Editor’s note: Derek Andersen is the founder of Startup Grind, a 12-city event series growing around the world to help educate, inspire, and connect entrepreneurs. He’s also ex-Electronic Arts, the founder of Commonred and Vaporware Labs.
A recent email from an entrepreneur and complete stranger read: “We need to raise money. Who can you introduce us to?” I quickly encouraged him to submit his startup to AngelList but a few days later he returned with, “I messaged the AngelList founder and he didn’t respond. Can you give me some tips?” This post is for you buddy.
Approaching a well known Silicon Valley angel investor cold with the expectation that they’ll fund you, is like walking up to a beautiful stranger and expecting you’ll be planning a wedding by the end of the conversation. For the masses, if you want top tier funding, there is a process or roadmap in most cases you can follow (ignore the geniuses and exceptions). Attempting to bypass it shows a lack of consideration and basic intelligence of how the funding process works.
Why Is There Protocol?
Well known angel investors and VCs are inundated with inbound requests for meetings and funding. A few months ago I interviewed Jeff Clavier of SoftTech VC, one of the top investment brands in Silicon Valley, and who one of his entrepreneurs recently told me was “simply an awesome investor.” Jeff explained that SoftTech VC receives between 2,000-3,000 inbound email requests for meetings every year. If they took a 30 minute phone call with each team, they would be stuck with 90,000 minutes worth of meetings. Lets say they work 50-hour weeks, it would take them half the year to get through the first meetings. Trust me you don’t want to see the math on the due diligence that would be required.