Answer by Patrick Mathieson, VC at Toba Capital, on Quora,

Yes. At least at our firm. We read all of our inbound e-mail and regularly follow up for phone calls with the most interesting opportunities.

If you have a particular venture firm in mind, you're still way better off getting an introduction to a partner. But a cold e-mail is better than doing nothing.

As for tips...

  • Be brief.
  • Check spelling & punctuation.
  • Avoid over-using business jargon. By the time you've told me about your quest to provide "predictive analytics for big data", I've already deleted your e-mail.
  • Providing revenue projections beyond next year makes you look like a charlatan.
  • Attach your deck.
  • Make sure you're e-mailing a firm that actually invests in your space. We get solicitations for medical device startups sometimes, which is pointless on their part.
  • Avoid looking like you're firing off a form e-mail to 500 VCs. That doesn't mean you have to write a super long screed from scratch every time... just include a sentence or two that indicates you actually know something about your audience.


Answer by Jason-M.-Lemkin, Managing Director @ Storm Ventures. Co-founder/CEO at EchoSign (acq'd by Adobe), NanoGram Devices, on Quora,

It does--if the email "pitch" is perfect.

It has to be the full package, because you're lacking the social proof of a warm intro. And there are just so, so, so many start-ups. S0 many 1000s of them.

Follow Patrick Mathieson's list and make sure:

  • The metrics are just super solid.
  • The value prop is 100% clear.
  • You'd want to invest simply based on the email, no questions asked, no pitch or demo required.
  • It's perfectly tailored to the VC, so it looks like you have a very strong reason to want that VC in the deal.

Then, don't expect a follow-up or response. Don't go nuts with 70 follow-up emails.

But if the email pitch is perfect, and it's an early-stage firm, you may get a response.

I've invested this way. Twice. And these two investments are on track to hit $20m in ARR next year, up from basically $0.

But--no VC has time to "meet for coffee" or "talk about your idea." The email pitch has to stand alone, and just be perfect.

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Published on: Dec 18, 2014