Focusing On Your Availability = Your #NetworkingFail

I’ve received a number of emails recently from startup founders that go something along the lines of this:

Kelly –

I hope this finds you well.

My startup does A and we think you’d be the perfect investor. I’ve attached our deck. I’d like to schedule a time to talk. I have availability on Tuesday November X, Wednesday November Y, and Friday November Z.

If these days do not work for you, please let me know when you are available.

Looking forward to speaking with you.

Sincerely,

Startup Founder

I have one question for startup founders:

WHERE on earth are you getting this networking advice?

Don’t answer that question. I actually don’t care to know but I do want say this: wherever this advice is from, my guidance on this outreach tactic to investors is Stop it! And stop it now!

Investors aren’t sitting by their smartphone or computer, waiting for investments to land in their lap(tops). Investors seek big, disruptive ideas, they don’t wait for them (one fund I know sought out and reviewed 550 companies in the past 8 months) — and here’s the important point for the “3X I’m available to meet emailers”: early stage investors meet with, meet again, spend some time…with founders they know and want to get to know better (or have been referred by someone they trust) long before they entertain the notion of writing a check. Investing in early-stage companies is (as I’ve said many many times) is about investing in the person (as much as the idea). A first introduction which comes with a deck, and the sole purpose of seeking money, is not the way to start a relationship.

As for the sender of the latest email I received, in addition to a tweet of my annoyance, this post on Medium, there was a polite but firm response that I’m not investing nor taking on advisory roles with startups (so really not sure what help I could be). We’ll see if the founder bothers to reply to me.

And the final annoying note on this? If the founder had bothered to spend a little time looking at my LinkedIn profile (or read any of the newsletters I’ve sent out in the past year), the founder would have seen this note:

AND Save your startup investment pitch! While I still invest in early-stage companies, I’m not angel investing (instead, I’m an LP in Laconia Capital Group and Lattice Ventures).

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