1. Introduce Yourself to the Venture Capitalist
2. Show Your Start-Up's Potential
3. Take Advantage of Networking Opportunities
4. Informal Startup Activities
5. When a Venture Capitalist Contacts You
6. What to Leave Out of Your Pitch to a Venture Capitalist

Wondering how to contact venture capitalists? To do so, you must prepare an investment deck and send it either over the internet or by traditional mail to the venture capitalists. This is done without having had any prior contact with them. When evaluating the investment potential of your application, the venture capitalist initially uses two main pieces of information. Part of this information is found in your email message or letter and part is found in your investment deck.

Both your introductory message and your investment deck must be well prepared to give you a better chance of scoring a meeting with the venture capitalist. The competition is heavy for startups trying to appeal to a venture capitalist, which increases the importance of having a thorough set of information in the investment deck.

Introduce Yourself to the Venture Capitalist

Your introductory letter or email should:

  • Be personally addressed to the venture capitalist you've chosen to approach
  • Be concise
  • Be clear
  • Request just a follow-up meeting
  • Explain why you chose the venture capitalist
  • Should be based on information from the venture capitalist's portfolio to show why your startup is a good fit for what they do

Show Your Start-Up's Potential

Your investment deck shows the potential of your startup, and it should be focused on quality over quantity. Avoid expressions that are vague, such as "our product will revolutionize the market." Be more precise by mentioning that your product will provide specific benefits for customers in a particular market segment. Also, show how it will reduce the venture capitalist's costs. The more precise the information you can put in your investment deck is, the higher your chances will be of getting a follow-up meeting with the venture capitalist.

Take Advantage of Networking Opportunities

The best venture capitalists participate in world-class networks. They use their networks to help the companies in their investment portfolios grow more quickly. Venture capitalists thrive because of their networks. So, giving someone who's in the network of the venture capitalists that you want to attract to show them your investment deck, will help you get their attention. That gives you a better chance of getting to speak to the venture capitalist in person.

Informal Startup Activities

While making a connection through the venture capitalist's network has the biggest impact, another approach that works sometimes is meeting them at an informal startup activity. The casual settings of these activities give you the chance to share your ideas with the venture capitalists. It lets you get to know them and lets them get to know you and your team a little bit better. Sometimes, if the venture capitalists at these informal gatherings think your pitch has appeal, they request a follow-up meeting with you.

When a Venture Capitalist Contacts You

Owners of startups typically have to reach out to venture capitalists, but there are times when venture capitalists go searching for companies. They do this because they understand that there are some companies that are doing well, but they're not busy fundraising because they're busy working on their business.

These venture capitalists, after examining the market, might speak at events that are likely to have the chosen promising business owners present. As the owner of a startup, if you get invited to one of these meetings from a venture capitalist, that confirms that you're doing a good job with your startup.

What to Leave Out of Your Pitch to a Venture Capitalist

The majority of cold contact emails sent to venture capitalists are deleted by the recipient after reading a couple of lines. If it's a poorly arranged email, it might be deleted after just a glance. These emails are deleted because:

  • The content is badly written.
  • The content is poorly formatted.
  • The reader feels that the person sending it to them was being inconsiderate of their time by not getting to the point and sharing relevant information. That leaves the venture capitalist unable to imagine going into business with the sender.

Some things you can do to keep your message out of the venture capitalist's deleted folder include:

  • Keeping your message short.
  • Expressing your pitch in one to two paragraphs.
  • Avoiding large blocks of text.
  • Skipping cheesy cliches and playful verbiage.

If you need help with finding out how to contact venture capitalists, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.