Written By: Janine Kick
I’m often asked what’s the best way to cold email an investor and it goes without saying, it’s simpler than you’d think. That said, it’s no secret that cold email is not the preferred way to reach out to a fund, but founders have to do what founders have to do! Below are my top tips to cold outreach an investor.
- Be targeted. The success rate on cold investor outreach is not particularly high, less than 1% if you go with an indiscriminate blast. So, the VCs you go after need to be specific and you should be certain that you fit their thesis as much as possible ahead of reaching out. Now you won’t always get this right, but the more research you can do on a fund and their investment criteria the greater the result.
- Keep it short. To clarify, I mean really, really short. An investor should be able to read your email in 60 seconds or less. After all, you aren’t trying to sell an investor in your email, you’re trying to get them to engage. The shorter, simpler your email is the easier it is for an investor to respond. The entire interaction on the investors side shouldn’t take more than 2 minutes for them to read and respond. You want them to pursue you for more information and time.
- Stick to the basics. Your email shouldn’t be a wall of text on how you came up with your product. It should explain a few key questions: What’s the problem you’re addressing? What’s the solution you’re providing (and any initial positive signals of adoption)? How big is the market? What is the secret sauce giving you the upper hand that therefore makes you the best person to build this business?
- Skip the jargon. There’s a very real difference between a sales pitch and an investor pitch. While it’s likely the investor you’re reaching out to has some knowledge of the space, they won’t understand the industry like you do. If a sixth grader wouldn’t understand your 60-second email, rework it.
- Make it relevant. (And here’s the real work.) Demonstrate to an investor that you’ve done your homework. Each email you send should be specific to the investor. Generally speaking, you can easily find a blog post, a tweet, or a portfolio company they invested in to utilize as a gateway to introduce your company.
- Track opens. Be sure people are seeing your email. If they aren’t even getting to your email you may need to rework the subject line. If they’ve seen the email and aren’t responding, it’s time to update your cold outreach.
The key takeaway here is the more you put in the more you’ll get out. The process of cold outreaching investors should be thought of in the same way as you would when putting together a prospect list for your business. Using the same level of attention and detail increases your chances significantly of going from cold email to warm lead.
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