do cold emails work?
how to do it right
Welcome to the new people on the list. As a refresher, I am Dragos from Project Arrow, where we guide founders with what to do and who to talk to in order to get funded.
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Cold emailing investors is a very frequent topic I get asked about by founders. Do they work? How should they go about it?
The short answer is yes, cold email could work. But like everything else, you gotta do it right.
Here’s what you should know:
1. Personalise the email
If you send the same thing, copy/paste, to all the investors - that is simply junk email and deservedly gets treated like that. The email needs to be adapted individually - every investor has areas of interest, spend time to find their sweet spot and commonality to your startup.
2. Contact the right people
Who do you send it to? You mapped your investors and produced a list of potential matches. Now you need to find the decision maker. Sometimes you want the analysts, sometimes the partners - you need to find out their email address, usually from the website/Linkedin. If you’re not sure, you can validate your guesses with tools like ZeroBounce.
3. Get it open
It doesn’t really matter how good you or your email is unless the email gets opened. A great subject title should do the trick and also make sure you have a personalised preview i.e. start email with something personal as your first line becomes the email preview. Don’t forget to have a photo profile either.
4. Get a reply
What’s in it for me? That’s what the other guy is thinking while opening your email - you should provide value upfront and a low friction next step in order to have them to bite. That’s what your email should sell! While the desired outcome is to get a meeting, a great email is usually a conversation starter for back-and-forth questions and answers in order to build rapport. It is a context for having investors assess value - you tease them and then feed on their intellectual interest (and greed!). Remember, you contacted a stranger who never heard of you, asking them upfront to schedule a call, for example, will have low chances of success unless a context of trust and/or familiarity exists.
To make it even more easy for you, here’s a short template:
1. Subject: 4-5 words describing your startup in a nutshell
- i.e. AI venture assistant
2. 2-3 max paragraphs, nicely formatted
- your name, title (should be CEO), company name
- reason to write: we are raising [stage] [round size] [valuation cap, if you have one]
- why contact that person: you invested in X, Y, Z or know you are interested in [your startup space]
- insert common connection, if you have one
- 2 sentences max about your startup - what it does and stage/traction.
- link to deck and product/demo video
3. Thank the investor and ask if they’re interested
That's it, now get to work and create that killer cold email. Keep it sweet and simple.
Need feedback on your cold email? Hit reply and I will have a look. Or better yet - join Project Arrow and you will get personalised advice on your startup work.
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