here are some tips to maximize the benefit of these inquiries:
Emails from decision makers are good. Knowing principals, managing directors, and original founders at venture funds is a good thing. These individuals are real decision makers, won’t waste your time or theirs, and should try to ascertain fit quickly. If they reach out and you have the time for a call or are fundraising, take it.
Emails from associates. More than likely, you’re going to get an email from an associate. Unless you’re raising, feel free to ignore this. The job of an associate is to get on the phone with as many startups as possible, so they will waste your time. It’s not out of line to politely ask to be connected with a principal. If the associate wont push you up promptly, he’s just fishing.
Don’t feel the need to respond or take calls. Even if you’re emailed by Vinod Khosla (well known venture investor), don’t feel pressured to take the call. VC understand you’re busy and believe me, we’ll email you in a few months. Alternatively, make a quick intro to one of your board members and let that board member handle the communication. Using your board is very effective way to save your time while also building familiarity with a venture firm.
Don’t ask one really annoying question. Responding with “so what value are you going to add” is like asking “so what are your strengths” in an interview. It’s a bullshit question that’s going to get a bullshit answer. At worst you’ll turn off the really good VC who will view this question as arrogant. Finding out about the value-add of an investor is best done by asking for portfolio reference calls during your raise.
Save the email address. If you don’t respond, no problem. Do save the email address though and reach out to that person when you are about to raise.
Visit us at blossomstreetventures.com and email us directly with Series A or B opportunities at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also connect with me on LI. We invest $1mm to $1.5mm in growth rounds, inside rounds, and other ‘special situations’ all over the US & Canada.