I interviewed 100+ founders about fundraising — what I learned about cold outreach

Over the past 5 months, I interviewed 100+ founders from the US, Europe, India, and Africa (mostly from the US). I learned quite a lot about post-covid fundraising strategies, but I was shocked to learn that some of the founders got founded through emails alone.

There's a myth that you need to have a huge network to raise money from VCs. In reality, investors are open to cold pitches. You just need to do it right.

Here's a TL;DR of my step-by-step guide.

Basic rules

  • Reach out to the right investors only. Emailing investors who aren't interested in your industry/business model or don't invest at your stage is a huge time waste.
  • Keep your emails short, 60 seconds or less to read. You won't get a meeting if your email is too long to read it.
  • Tailor your emails to each investor. Investors are immune to copy-paste emails.

Writing the email

Email structure

Step 1: Write a catchy subject line.

Subject line
It should be short, simple, and intriguing. While there's no silver bullet, I like to use this formula: {company name}{big vision}.

Step 2: Include the WHY in the opener line

Opening line
Explain to the investor why do you think he/she/they is a good fit for you.

Explanations that work best:

  • The investor is interested in your industry (e.g., FinTech).
  • The investor invests in your business model (e.g., SaaS).
  • The investor has already invested in similar startups.

Step 3: Introduce your company to an investor with a short blurb

The goal of a blurb is to walk the investor through the core aspects of your business in 30 seconds or less.

Step 4: Ask for the meeting gently

How to ask an investor for a meeting:

  • Ask for 10-15 minutes, not 60.
  • Make it easy to book the meeting, use services like Calendly.
  • Offer emails as an alternative to the meeting.
  • Be very polite.

That's all you need to get a meeting with an investor through a cold email.

Should you include the deck? How to follow up? How to automate the outreach? If you have all these questions, check out the full version of the guide here.

Thanks for reading!

By the way, if you're fundraising, check out Shizune. It can find investors for you and get meetings with them by automating your warm and cold outreach. Sign up for a beta here.

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