• Mike Rogers

How NOT to contact a VC by email

I received this email recently from someone looking to raise money:

Subject: Detecting motion with WiFi, Pilots, funding.

Dear Mike,

We turn every WiFi Router into a motion sensor for home security and automation thanks to our CES Award-winning patented technology, with no hardware modifications required.

We made several pilots with WiFi Chipset Makers, WiFi Routers Manufacturers and Fixed Broadband Providers such as Microchip, Marvell, Netgear, Arris, Comcast and we are close to licensing agreements. We have raised $1M before and now we need to beef up the team to fulfill our customers’ orders and to scale to more leads.

I am sending a link to our pitch deck for your consideration.

I live in Los Altos Hills, so we can have easily a face-to-face meeting.

Let’s go through the points one by one to see what’s wrong with this and what we could do to improve the likelihood of getting a response:

  1. Subject – This sounds like a phishing email and I’m likely to send it to the junk file. It would be better if the writer was clearer about the purpose of the email.

  2. Who are you? The writer starts right in describing her solution. I have no idea why she thought I’d be interested. A better way would be to start with a mutual connection, maybe she knows someone I know who told her to contact me.

  3. Why would I care? The writer doesn’t mention why she reached out to me. Is it in a sector I’d invest in? No. The writer hasn’t shown me that she’s done any homework on the areas I might invest in or any of my previous investments. Without showing me that she’s done some research, it seems that she simply has a name and is blindly sending emails. If she doesn’t put in the time or effort, why am I expected to?

  4. Traction – the writer does a good job of mentioning the pilots they’re doing and that they’re close to licensing agreements. But I don’t know if they have any revenue at all.

  5. Funds – So they’ve raised $1 million before but how much are they raising now? Is it a seed round or Series A? Who were the previous investors and will they be participating in this round? I know how they plan to spend the money but I have no context for it to determine if it is relevant.

  6. Pitch Deck – She did provide a link to an online pitch deck. That’s good. The pitch deck could use a bit of fine-tuning, but providing the deck is a great way to help the potential investor get a sense of the company and the opportunity.

  7. Clear Ask – There is no clear ask to close the email. I know where she lives but that’s about it. She hasn’t told me what she wants from me. She implies that a meeting is the next step, but a stronger email would be to directly ask for a meeting and suggest some times.

This might be how the email could be written to generate a better result:

Subject: Name of your company, or Name + details of the raise (“Initech — Series A — Raising $4M”)

Dear Mike,

I see that we’re both connected to Rick Hunter and wanted to reach out. I told him I’d be reaching out to you, and he thought it would be a good connection.

Your firm has invested in some pretty amazing companies in the home security sector and I believe my company could be of interest to you because of our CES Award-winning patented technology that turns every WiFi Router into a motion sensor for home security and automation, with no hardware modifications required.

  • We have had several pilots with WiFi Chipset Makers, WiFi Routers Manufacturers and Fixed Broadband Providers such as Microchip, Marvell, Netgear, Arris, Comcast

  • We are very close to closing our first licensing agreements and the funds will be used to fulfill these customers’ orders.

  • We raised $1M in a Seed round in [June 2017]

  • We are a 15 person firm based in Silicon Valley and now we need to beef up the team.

Here is a link to our pitch deck for your consideration.

Please let me know if this interests you as an investment and I’d be happy to connect however you prefer.

I didn’t add much more information but simply be reordering and rephrasing it, the email is much more likely to generate a response and it’s a lot easier for me, as the potential investor, to understand what she’s looking for and what I’m to do if I’m interested.

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