I emailed more than 350+ investors for my startup when it was in development stage. I was naïve. I didn't have many connections then who could put introductions for me.
To my surprise, I heard back from every investor I emailed, except for a few exceptions. (*Cough* Fred Wilson *Cough*)
I got really inspired by the post of Brian Chesky, CEO of Airbnb. He writes about how he got rejected by 7 investors. Well, I got rejected from more!
I kept an excel sheet to keep a record of all the people I've reached out to and how many of them has said no to me.
It is a really long list. If you want it, email me and I'd be happy to share.
It is not a rocket science to get the emails of the investors. It is usually available on their website and if it is not, it is usually their first name. :P
Coming back to the topic of this blog, investors are the most polite people you'll ever meet. They don't want to crush your enthusiasm for your startup. But don't mistake their politeness for their weakness. They're one of the most keen individuals you'll know. All they want to do is wake up next morning richer than day before. If they see you could help them with that goal, you're on their dating list, otherwise your infatuation for them is never gonna help.
There are 3 kind of investors you'll find in your journey of startup funding:
1. Productivity Nerds.
I'm sure these guys sermons to their associates on how to better manage email, how to skim through pitch decks, blah blah...
This is usually the 20% population. Hey! My sample size is pretty big. (350. Remember?) I could make such generalization.
2. Scripted Players.
These guys probably have scripts. To respect the entrepreneur, they change the startup name in the script and push an email full of interest but no match.
This is the majority of population, aka the average investor.
3. Free Consultants.
These investors feel really guilty when saying no. Or maybe they just want to differentiate themselves from the market. They'd give you advise that may or may not make any sense but hey, what can you do? Email them mentioning in post script: if they say no, don't follow that with an advise? How rude of you man.
This is a rare breed. I received two or three similar emails at tops out of 350.
So which is a better way to say No? I don't know. And I don't care. Why should I care about rejections anyway? I keep my head high and look ahead. :)