Fundraising is a team sport. This makes it even more important that you work with the right lead investor. Together, you can effectively build a dream team of investors.
Here’s an inside look at how to set up meetings with clear actionable emails, just as we did at Loopd when we set out to do some serious fundraising.
Step 1: Perform Due Diligence
You should take “smart money” rather than “dumb money.” Essentially, only take money from investors who can help your business in other ways besides money. Do your due diligence on every investor. Make sure you’re only bringing on people who advocate for your vision and can help you execute on your goal.
You should first seek out a lead investor. Next, your goal is to build a team of five to seven investors who can help you with different aspects of your company. For example, I looked for investors who had skills in sales, manufacturing, analytics, marketing, design, hardware and legal. Money is valuable, but an experienced investor’s knowledge is priceless.
Also, keep in mind that each investor will look at your background. The formal research process will be shorter with a super angel than it would be with a venture capital firm. I would recommend going with super angels in your first round because going through due diligence with a venture capital firm or angel group will act as a time sink.
Step 2: Get An Introduction
Now that your due diligence is complete, you’ll want to get an introduction to each investor from your lead investor. Provide your lead investor with an email template and have them copy you on the email. Having your lead investor send the first introduction will act as validation.
Here is a template that I used:
I met with ____ and his team last week. I would like you to join the round with me. I know that you will be a great addition. He is aiming to close by August 31st. Attached is an updated overview of his company.
Imagine how many emails an investor must get every day. You need to stand out from the rest. The introduction should be simple and focused. At the end of the day, your team’s execution drives your product and market analysis, and you will want your lead to present you as a rock star.
Step 3: Use an Email Structure
Once you’ve received a response, you’ll want to reply to the email with specific content to move the process along. Now that you have a foot in the door, you must take advantage of this leverage.
Your email reply should be short, to the point and have a clear call to action. Ask the investor to meet in person and provide a few times and locations.
Here is my own example:
Thanks [Lead Investor] for the introduction. I am confident that you can help our company grow in the right direction. We’re raising [round size] on a note. Here is our term sheet. Let me know if you have any questions. Are you free anytime next week from Monday, April 6th, to Wednesday, April 8th, to meet in person?
If the investor is not in your area, then drive or fly to make it convenient for them. Don’t attach a pitch deck or a one-pager to the email. This will just provide more ammunition for the investor to turn you down.
Save your material so that you can personally explain each detail from your perspective. For instance, at Loopd, I had several situations where investors declined an offer to meet because I had sent them attachments with an undirected storyline. The investor should become attached to your vision, and it’s important that you don’t create any opportunities for them to shut you down before you reach this point.
You now have the ammunition and direction to identify your final roster of investors to meet in person. While these three steps may seem straightforward, it’s important that you follow them carefully.
You should stand out from the pack, explain your vision in the right environment and create a true connection with the investor before moving forward. Focus on crafting the ideal roster with precision and clarity. Take your time to build the right team and create a foundation that will fuel your company into becoming an industry leader.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Brian Friedman currently runs Loopd, where he focuses on branding, marketing, business development, UI/UX design, product design, mechanical engineering, and manufacturing. A version of this post originally appeared on the author’s Medium, here. Connect with @bfried9131 on Twitter.
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