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Apr 27, 2021

Writing

How to write cold emails to investors – lessons from 30 VCs

Want to get your cold email to investors opened and read? Learn from the tips of some of the top VC investors.

Blog writer

Timo Särkkä

Community

Blog image
Blog image

Fact: sending cold emails to investors can work.

The proof? Factmata raised a $500,000 investment from Mark Cuban through a cold email. Mapistry turned a cold outreach into a $2.5M funding round. Talkdesk, a company with a valuation of $3 billion, got initially funded through a well-crafted cold email.

But how to write a cold email to an investor? We took a deep dive to Twitter to find out what will get your email opened and read by VC investors.

We surfaced and analyzed 30 tweets from some of the top VCs sharing their advice for founders cold emailing them. In this blog post, we will share 10 cold email tips based on these insights.

1. Keep it short

This tip takes the number one spot on our list because it often came up in our research.

So, keep the length of your cold email to an investor around 50-200 words.

You only have a few seconds to make the initial impression – and the full email pitch should take only around 45-90 seconds to read.

The opening line has the highest probability of getting read, so make it count.

2. Keep it simple

A good cold email has a simple structure. Although the exact preferences between investors vary, you can't go wrong with the following.

1-2 sentences on why you reached out to this particular venture capital company.

5-8 bullets for essential info:

  • Intro to the founders
  • The problem you're trying to solve
  • How you solve that problem
  • Traction figures
  • Information on the funding round
  • Possible other important things that establish credibility (lead investor name, IP, signed POs, key partnerships)

One of the typical pieces of advice was to pay attention to the formatting when it comes to keeping it simple. You should avoid walls of text. Divide the text into short paragraphs or use line spaces, bullets, and numbering. Brevity is king.

Remember: You can always elaborate in the pitch deck if necessary.

3. Do your research

Spend time trying to understand the goals and preferences of each investor you're approaching. This will help you to figure out whether they'd be a good match for your company or not and connect with them on a personal level.

What's their background? What are their values? What stage do they invest in? Do they focus on specific industries, geographies, or business models?

Soon you'll notice that every VC is different. So make sure to personalize your approach.

4. Attach a pitch deck upfront

When sending a cold email to an investor, your job is to reduce friction and make it as easy as possible for them to say yes.

If they find your pitch interesting, they want to know more right away. Make their life easier and attach a pitch deck. Use a common format so that it's quick to read and skim through. Study pitch decks from successful startups to perfect yours.

However, there's an exception for every rule: Not all VCs expect to receive a pitch deck in the initial email – or at all. Especially in those early-stage cases where there's a lot of inbound from investors, founders might not have the time to create a deck and instead rely on Notion docs or early product demos to present their idea. This happened to us at Flowrite.

5. Include a strong CTA

When writing a cold email to investors, always make your ask specific.

Are you raising funding? Then propose a short introduction call or meeting.

Also, asking for more than one thing in your initial outreach makes it harder to get a response. You can ask for feedback or advice later on – even if the investor declined your proposal.

6. Don't hesitate

Most people never send cold emails. They are afraid that it comes off as spammy and that they're a nuisance. This gives you an edge.

Just by overcoming your hesitations and pressing 'send' after writing that thoughtful cold email can get you ahead. 

Based on the tweets we found, it seems clear: VCs do read – and answer – cold emails. Sending one has unlimited upside, with close zero downside.

7. Be specific 

This advice applies across the board.

Let the investor know that you wanted to contact them specifically and not just any VC. Show real, accurate numbers right upfront. Present a specific problem and briefly explain how you're solving it. Avoid buzzwords and jargon like "disruption" and "Uber for X."

And finally, write your pitch like you would explain it to a friend – write like you talk.

8. Proofread

Proofread. Proofread. Proofread. And proofread one more time.

Weed out the easy mistakes: typos, punctuation, and grammar errors. There's nothing worse than sending out an email with a misspelled name. 

Get others to read your text. After writing for hours, you'll almost definitely be blind to your own mistakes. So, take your time. Don't hit send before you have polished your pitch to perfection.

9. Don't waste time

Respect other people's time. Explain the value you create, and if the VC is interested, they'll reply.

Don't ask for an hour of their day or moon from the sky at this stage – you'll get there eventually if there's a potential match.

Other things to steer clear from according to our research:

10. Try also other channels

There are so many channels other than email to contact people these days.

There are literally dozens of Twitter lists about venture capital investors. Some VCs use Clubhouse's rooms to listen to pitches and find out new opportunities. How about LinkedIn? Slack groups, Discord communities, and the list goes on and on… So, there's tons of ways to how to follow up on your email. Don't let them go to waste.

If you want to do your own research, you can find the complete list of 30 tweets we uncovered here. We hope you find these tips and Flowrite useful the next time you'll be writing a cold email to investors.

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