Don’t be afraid to get multiple intros to a single investor. Fred Wilson:

“One of my favorite VC quotes comes from Bill Kaiser of Greylock. He once said, “when I hear about a company once, I often ignore it, when I hear about it twice, I pay attention, when I hear about it for the third time, I take a meeting”.

“It happened to me this week. I met with Reshma who runs seedcamp, the european version of Y Combinator, on Monday and she told me about Zemanta which came out of last year’s seedcamp. Then I saw this blog post about Zemanta on Techmeme the next day. And then on Thursday, Alex Iskold, founder of our portfolio company Adaptive Blue, introduced us to Andraz, one of the founders of Zemanta.

“Three hits in one week is absolutely a “pay attention” notice. So this morning I am trying Zemanta out. The image and most of the links in this post were automatically provided by Zemanta.”

Put yourself in Fred’s shoes. His inbox is overflowing with intros to companies that are as good as yours. He has to ignore most of the intros and focus on a few of them. One of Fred’s best filters is the quality and quantity of the people referring your company. And, by the way, Fred went on to invest in Zemanta.

How to get multiple intros

This is what we tell entrepreneurs who use AngelList and StartupList: we recommend doing all of these at the same time,

  1. Email investors directly if they allow it. But first read their profile to see if you’re a good fit. Don’t contact them if you don’t fit their interests — you’re not the exception that proves the rule.
  2. Use one of the referrers they suggest. But don’t spam referrers — you should either know the referrer or the referrer should be open to cold calls.
  3. Use Facebook/LinkedIn and ask mutual friends for an intro. You should either know the mutual friend well or the mutual friend should be open to cold calls.
  4. Send your elevator pitch to StartupList and, if you’ve got a good pitch, we’ll send it to the investors on AngelList — or, if you prefer, specific investors you suggest. 4 weeks in, we’ve already done intros between 15 startups and 25 investors — and gotten 1 startup funded. Even better, with StartupList, the investors come to you.

The idea here isn’t that you should keep bugging investors — the idea is that it often takes three tries to get a meeting.

Topics Introductions

3 comments · Show

  • Saul Lieberman

    Based on my limited, amateur matchmaking experience, I would clarify your advice: Don’t have three people trying to introduce you to your target at the same time. Sure, do whatever you can to increase your visibility (via StartupList and blogs) but choose your referrer as carefully as you can and don’t send more than one introduction into the pipeline at any one time.

    • Nivi

      I hear you Saul, but that’s the exact opposite of what we’re suggesting. I don’t think most investors mind hearing about the same startup from multiple high-quality sources. Agreed about choosing your referrers wisely.

  • Matt Bartus

    I think this is a great message about the triangulation of PR (I’m sure there is a more specific term for this, but I’m just a lawyer). When you start hearing about someone/something from multiple, seemingly unrelated sources, it builds credibility. Of course, after just hearing about Zemanta a single time from Venture Hacks I have already installed it and really like it.