I’m quirky, but I’ve found I like 3 types of intros the best:
- Very Warm Triple Opt-In intros from people I know (founders or VCs)
- Follow ups from people I’ve already met — “I’m ready” emails; and
- Super crisp cold/direct emails. These need to make it perfectly clear why I’d invest and why I can help / am good choice.
And I only invest in founders from the SaaStr community. If you’re not part of it, I’m out. I don’t want to meet with any founders, no matter how amazing, who don’t know of me or SaaStr.
And generally, I only invest in companies with at least 10 Unaffiliated Customers (not 0 — that’s usually too early for me), and I generally have to pass once you’ve really proven it out, at $2m+ ARR or more. That’s my investment stage window.
What I don’t really like are warm or especially lukewarm intros.
From a time management perspective, the worst is an intro from someone I respect … who doesn’t really know if the founder is truly outstanding. This is the worst of all worlds. It’s a social obligation without any hope of working out.
My favorite ones are where (x) the founder really wants to work with me, (y) and so gets someone I’m connected to (z) to recommend them to me (and vice versa) as one of the best founders they know. It doesn’t even matter if I know the connector well at all, just that the connector is high quality.
That one I always want to meet. The triple opt-in. It’s the perfect combination of everything.
The insanely great founders that really want to meet me, that find someone great to connect us AND recommend them as A+ … that deal, I basically almost always want to do.
The one other that’s great, but a bit more random, are founders I’ve somehow gotten to know early, that then e-mail me when they are ready with an update. That’s terrific.
The third category is the super organized, crisp, direct, “10 Things That Are Amazing About My Company” that really are amazing, with an email that also shows you’re plugged into SaaStr and what I believe in. I’ve done a couple of those. The emails have to be great though, and importantly — stand on their own. No teasers. No coffee meetings. No “not raising money yets”. Just tell me why you and your company are amazing. If you are, I’m probably in.