We think that it is probably in the best interests of the founder to try and reach a potential investor through LinkedIn – and if you find a few mutual connections between yourself and the investor – then the case builds itself.
Additionally, LinkedIn offers numerous advantages over cold calling or sending emails. For one, Linkedin is more personal and quickly offers a lot of information. Here are two most important ways LinkedIn helps your investor get a grip over you and your idea –
- Your potential investor can browse through your profile to get a good sense of your professional background and relevance to the startup you are working for.
- Check for mutual connections to do a quick reference check
Therefore, today we shall share some tips and tricks for you to strategically plan your approach on LinkedIn as you reach out to a potential investor –
1. Do some research on the VC firm you are trying to reach and figure out the most appropriate person to reach out to based on their profile. Most investor profiles list areas of investment interest (e.g. internet, mobile, education, etc.)
2. Reach out only to one or at most two people at that firm who are appropriate for your particular startup. It does not help if you ping everyone in the VC firm. Yes, this does happen often, and if anything, it’s counterproductive. What happens is one of the investing team members who receive this will forward it to the other team member who is more suitable to look at your company (based on interest areas), and if they realize you pinged all the members indiscriminately, it shows that you have not done any research on which of the investors would be better suited for your startup.
3. If you have a mutual connection with the investor, see if you can get an introduction through the mutual connection (especially if this person knows the investor well and is willing to refer you)
4. Avoid requesting to “add as connections” directly. Try sending a message via InMail or through mutual connections. Many investors are particular about who they add as connections, and so if you directly try adding them, they might “ignore” your request.
5. See if the VC is part of any group that indicates a mutual interest area and use that group to reach out to him/her.
6. Keep the LinkedIn message short, giving a 3–4 sentence summary of your team’s background and what you are trying to do. Ask the VC if you could get 15 mins over the phone to give more background and see if there is mutual interest. Avoid very long messages.