When you don’t speak the language of startup funding, it can be a little intimidating to reach out to investors and ask for capital. You know they will have questions, but what if you don’t know the answer?
It depends on the question and the situation, but in general it is ok to say, “I will get back to you on that question.” As long as you actually get back to them with an answer. Now if you say that to every question or to basic questions you should know the answer to, that might be an issue.
TIP: Investors pay attention to how long it takes you to respond to their questions. Do you respond in a few hours or a few weeks, because it matters.
Tips to Cold Emailing an Investor
Subject Lines are Crucial
If you don’t have a catchy subject line, your email won’t get opened. So really put some time in researching what works with email subject lines. There are free tools available to help generate subject likes, I prefer this one with Active Campaign > Email Subject Line Generator
Humor is Preferred
Believe it or not, investors are people just like you and me. They enjoy a good laugh to break up their daily tasks. When you make someone laugh, it makes them feel as if you are friends meaning they are more receptive to helping you.
Do your research first on what that particular investor is into on a personal level and then try one of these tactics:
1. Witty Wordplay
Here’s an example from Barkbox:
2. Visual Humor
93% of consumers consider visual appearance a key deciding factor in a buying decision. It needs to be relevant to your startup and not just any funny meme that is trending.
Here is a good example if you were starting a company that fixed the frustration many of us find when it comes to unsubscribing to spam emails.
3. Stereotypical Humor
This could range from dad-jokes to really bad jokes – you know the ones that are so bad you have to laugh.
Let’s say you are a book publishing company, maybe you write something like:
“I'm reading a book about antigravity. I can't put it down.”
Please tell me you giggled.
Peter Wang, CTO of Anaconda: "Investors coming in to help put more gas in your gas tank want to understand what road you're on and how far you want to go. If you can't communicate to investors on a basis that they understand about your business model and revenue model, then you have no business asking them for their money. Don't get mad at them!"
By nature, entrepreneurs are optimistic—we tend to underestimate the difficulty of starting a business. A business is more than a stream of revenue. You need to think about how you segment the market, how to interact with customers, what are your sales channels, what are your key activities, what is your value proposition, what are your expenses, partnerships, and key resources. Have all this laid out before reaching out to investors.