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November 10, 2023
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4
 min read

Writing Cold Emails for Fundraising

The best cold emails are to the point, personalized, contain a brief insight, and end with a clear call to action.

Writing Cold Emails for Fundraising

The best cold emails are to the point, personalized, contain a brief insight, and end with a clear call to action. We recommend developing a template and tweaking it each time (in one or two places) to personalize the message. Try to bucket investors based on common characteristics so you don’t have to change the copy as frequently; not by geography (venture capital firms in Miami), but by expertise, thesis, and background. This is where Flowlie's investor database can come in handy, as it allows you to sort investors by a variety of characteristics, and to access robust profiles on each investor's thesis, preferences, and expertise.

I’ve included some examples below of subject lines that have worked well for me and an example of a cadence I might run for cold investor outbound. Just a few more things to keep in mind first:

  • Cold VC submissions (e.g. through a form-fill on a VC website) require a separate discussion entirely, as there is some nuance as to when it's worth it. This topic is covered in this blog post on our partner, Startup Warrior, website.
  • Keep your writing professional but informal - try to write as if you’re speaking to someone on the phone. Overly polished and edited emails tend to sound robotic and/or like you’re trying to sell something instead of being quietly confident.
  • That said, show them you’ve done your research and aren’t wasting their time because it’s genuinely worth their attention. It has to be obvious what you’re asking and why it’s a fit.
  • Don’t send the same investor multiple emails in the same week. It’s very possible they’re traveling or stuck in back to back meetings. Adding to their inbox won’t help things but it is appropriate to follow up again a week or more later.
  • Only email with updated information, never just asking for an update. My favorites are traction updates and unique insights to demonstrate expertise. If going with the latter, highlight the main finding and how it connects to your opportunity. If you can surface an interesting or relevant insight, even if not directly related to your business, you’ll stand out. If it’s a generic insight, less so.
  • You want to convey your expertise and unique insight into the space and where the industry is headed, placing your solution within that context.
  • We highly recommend implementing a startup fundraising CRM so you can test different subject lines and cadences while comparing open and booking rates.

Example Subject Lines:

  • Referred by Phil [Company Name] --> even if they’re not making an intro, saying another investor in their network suggested you reach out adds credibility
  • [University Name] alum raising SaaS seed round
  • A fellow [Industry / Vertical] nerd

I also like subject lines that ask a difficult question related to the space you’re in, and those that include an insight or recent stat.

Example Email Cadence

Email 1

Hey Investor,

Phil recommended we speak - always great meeting a fellow UNIVERSITY NAME alum!

I’m a CREDIBILITY-BUILDING STATEMENT [2x founder with a decade of B2B sales expertise and recently founded Mantra], a ONE-LINER ABOUT YOUR COMPANY [digital distribution platform for talk therapy that helps therapists drive 3x more revenue].

TRACTION HIGHLIGHT [We’ve grown users 5x and revenue 10x since January] and are raising a seed round to ROUND GOAL [transition from founder-led sales and grow revenues from $250k to $1.5M by December].

Given our overlapping interest in this space, it’s worth trading notes and seeing if Mantra is a fit for FIRM NAME. Open to a 15 min call Thursday or Friday? (calendly linked here if helpful).

Cheers,

Mark

Email 2: 5-7 business days later

Hi Investor,

Check out this report that was just released on INSIGHT ON THE SPACE. This is a massive tailwind as we expect TARGET MARKET INSIGHT [talk therapy provider’s margins to continue to get squeezed leading them to look for new solutions (50% already are!)].

Is this a better time to jump on a call? Let me know if next Tuesday or Wednesday morning works for you.

Mark

Email 3: 3-5 business days after Email 2

Reply to the last email but edit the subject line and include a subject such as [Update: added $50k ARR, seed closing]

Hey Investor,

Quick update: since I first reached out we’ve TRACTION & ROUND UPDATE [added $50k in ARR from larger players in the space. We’re moving up-market quicker than expected and will be wrapping up the seed round in the next few weeks so we can focus on executing].

I’m convinced a conversation would be insightful for both sides - how about next Monday or Thursday from 8 am - 11 am? In the meantime, here’s SOCIAL PROOF [our latest case study].

All the best,

Mark

Writing Cold Emails for Fundraising

Mark is a repeat founder, ex-VC investor, and experienced go-to-market and revenue leader.

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