VCs Don’t Really Ghost You. They are Just Prospects. Treat Them as Such.

One of the most frustrating things for founders is when VCs “ghost” them.  I’m guilty of this myself, as much as I wish I wasn’t.  I forget.  The email box gets overloaded.  It’s not an excuse; it’s not right.  But the thing is, it happens.

Eventually, your startup may be so hot that you can ghost VCs back.  And let me tell you, the top founders do.  Constantly.  Once you are running a Calendly, a Canva, a whatever, you can’t even keep up with all the in-bounds from investors.  You can’t.

Until then, though, you’re in sales — selling stock — and the VCs are prospects.  And prospects in sales ghost you all the time.  When you stop helping them.  Or when you don’t end up having the product they actually need.

Just treat them that way:

  • Follow up.  It’s OK to follow up 2-3 times, just like with a sales prospect.  After that is too much, though.  But if you don’t hear back — follow up.  Just ask if they need more data, more information, more help, more time.
  • Time doesn’t help.  Time is bad for almost all deals in sales.  Same with VCs.  Don’t wait a week.
  • You need enough of a pipeline.  You can’t get upset when you miss the plan in sales if there aren’t enough deals in flight.  Same with VC.  The earlier stage you are, the more VCs you have to keep in the pipe.
  • Everyone is looking for the same thing — but they have different approaches and risks.  So ask.  Ask what more they want to learn.
  • Make it easier on them.  The easier you make it on a prospect, the easier it is to close the deal.  Send the deck.  Send the reference list, if asked.  Send a competitive analysis.  Send an NRR analysis, and a good financial model.  Send it.
  • Do research.  A great sales rep does research on their prospect.  You need to do the same.  Spend enough time on the VC’s website to have a thesis on why they’d want to invest.
  • Outbound works.  A crummy outbound email to a VC won’t work.  But a truly epic one often does.  More on that below.

Not enough founders treat VCs as sales prospects.  If they did, they’d be a bit less upset about ghosting.  And instead, they’d learn better to sell the next time.

Not that it makes ghosting OK, mind you.

Published on April 15, 2022

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