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How should I conduct investor outreach?
Having the investor database is the first step, but you can’t copy and paste the same email to every investor hoping for a positive outcome. Here are three core tips to maximize the chances you’ll hear back from your ideal investors.
KYI (Know Your Investor)
Like mentioned, a generic blurb won’t win over many hearts, and it certainly won’t get a call on the calendar. Read up on the investor, understand what they’re interested in, what they’ve previously invested in, and mention why you’re interested in having a chat.
Make it easy
As a founder, you know exactly what your motives and objectives are, but investors may not “speak your language.” Ask yourself, “what would an investor want to know about my company?”. Give them the highlights, why a partnership makes sense given both parties’ history and goals, and how they’d be a good fit.
Provide a self-service option
Investors, like most professionals with something of value, are busy people. Don’t send over two lines about your company and ask if they’re free for a call to discuss further. Give a concise overview, with supplementary documentation for them to review, and suggest a call after they’ve demonstrated early interest.
Ramp & Pulley’s advice for fundraising
In a recent office hours event we co-hosted with cap table management platform Pulley, seasoned entrepreneurs and Y Combinator alumni Karim Atiyeh (Ramp co-founder and CTO) and Yin Wu (Pulley founder) offered their top advice for founders looking to raise a seed round.
When it comes to investing, rules are: there are no rules
It can be easy to acquiesce to demands from exciting investors offering large checks. That doesn’t mean you should have to change your plans in order to secure a particular investor. If they’re interested, they will find a way to make the investment work.
The investor community is small and communicative
While it may seem massive and impenetrable to you, the investor community is actually relatively small and well-connected. Many investors know each other and will confer with one another regarding your company. Keep your fundraising window short & speak to everyone at the same time.
Your team, product, and vision matter—but so does the hype you create. Investors are interested in getting in on deals with momentum, so do what you can to maximize it in your early rounds. If you’re planning on raising $1M, tell investors you’re raising $750K. It’s ok to plan for your round to be oversubscribed.
“After years of investing in early-stage startups – first at AngelList, second at Shrug Capital as Partner, and third as an active angel investor and GP of my own venture capital fund – starting with the best list of investors, their theses, and their preferred stage of investment is the only way to kick off a fundraise.”
Growth Innovation Lead, Ramp