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Broadening the On-ramp for Women-run Companies

How to Get a VC to Answer a Meeting Request

I, like many startup investors, receive several meeting requests a day from companies looking for angel funding. As Iwas going through my inbox today, I started thinking about what separates the best meeting requests from the rest of the pack.

When deciding to answer an email from an entrepreneur, I ask myself these questions:

  • Did they email me cold or come through a referral? I always prioritize warm intros. I’m a pretty public and well-connected person, so it is relatively easy to find a warm intro to me. Finding a warm intro shows an entrepreneur’s tenacity and resourcefulness.
  • Who is the referral source? I consider the track record of the referral source and will be much more likely to respond to referrals from investors who only refer companies they’ve invested in, people I know well, and/or people who have been particular supportive to me in the past.
  • Did the entrepreneur do their homework on me? I’m much more likely to meet with an entrepreneur who has taken the time to research my investment criteria and the things I care about.
  • Am I interested in what the company does? Did they clearly communicate the company’s 30-second elevator pitch? Is it something I am interested in?
  • What is their traction? Have they proven their market validity through revenue, strategic partnerships, purchase orders, etc.?
  • Do I see potential in the team? Do they have a track record and/or industry experience? If not, are they scrappy and extraordinarily creative?
  • Who else is involved? Have they convinced other smart investors, accelerators or advisors to invest time or money in their company?
  • Can I answer these questions from a quick read of their email? Including this information in an easy-to-read short blurb shows respect for my time and experience in working with VCs and angel investors.
  • Did they include possible dates and times, so I can set the meeting with one email response? The less back and forth, the better.

For more suggestions and a sample email, check out my previous post, How to Ask for a VC Intro.

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