I’m getting ICO investment opportunities via LinkedIn and email almost every day from enthusiastic teams who are very bullish about their potential. This post is written mainly for them, or for you if you are thinking of approaching potential investors for your upcoming Token launch or ICO. And it’s specifically for when you reach out to investors with whom you have not engaged before. This is the first time you have ever spoken to them. If like me, you get a lot of people contacting you, feel free to share this post.
This isn’t an ego post. Lots of people are being approached within the Crypto world.
I’m sure some of these potential opportunities are good — but it’s impossible to tell when they’re not positioned properly. The next time I get approached I’ll direct them to this post in the hope they can improve how they communicate with other potential investors. 🚀
When it comes to pitching investors, there’s no difference between asking for capital for a company with a Token, and a company without a Token. Unless you’re hoping to attract pump ‘n dump banker-type investors — in which case I’m definitely not the right fit.
Rather than write a long general post on “how to engage with an investor for the first time”, I’ve given my #1 tip on how to handle the first point of contact.
In the context of this post, I’ll provide some insight to my background — I’ve raised multiple times for a few companies. MetaCert has $2.4m in two seed rounds from the Founders of companies like Travelocity, Kayak, Qik and 888.com as well as three Bay Area angel networks, two small VCs and more — across the US, Russia, Canada, UK, Ireland, Dubai and India. I’ve also been an Advisor to the Board of Europe’s biggest Angel Network. And I’ve invested myself. I’m no expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I’m not a newbie either.
I open sourced an unedited version of my last pitch deck that raised $1.2m in a second seed round. It has been used as a template in some 500Startup pitch decks — so please feel free to use whatever you feel is helpful.
How to engage with potential investors
If you have an upcoming Token launch or ICO, please find some common ground with your potential investors before you engage with them. I’m not referring to the global community of crypto investors. I’m talking about your pre-Token/ICO raise.
- Don’t send a generic email to everyone — it’s obvious and is likely to be deleted.
- Don’t be too confident. There’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance.
- Don’t assume that you’re entitled to investment. Nobody is entitled.
Please do the following
Do your homework. Why should a particular investor give you their hard-earned money?
What’s your connection with the investor? What if anything, do you have in common. If you’re using LinkedIn, you can find out this information with a few clicks.
Of all the people who have pitched me in recent weeks, not one person has taken the time to show that they’ve chosen me because of a specific reason. They haven’t taken the time to demonstrate that they did a little research. Zero. Token / ICO communications are the worst I’ve ever seen.
I’m a Founding CEO of a Security company in the Crypto world and given that security is a serious concern, it would be easy to quickly engage with me on this topic. It’s not necessary, but imagine if a company told me how much they appreciated one of our products — that would demonstrate that they took the time to do some research. Even if their feedback was negative, it would at least establish the fact that they did their homework before engaging with me. And in the context of an investment opportunity, their opinion about MetaCert isn’t that important. And they certainly don’t need to become a customer — even though every Token and ICO company is either a potential customer or strategic partner.
By demonstrating that you know how to engage with a potential investor, it also shows that you’re more likely to know how to engage with potential customers and strategic partners. How to formulate a go to market strategy. And not just a white paper that talks about blockchain, blockchain, blockchain…
In your message you should explain in a short paragraph, what the problem is, why your solution will win, why now, info on the team. The team being the single most important aspect for me.
What not to do
Here’s an example of how not to engage with a potential investor for the first time. This is a conversation I had this week on LinkedIn 🤔
I did not reach out to them. They sent me a connection request on LinkedIn. So that’s a weird way to start a cold conversation. Also, my immediate thought was “they think I only care about a 50% discount.” I don’t. I care about the longterm goals of the company and the value it brings to society. Perhaps they should target someone on Wall Street? There’s not other information in their request for investment?
I asked if they were on Slack to quickly nudge them — to see if they did any homework. It’s a quick test. And I got a response that had nothing to do with the question. Am I talking to a chatbot, I thought?!
I tried to steer them in the right direction. Obviously I had too much time on my hands. His response wasn’t ideal. He didn’t acknowledge my feedback at all. And then copied and pasted his original question.
I should have deleted the message but I clearly had too much time to spare. So I tried to provide a little feedback. And his only response was to post a link to a YouTube video.
So, don’t do this. Please. Time is one thing we can’t buy. Your time and my time is valuable. So please be respectful of people’s time and energy when asking for investment in your amazing new chocolate-coated tokenized golf balls 🙏
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