Entrepreneurs Following up with Investors
After introducing entrepreneurs to investors for over 12 years, the one thing I find that "kills the deal" most often is the follow-up...or lack thereof. Yup, most entrepreneurs fail on the follow-up. Now, VCs are notoriously bad at following up. They have this reputation for not getting back to the companies. That's both true and not so true... If a VC really LOVES your deal right off the bat, they will follow up; and they will follow up well and in a timely manner!
However, if you happen to meet an investor at a conference, you may not get that same attention. Consider that this investor sees hundreds of companies to make one investment. In reality, they are in the NO business. They say no all the time! They have to narrow down a ton of companies to get just that one to which they say YES.
I too often hear this story: "I e-mailed him but he never got back to me. So, oh, well, I guess he doesn't like me." Really? That's it?? You are asking for hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars and you sent one, whole e-mail? If that's the maximum amount of effort you are going to put into this, then you deserve a NO. Sorry to be blunt, but if that's the best you've got when it comes to persistence, the investor is better off not investing in you. I've got a friend, Chris, who says it best, "I send an e-mail every two weeks until I get a YES, a NO or a cease-and-desist letter from their lawyer." Now that's how you run a business - and that's how you raise capital!
Put together a list of people you are communicating with and Follow Up! Send regular e-mails to them. And, please, not those "why-don't-you-respond-to-me" e-mails. Send something exciting, something that will make them want to call you; something about a new deal you just inked, or a new client you just got, or a new milestone you just hit. Send some momentum! Let the investors know you are kicking ass... and on a regular basis! This is what gets the deal done.
Joe Rubin runs FundingPost.com, which organizes venture and angel events around the country, and ARC Angel Fund, a Seed VC Fund in NYC, investing in technology companies in the Northeast. Joe's portfolio includes companies such as Medivo, Human Demand, Senscient, UpNext, appMobi, Careerminds & iJukebox.
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