Nivi · March 22nd, 2010
Image: Pink Floyd
Update: Here’s a simpler approach I like.
Scheduling meetings with investors — this topic is so banal you may wonder why someone needs to write about it all. But since we started AngelList, we’ve been making daily introductions between investment-grade startups and top-tier investors like Satish Dharmaraj (Posterous), Jeff Clavier (Mint), and Aaron Patzer (Milo). We see a lot of first time entrepreneurs trying to schedule meetings with investors.
This is not how you do it (based on a true story):
It is a pleasure to meet you. I would love to tell you more about Yomommaco. Next week we are at DEMO but the following week is wide open. Please let me know if there is a date/time that works for a meeting.
BTW, I am big admirer of some of your investments… KISSmetrics looks very interesting. Gowalla too.
Looking forward to speaking with you,
What’s wrong with this email? First, Yngwie proposes meeting in over a week — what’s wrong with right now? Second, he doesn’t propose any times to meet. Third, he doesn’t talk about the fact that he lives on the other side of the country. Fourth, he CC’ed me instead of moving me to BCC. Fifth, he makes an attempt to add a personal touch about KISSmetrics and Gowalla but he’s too colloquial (BTW?) and the touch isn’t personal at all — it’s just a list of company names.
How to do it right
This is how you do it (based on a true story):
Thanks Nivi (bcc'ed).
I'm back in SF on Wed 3/31. I could meet anytime the following day Thurs 4/1 after 3pm or Fri 4/2 before noon.
Since I won't be in SF for 10 days and we've already secured some commitments for the financing, why don't we get the conversation started with a 30 minute phone call anytime tomorrow Mon 3/22 after 2pm or Tue 3/23 after noon? My cell is 213.333.8923.
If you happen to be in Cambridge, MA anytime between now and 3/31, I could meet you there. Similarly, if you're in NYC in the next week, I could hop on a bus and make that work too.
I'm looking forward to talking.
The principles of scheduling meetings with investors.
Respond immediately and be available to meet immediately. BCC the introducer. If you don’t live nearby, find out where the investor is (Plancast anyone?) and let them know if you’re going to be there soon. If you’re not going to be near them soon, propose a phone call. Propose specific times to talk. If there’s a deadline on the financing or you’re going to be oversubscribed, politely let them know. Write less — you have no idea how busy a typical investor’s inbox is. Don’t be colloquial. Attach a copy of your deck. Use an email program like Gmail that generates narrow fucking columns. Don’t write HTML emails. Include a cell # and URL in the signature and not much more. Bonus: include one line of good news — or start the email with a substantive sentence about a mutual acquaintance or something about the investor’s portfolio or blog or whatever.
P.S. Good news: we just hired Steve Wozniak. / Barney Rubble just committed to the financing. / We just had our first $1000 revenue day. / I got hair plugs and they look great.
Seed financings get done through a positive feedback loop of social proof, scarcity and momentum. Focus on the financing, get it done, and get back to work.