I am asked to make an introduction to people in my network several times per day, but unfortunately, I can’t say yes to most of these requests. I thought it might be helpful to share why. Here it goes:
My intros are a reflection on me. Because of this, I typically only make intros when I have spent a significant amount of time with the person requesting the intro and/or would be willing to make an investment in their company myself.
I have to limit the number of intros I make to avoid network fatigue. Therefore, I have to prioritize intros to companies I have or will be investing in.
I want to show respect for people’s time. I only want to forward relevant and easy-to-respond to email introductions. See my post on how to craft one of these here.
I receive hundreds of emails per day, so I am much more likely to make the intro if the email is easily forwardable.
This last one is especially important. I, like many VCs and active angel investors, am constantly battling a full inbox. I have a hard time keeping up with requests that I can’t answer from my phone in the few minutes I have between meetings.
I don’t think I am unique in this. Here are a few tips for crafting an email request for an intro:
Subject Line: Craft it so it doesn’t have to be changed.
Intro: Write an intro from the introducer to the person they will be sending it to so it can easily be forwarded along.
Body: Follow the tips in the previously mentioned blog post to increase your chance for success and to show that the introducer has respect for their contacts’ time.
Don’t expect direct intros: Ask the introducer to see if their contact is open to an intro. Don't assume they will make a direct intro.
Think about whether you have or should offer the same opportunity to the person introducing you. Sometimes companies I would be interested in investing in ask me to make an intro to another investor before they offer me the opportunity to invest. It doesn’t feel great, so watch out for that.
And here’s a sample email. Hope this helps.
Subject: Bill Smith open to an intro to MergeLane? - VC fund focused on authentic leaders
We’re so glad that you’ll be joining us as a MergeLane investor. You will be a great addition to our network and we look forward to investing in some extraordinary entrepreneurs with you. I recently came across Bill Smith’s profile it seems like he might be interested in investing as well. Would you be willing to see if he is open to an introduction?
Below is a note from me that you can pass on for context. Thank you so much for your support – Elizabeth
My name is Elizabeth Kraus. I am a general partner at MergeLane, an early-stage VC fund accelerator for high-growth women-led startups. We invest in high-poitential startups led by authentic leaders and with at least one woman in leadership. Our inaugural class started in February and we’ve been more than pleased with the companies we’ve accepted and the overwhelming support we’ve seen from our startup community. Some of our investors and mentors include people like Kat Cole, the former President of Cinnabon, Jane Miller, a former President at Heinz, and all of the Foundry Group venture capital firm partners.
We are looking for a few additional high-value investors to add to our network and I came across your profile on AngelList. It looks like you have an interest in women-led companies, and we currently have three consumer internet-related companies in our cohort (Sugarwish, Havenly, TomboyX).
Would you be open to a quick phone call? I am available between noon and 3pm PST every day this week. Just let me know if you’d like to connect and which number I should reach you on.
Looking forward to connecting,
In this latest Fund81 podcast episode, I share my 2020 plans for the Fund81 forum and podcast, and a few reflections from my short bout of holiday depression.
I’ve now read over a thousand startup investor updates. The most effective updates — the ones that immediately grab my attention and heighten my interest — have similar characteristics. My advice is below, along with a comprehensive template for startup investor updates.
At MergeLane, we’ve been thinking about how changing market conditions may affect our fund in the future. I know many of our listeners are asking themselves that question as well. Our guest, Liza Benson, thrived as a VC through both the dot-com crash in 2000 and the 2008 financial crisis.
Beezer Clarkson invests in early-stage venture funds at Sapphire Partners (the division within Sapphire Ventures that invests in venture funds). In this episode, Beezer shares her perspective on venture capital trends, VC firm differentiation, and nonobvious mistakes for VC fund managers to avoid.
As an entrepreneur and startup investor, I have had many moments of feeling like I am pushing water uphill with a rake. Sometimes, I have kept pushing and have succeeded out of sheer grit. Sometimes, it was time to admit defeat. Two years ago, I had one of those moments.
Elizabeth Yin, co-founder and general partner at the Hustle Fund, shared her thoughts on how to assess a startup’s ability to “hustle”. Her thoughts are applicable to venture capitalists, startups and anyone who wants to work with hustlers.
Nearly every email I receive starts with “Sorry for the delay.” Our always-on culture has set an unwritten expectation that an email should be responded to within 24 hours. To prevent the perpetuation of this cultural expectation, I would like to make my thoughts clear.
We asked our Fund81 forum for venture capitalists to nominate portfolio companies to participate in a startup showcase. We received over 50 nominations. Four of those startups are featured in this episode.
Jocelyn Goldfein from Zetta Venture Partners joined the Fund81 podcast to share her approach to investing in artificial intelligence (AI). With the cost of creating software continuing to decline, Zetta believes the companies of the future will need to build more than just great software to thrive.
I love being active, but I also have high professional aspirations. I’ve spent the last 16 years trying to find a productive balance between the two. In this episode, Nicole DeBoom, pro triathlete turned CEO of Skirt Sports, and I share our thoughts on how to fit fitness into a startup schedule.