How can I receive emails from startups

Money by email - this is how founders convince investors

Sure, recommendations and personal contacts are worth their weight in gold. But capital searches can also work via e-mail - as long as founders observe a few important rules.

Investors receive thousands of emails a year and it will be obvious to every young entrepreneur that VCs, business angels & Co. simply don't have the time to read through every message and answer. But how does a startup founder manage to attract an investor's attention?

Less is more

In any case, when contacting us by email, the following applies: "less is more". No investor is interested in reading long texts. Especially not from people who are completely unknown. In just a few sentences - you say between 3 and 6 - the founder should be able to get to the heart of his concern.

The early stage investor Michael Seibel, from the famous startup forge Y Combinator, explains in the in-house blog what the ideal email looks like:

  • The very first sentence should arouse interest. So please do not write an unnecessarily long introduction about who you are, where you come from and what great things you have already achieved in life.
  • It should only be about your own product or service. What is the market potential for this and what kind of growth opportunities are there?
  • In addition, the actual concern must be made clear so that the investor knows why he was contacted in the first place. Is it perhaps just looking for advice? Or is it about a specific financing request, and if so, how much?

Numbers, facts and bullet points

It is understandable when young and ambitious entrepreneurs want to put their own company in the best light and like to decorate the founding successes with flowers. When you first approach investors, the only thing that matters is facts and figures - as they are. 200% growth sounds good, but from how many real users? 10? 200? 3,000? Unfortunately, there is no point in trying to gloss over something in an email. Investors notice it.

Andrew Ackerman, Managing Director of the successful American Dreamit Accelerator, puts it this way: "Don't bullshit", which means in a friendly way: "Don't piss us off".

He also asks to refrain from overly detailed appendices. Instead of sending an entire pitch deck of 10 to 20 pages, a one-page summary of the most important key data is sufficient for an initial contact.

By the way: If you really want to include some additional information in the e-mail, you can do so in precisely expressed and clear bullet points. But please make sure that the content is kept short and concise - as described above.

Who is the right investor?

It takes a little research and preparatory work to find out which investors a founder can write to. There is no point in pulling lists from the Internet and simply writing to everyone blindly. Mass mailings are not well received at all, an e-mail should be addressed personally. And: the investor has to be a good fit for their own startup and the relevant industry. This increases the chance of an answer.

As in the case of Aaron Levie, CEO of the cloud provider Box, a company that now has 1,400 employees in Silicon Valley. Levie wrote to well-known investor Mark Cuban and did everything right. Cuban, himself the owner of a popular tech blog, was interested in the topic and the startup and wrote a check - without them having met personally beforehand.

Summary and other tips

  • Less is more! The email should consist of a few sentences and get to the point in a factual manner.
  • The concern of the message must be made clear, at the latest at the end of the e-mail. For example: "Startup XY is looking for early stage funding".
  • Truthful data and facts about the product and the market situation are more convincing than personal résumés or epic founder price lists. The investor wants to see that his money can be invested profitably.
  • If an appendix, then a so-called "Executive Summary". The more detailed pitch deck is only used when the initial contact is successful.
  • And: Please do not ask too briskly after a phone call or meeting, the investor will suggest this if you are interested.

Further dos and don'ts when looking for investors can be found here.

Any questions?

You can reach us from Monday to Friday, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. at 0228 95750-122. Our telephone service for you: Competent. Understandable. Personally. And of course free of charge.

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